The following is a transcript of Topher’s editorial from Episode 47 of The Aussie Wire News discussing the Middle East crisis, which aired on the 10th of October 2023.
The Middle East is at War once again.
We’ve all seen the images and I’m not going to replay them here. You can watch that online if you want to.
Suffice to say that the attack by Iranian backed Hamas from the West Bank is nothing short of barbaric, with a death toll quickly climbing towards the thousands. But more shocking even than the deaths are the kinds of people being targeted. Civilians. Music Festival attendees. There’s been over 100 people kidnapped and dragged away to face a fate that will for some of them, no doubt, be worse than death.
It’s a shocking reminder that for all of the advancements of the modern world, human nature remains as depraved as it ever was, and that the atrocities of the past could just as easily become the atrocities of our time unless we’re willing to stop them.
But, and this is where I’m no doubt going to upset a lot of people, a great deal of caution, calm and level-headedness is required in moments like these.
On the one side we’ve seen islamist regimes like Iran celebrate the attacks and the killings. And we’ve seen politicians throughout the Western world, including here in Australia, come out in support of Hamas.
This isn’t really shocking though. We already knew that was going to happen.
The justification used in the west is always arguments around who did what to whom historically But nothing, and I mean nothing, can justify walking into a music festival and gunning people down at point blank range. Nothing and I mean nothing. No amount of historical Injustice can justify kidnapping civilians. So nothing that I’m about to say should be construed as justifying this attack. It is barbaric. It is unjustified. I condemn it absolutely and I support Israel in counterattacking to secure its borders and to destroy the attackers.
But, there’s a reason I talked about caution, calm, level-headedness. Because whilst no historical atrocity can justify this attack, there are people who are already trying to use this attack to justify future atrocities.
Now before you get mad at me, let me explain.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN has called this Israel’s 9/11 moment, referring of course to the terrorist attack that killed thousands of people by flying commercial planes into the Twin Towers of the New York World Trade Centre and that, well that comparison rings a lot of alarm bells for me.
In a sense he’s not wrong. The 9/11 attack was, for all of its planning, barbaric. It was the intentional target of an enormous number of civilians for the purpose of spilling their blood.
And, as with the attack on Israel, 9/11 was celebrated by islamists worldwide and justified even by many within the Western world based on who did what to whom historically.
So the Israeli ambassador to the UN isn’t wrong when he makes that comparison.
And that’s the problem.
Because just as 9/11 was justified in the minds of the attackers based on historical wrongs, so it was then used to justify all manner of future atrocities as the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and committed systemic war crimes, with interrogations and black sites on the far side of the world. Ostensibly fighting for their freedom. And all for what?
22 years on, after billions of dollars and a human death toll that will never be accurately known, Afghanistan is fully controlled by the very terrorists we went there to destroy. Iraq limps on as a failing state, and the world is no safer than it was. That’s hardly value for money, much less value for the lives that were spent.
The atrocities of the past cannot be changed.
The atrocities of the present like this attack against Israel, must absolutely be condemned and responded to by those being attacked militarily.
Of course I’m not a pacifist, and there are people who can only be made peaceful when they are scared of you. I get that. And Israel should do what must be done to ensure that Hamas is scared of them from now until the Messiah returns, but we should be very very wary of repeating our past mistakes in response to 9/11. Be very wary of anyone using this attack to justify things like invading Iran.
Yes, Iran is a horrible terrorist regime, and the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. I get that. No argument from me.
But we went into Afghanistan because they were harbouring terrorists, remember? And we were told that without Afghanistan the terrorists would have nowhere to run. But now those terrorists run Afghanistan.
We went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a threat to us all. But he was, was actually installed there by the US to counter Iran because Iran was a threat to us all. And why did Iran become a threat to us all in the first place? Because the CIA toppled their government and installed us puppets and then it all went bad.
Now none of that history justifies what’s happening now in Israel. They’re two entirely separate things. But that history must inform how we now respond to this attack on Israel.
The warhawks will call for regime change in Iran. The military industrial complex will see the dollar signs, and patriotic Americans, good people, will line up at recruiting facilities to once again spread democracy one drone strike at a time, and in the end it’ll just be another Vietnam. Another Afghanistan. Another Iraq. Another Iran.
I don’t like these people. These terrorists. These state sponsors of terrorism, and nothing I’ve said should be construed as supporting or defending them or their actions. But just as past atrocities and who hit whom first is no justification for the at atrocities we’re witnessing today in Israel, let’s be careful not to use these barbaric, shocking atrocities – and they are – as justification for us to commit the atrocities of the future.