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Thursday, October 17, 2002
More about Bali

Journalists have suggested many reasons for the targeting of Bali, including Australia's role in the freeing of East Timor, its support for action against Iraq, and the presence of Australian troops in Afghanistan. I can add another 'reason'

When I was last in Australia, a year or so ago, I saw a TV news item concerning an event in Israel/Palestine. (If I remember rightly, it was about the shooting of several Palestinian children.) A spokesman made a number of statements about 'terrorists' (i.e. young children). I was quite intrigued because here was an Israeli I had never seen before. What's more, he had an Australian accent.

I was amazed to find that the spokesman was Alexander Downer, Australia's Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Subsequently, I discussed the matter with a former Aussie politician who told me that Downer was not known for his intellectual acumen. Could it be that Mr Downer is part of the problem, not the solution? And now he is warning Australians to leave Indonesia. Good timing.

This week, I watched on TV as Alexander Downer wandered through the Kuta wreckage. One of his quotes, with respect to Bali, was ‘We have to kill these killers; this is war’, a statement to be ranked alongside Bush’s ‘Dead or alive’ and ‘This is a crusade’. [I wrote Downer’s statement down while watching him on TV but I have been unable to find a press link to it.] Whatever else Bush’s poodle Blair may do or say, his statements are markedly more measured.

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