Inanity of the week

Gerard Henderson, the Sydney Morning Herald’s resident defender of politician’s good judgement, yesterday articulated the real reasons behind increased anti-terrorism measures:

“Agree with them or not, John Howard, premiers Morris Iemma, Steve Bracks, Peter Beattie, Geoff Gallop, Mike Rann and Paul Lennon and chief ministers Jon Stanhope and Clare Martin seem considered politicians who are most unlikely to believe that terrorists hide under falafels on suburban street corners. They decided to support a toughening of Australia’s counter-terrorism legislation on the basis of advice tendered by the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Office of National Assessments.”

Perhaps Henderson needs reminding of a few political facts. First up, politicians make decisions because they think it will be politically popular, not necessarily because they’re just. Simple really, but not for our noble Gerard. Secondly, because our intelligence agencies may have told our political leaders something, doesn’t make it true or accurate. Have we forgotten Iraq and WMD? Have we forgotten the recent words of former intelligence officer Lance Collins?

Henderson’s innate belief in politicians’s good faith is reminiscent of the commentariat during Soviet days. They weren’t allowed to criticise the leaders, so they just praised the bravery and nobility of whoever needed their personality greased.

Henderson lives in a quasi-democracy and is presumably under no pressure to write anything – though the funding sources of his think-tank, the Sydney Institute, remain a mystery – and yet he still appears incapable or unwilling to presume governments lie and obfuscate.

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