People will have different views on the address of the Prime Minister of Israel to the US Congress. I personally found it at best demeaning to watch legislators of the Great Republic bob up and down like north Korean pop-ups while being lectured – no, harangued – by the elected leader of their number one client or puppet state. It is not the kind of behaviour that would have gone down well with the Caesars. Although it is none of my business, I do not see how making the security of Israel a party political issue in the US might improve the security of Israel. It just takes that issue out of their hands. As I see it, that security depends on Israel maintaining the faith of the West, and this kind of vulgar politicking is precisely calculated to undermine that faith.
Still, that is a matter for others and others have different views. Two things are clear, though. The Israeli invitee is reported to have said: ‘I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.’ There are two lies there, each as black as Hell. The second thing is that this bull-nosed lying self-righteousness shows why from at least one side we will never have peace in the Holy Land. Ever.
I am unclear where we get the right to tell Indonesia how to run its justice system. We object to the death penalty. It is, I think, still on our books for treason, and I think most Australians, including me, would have no trouble in enforcing that law in case of treason against us in a real war. But some countries still have the death penalty in times of peace. Two of our major trading partners are examples – China and the US. This is not an answer to the question arising from the imminent execution of two Australians in Indonesia, but it is a real question. Why are we doing nothing about the ‘revolting’ killings conducted elsewhere? Is it because the US is Christian and white, and Indonesia is Asian and Muslem? Is the Muslem view of capital punishment closer to the Old Testament – where it is endorsed so often – than the New Testament?
The President of Indonesia thinks that he would break faith with his people if he acceded to the foreign pressure being applied to him and declined to execute his nation’s laws – as he is obliged to do. Where do we get off telling him what his duty is or how to keep the faith of his people?
General Petraeus was credited with securing a better result in Iraq by the ‘surge’. When he came back to the States one time, he met people with placards saying ‘Do not betray us, General Petraeus.’ That was said by two journalists I respect to be in bad taste. Perhaps it was. So is losing a husband or son in a bad war – and few wars are good. The general later fell from grace, and today the press reports that he will plead guilty to illegally providing classified secrets to his mistress. He did betray them after all.
Doubtless it will be said that there has been no real harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. The damage flowing from such a failure by the officer in command is beyond measure. The loss of faith inside the army and out is poisonous. I personally would characterise this offence as being at least on the level of that alleged against Edward Snowden. I could imagine many soldiers thinking he should be behind bars for a very long time. It will be an interesting test of equality in the US justice system.
Finally, press reports say that the supporters of the Prime Minister have been blacking Mr Turnbull in the branches – over issues like gay marriage. The reports say that the Christian Right has been very active. The word ‘Right’ caught my eye. To my mind, the last sighting of the Christian Left occurred about two thousand years ago when a Jewish tearaway gave the bum’s rush to the money dealers in the Temple and in so doing signed his own death warrant. Since then the faithful have been unrepentantly Right.