Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Essay on Pro-War Greens (and Rudd on Iraq)

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-10-17

Hat tip to Ann of PeoplesGeography/ReclaimingSpace who emailed me about the current issue of Australian Quarterly which contains an essay by Dr Jim Page: "The Problem of the Pro-War Greens" (Full eprint from QUT), which echoes my concerns about the practicality of voting for the Greens even though their policies are supported.


The Green Parties or Greens have emerged as an important political force in recent years. A crucial policy element of the Greens is a commitment to peace and nonviolence. Yet a close analysis of the actions of the leadership of the Greens indicates that this commitment is not as clear as would appear. It is concluded that the leadership of the Green Parties are either manipulative of peace concerns or ignorant of what is involved in genuine commitment to peace and nonviolence. Those committed to peace and nonviolence ought to think carefully before supporting the Greens.

The essay has lots of references (it’s an academic paper, after all), but I thought I’d highlight one of the more interesting comments:

Finally, the contradictions in Green policy on peace issues also become evident in the policy on the future of Iraq. The Australian Greens profess a commitment to international standards and law and yet also support the immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. It is well established in international law that occupying powers have a responsibility for the maintenance of order and protection of civilian life within occupied countries.

It’s worth recalling that Rudd was talking about the duties of occupying powers before the war (prescience – good), but not talking about our responsibility to get the mess cleaned up before we leave Iraq (political expediency – bad).  To my mind, the only way we can responsibly get out of Iraq is by ensuring that the US tactics are practical, and the Kevster needs to lay out, as alternative PM, not only a timetable for withdrawal, but what he sees as the milestones and the means to achieve them.

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4 Responses to “Essay on Pro-War Greens (and Rudd on Iraq)”

  1. Dave Bath said

    If I was to offer a “big picture” about distrust for the Greens, it relates to competence rather than policy. See my thoughts about the Green’s performance in Committee for details.

  2. Nigel said

    Brown is as peculiar as Garret but I cant put my finger on what it is…then yesterday Brown is again praising Garret despite Garret being in support of the Gunns Pulp Mill, going so far as to say he would be a good Minister!? Have not read the essay yet but I’m rather hoping someone will explain to me why I am so distrustful of the Greens, apart from personal knowledge that they are a bunch of middle class guilt ridden rotters, who wouldnt ultimately rock the boat that pays for their toorak tractor fuel bills…more the big picture i’m after……cheers Mr Bath*

  3. vrtulobjeq said

    Politics is a craft, Journalism is a Profession. In order to be a successful, politicians build their rhetoric based on popular opinions about contemporary social, economic and ecological issues. In order to be successful, journalists attempt to discern worthy discussions and in so doing build and promote erstwhile dialogues. A politician searches for a way of articulating a popular belief based purely on emotional fervour, whereas a journalist builds questions based on objective criteria. Politicians seem to produce contradictory positions which an objective journalist attempts to target and highlight.

  4. Dave Bath said

    Actually, I’d agree with Aristotle that politics should be the highest art. The best politicians are those who attack popular belief because they see a better alternative, and sway the electors with their arguments. The Athenians persuaded by Pericles to build the Parthenon or by Themistokles to spend money on ships rather than hoplites and abandon Athens to the Persians comes to mind.

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