Gummo Trotsky has a truly inspired post on why libertarians dislike yum cha!
Scott Wickstein spares no sympathy for OzTaliban David Hicks. I agree, but I certainly don’t agree that the Americans are justified in depriving him of basic civil rights (like legal representation of choice and a fair trial). Sure as eggs, the new US standard will be cited as a precedent for mistreating American and Australian POWs in years to come. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
If you had a low opinion of Media Watch’s David Marr (as I did), it will probably be lowered still further by this post from Professor Bunyip (as mine was).
Tim Dunlop blogs a story I’d missed completely. It seems US forces in Iraq have begun taking women and children hostage in order to “persuade” their (senior military figure) husbands to surrender. Again, as ye sow …
Finally, Tim also mentions this morning’s Australian editorial decrying the Coalition government’s asylum seeker policies. Here I agree with the Oz only partially.
I certainly agree that prolonged detention of children is inhumane and utterly unacceptable, and that treating asylum seekers as second class residents once they’re granted protection visas (albeit short-term ones) is both inhumane and short-sighted. The reality is that many of these people won’t be able to go home when their 3 year visas expire, because they’ll still have a well-founded fear of persecution. Demonising them merely makes it harder to become productive long-term residents, and potentially creates a needlessly embittered underclass within the Australian community. It’s just plain dumb policy.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue on the evidence that the so-called “Pacific solution” has been anything other than a great success. The policy has almost wholly stemmed the flow of boat people, by giving them exactly the same priority as they would have enjoyed had they waited patiently in refugee camps adjacent to their homelands instead of paying a fortune to people smugglers to “jump the queue”. The fact that some Tampa asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus Islands have now been granted Australian visas in no sense invalidates this policy. Just as some asylum seekers who apply from offshore are eventually granted visas, so it is with boat people applicants.
The Howard government’s electoral use of Tampa and “children overboard” was certainly divisive and appalling (albeit politically very effective), but the “Pacific solution” (i.e. offshore processing) policy itself has proven in practice to be a successful and sensible policy. We really need to differentiate between policy and rhetoric, a point underlined by the fact that Labor’s asylum seeker policy devised by the Left’s Julia Gillard in consultation with Simon the Unlikeable actually pledges to continue the offshore processing elements of the current government’s policies. That is, however much they obfuscate to soothe the left, Labor has embraced the “Pacific solution”. It’s one of the few sensible moves Crean has made as Labor leader.