ABC Television's Q&A on Monday night led with the following question from an audience member:
"The United Nations belated intervention in Libya allowed Gaddafi to continue his brutal attacks on innocent civilians. Now that the no-fly zone is in place lives may be saved but are the Western nations capable of taking on this enormous responsibility in Libya?"
Predictably, the rambammed (2008) Labor Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason ("We all remember where we were on September 11...") Clare, a parliamentary spruiker for Australia's military involvement in Afghanistan, had no reservations whatever:
"... the fact that the UN has moved this resolution means that there are people alive today in Benghazi who would have been slaughtered by Gaddafi if it hadn't passed. This is a person who said that he would ensure there was no mercy for his citizens. His sons said there'd be rivers of blood... Now when you have a situation like that, I think there's a responsibility on the countries of the world to take action to try and stop [it]... "
Nor - surprisingly - did the next panelist, the Deputy Leader of The Australian Greens, Christine Milne:
"Yes, I agree and I think we've all been inspired over the last short while [by] the courage and bravery, particularly of young people, right throughout the Middle East as they pursue their dream of democracy, and it was so heartening to see the UN eventually get its act together and to now see the response of those holding out in Benghazi and to see that the international community has finally come to their assistance for the protection of civilians. So I think this is really important because you cannot leave a million people to the butchery that would have occurred had Gaddafi been allowed to go in there in the way he intended."
She seems to have no comprehension whatever that the UN's role here may simply have been to provide the necessary legal cover for a further expansion of US power in the Middle East. Nor does it occur to her, it seems, to say something about the appalling double standards inherent in the US actively championing freedom-seeking Libyans, while continuing to prop up those regimes which suppress the freedom-seeking peoples of Bahrain, Yemen, and Palestine.
What a sad state of affairs for a party which aspires to become a real third force in Australian politics.