The front page pictures in The Age and The SMH today of
AWB chairman Trevor Flugge and senior executive Michael Long proudly
displaying their guns whilst in Iraq are a little unfair in one sense,
but nevertheless betray the type of gung-ho culture that pervaded the
AWB and DFAT in Iraq.
I’ve met a few of these blokes in Afghanistan, East Timor, Cambodia and
the like and they are insufferable Boy’s Own Bullies, loving it that
there they were, in the middle of the world’s biggest story, with their
chunky state-funded vehicles and armed guards and tough talk. But not
really equipped, intellectually, to be there.
Nevertheless, they’re thrilled to be there, because the unique wacky
circumstances of the American adventure allows them to be off the
radar, doing stuff they’d never do at home, bending the rules, or not
following them as they would elsewhere.
Along comes Paul Volcker and his inquiry, which the neo-cons initially
love because it means that the horrible UN will get a (much-deserved)
spray and, oh no, he’s implicated us instead…..its part of the reason
why so much aid money gets squandered in places like Iraq and Kabul.
The jokers in the Australian media who are dismissing the smoking gun
that’s been around for years now it because it’s “foreign” deserve a big
It is precisely this type of commentary/reporting/comprehension that
has allowed Howard to be the most shrill of the global neo-cons, while copping
none of the political flak experienced by Blair in particular.