Friday, February 23, 2007

Dick Cheney Down Under - Part 4

Signs Of The Times, And Stupidity

The anti-Cheney protesters in Sydney have displayed an appalling lack of creativity in their sign-making. There were a few good ones, but not many worth mentioning. I did see two, however, that were kind of startling, for different reasons.

The first was the banner below from a small group protesting John Howard's drastic cuts to university funding across Australia over the past few years. Why were they at a protest rally centred around the Iraq War, Dick Cheney and David Hicks? Presumably they thought there would be a good turnout of teenagers, youth and students in general and presumed it might be a good place to do a little recruiting for their cause. But there were more journalists and photographers than their target audience.

Anyway, who'd want to talk to activists who think a banner like this is a good idea?

The image has been enhanced, but if you can't read it, it says "One More Cut - Howard's Throat!'

Clearly, nutbags who have no idea how to find a middle ground audience for their cause.

The second was this interesting sign about Australian Gitmo detainee David Hicks and Dick Cheney :

Again, the image has been enhanced. It reads : "Hicks And Cheney - A Fine Pair Of Dangerous Warmongers."

Certainly this was the most interesting sign at a protest focused around Dick Cheney and the Iraq War, and the five year long detention without charge or trial of David Hicks.

Clearly the sign-maker believe that Hicks and Cheney are both dangerous warmongers, but is this a counter-protest sign, or just dipping the toe in both ponds?

The Cheney & Hicks sign certainly got some very interesting, and troubled, looks from other protesters.

It exposes one of the great ironies of an anti-war protest taking the side of David Hicks. He was a man who wanted to go to war, and did so at least twice, in the Kosovo conflict and in Kashmir. He relished firearms and weaponry and wrote letters to his parents where he described the joy he got from discharging a rifle at his perceived enemy.

How can you be anti-war but support the freedom of a man who is expected to be eventually tried for war-related crimes, according to US prosecutors?

David Hicks has been tortured by the US, held in solitary confinement, deprived of his human rights and used as a political football by the Australian government, and no doubt has proved valuable as a deterrent to other young Australians who may have contemplated joining the jihad in Iraq.

But David Hicks, like Dick Cheney, was no pacifist.

The 'War on Terror' has produced endless ironies, including the fact that a war aimed at stopping terror has led instead to a massive increase in the use of terrorism as a tactic, and the horrors of more than 200,000 dead Iraqis has helped to radicalise millions of Muslims in the process, which is expected to lead to an even greater increase in acts of explosive terrorism for years, if not decades, to come.

The irony of a crowd of anti-war protesters chanting for the release, without trial, of a pro-war Australian is but the latest example of the hypocrisy and duality the 'War on Terror' has generated. On all sides.