The Australian's obsession with a certain terror state has bubbled up yet again (see my post of 4/3/09) in its March 5 editorial, A medieval quest to reverse modernity. Ostensibly about the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, the following paragraph gave the game away, literally: "By its nature, this attack demolishes the misguided rationale of the appeasers, generally but not exclusively from the liberal Left, who for the past 20 years have tried to seek out what they claim to be the root causes of terrorism in a futile attempt to achieve a political settlement with terrorists. They seize on economic inequality, real and imagined colonial injustices, or, most often the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They ignore the fact that in more than a decade of terrorist atrocities leading up to September 11, 2001, including the first World Trade Centre bombing and the attack on the USS Cole, the issue of Israel and the Palestinians featured little in the propaganda of al-Qa'ida and its forerunners."
Al-Qa'ida's Osama bin Laden, of course, begs to differ. The Big O deals with the attack on the USS Cole (12 October 2000) and September 11 2001 in his 2003 sermon Among a Band of Knights. Some excerpts:-
"As I speak, the blood of Muslims continues to be shed in vain in Palestine, Chechnya, Philippines, Kashmir, and Sudan, and our children are dying because of the American sanctions in Iraq."/ "One of the most important objectives of this new Crusader campaign, after dividing up the region, is to prepare it for the establishment of what is called the state of Greater Israel, which would incorporate large parts of Iraq and Egypt within its borders, as well as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, the whole of Palestine, and a large part of Saudi Arabia. Do you know what harm and suffering greater Israel will bring down upon the region? What is happening to our people in Palestine is just a small example of what they want to repeat in the rest of the region courtesy of the Zionist-American alliance: murder of men, women, and children, incarceration, terrorism, destruction of houses, bulldozing of fields and razing of factories."/ "Then after that, in 1998, the mujahidin were able, by the grace of God, to deal [the Americans] two mighty blows in East Africa. After that America was warned once again and failed to respond so God helped the mujahidin to successfully implement a great martyrdom operation, demolishing the American destroyer USS Cole in Aden... Then when they saw the gang of criminals in the White House misrepresenting the truth, whose idiotic leader claims that we despise their way of life - although the truth that the Pharaoh of the age is hiding is that we strike them because of their injustice towards us in the Islamic world, especially in Palestine and Iraq, and their occupation of Saudi Arabia - the mujahidin decided to overcome this obfuscation and to bring the battle right into their heartland. And on that blessed Tuesday... September 11 2001, the Zionist-American alliance was mowing down our sons and our people in the blessed land of al-Aqsa, at the hands of the Jews but with American planes and tanks, and our sons in Iraq were dying as a result of the oppressive sanctions of America and its agents... Amidst all this... injustice, arrogance, and aggression on the part of the Zionist-American alliance, while 'Uncle Sam' was committing these reckless transgressions and terrible oppression in contempt of everyone, going through the world without paying attention to anyone else and thinking that nothing could attack it, disaster struck it... There came a group of young believers... They sought to be with God, and deprived themselves of sleep while injustice was being done... So they attacked the enemy with their own planes in a brave and beautiful operation, the likes of which humanity has never seen before, destroying the idols of America. They struck at the very heart of the Ministry of Defence, and they hit the American economy right at its heart, too. They rubbed America's nose in the dirt, and wiped its arrogance in the mud. As the twin towers of New York collapsed, something even greater and more enormous collapsed with them: the myth of the great America and the myth of democracy. It became clear to all that America's values are the lowest, and the myth of 'the land of the free' was destroyed, as was the myth of American national security and the CIA... One of the most important positive effects of our attacks on New York and Washington was to expose the reality of the struggle between the Crusaders and the Muslims, and to demonstrate the enormous hostility that the Crusaders feel towards us. The attacks reveal the American world in its true ugliness. The entire world woke up from its slumber... And for the first time, most of the American population is aware of the reality of the Palestinian issue, and that what happened to them in Manhattan was a result of the unjust policies of their government." (Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, edited by Bruce Lawrence, 2005, pp 187-195)
But even when The Australian's singular obsession gives way to good old-fashioned Muslim-bashing, it still can't get things right. Take this, for example, from the same editorial: "Former England batsman Ed Smith was closer to the mark when he wrote in The Times yesterday that Islamic extremists... had singled out cricket for the murderous attack because it is an icon of Westernization." Islamic extremists, eh? Now they don't come more extreme than the Taliban, do they? After all, as the editorial says, "the Taliban's notorious Ministry of Vice & Virtue used football stadiums for public executions... [and] banned kite-flying, barbers, books, radio and chess."
Ah, but did they also ban cricket, that "icon of Westernization"? Well, not according to The Australian's South Asia correspondent Amanda Hodge: "During its years in power, the Taliban... applied - unsuccessfully - for membership of the International Cricket Council. The sport was played in Afghanistan during that time, although with a distinct Talibani flavour." (Islamists wage war against cricket, 'the other religion', 6/3/09)
God, Amanda, now you've done it!