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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bob Carr - friend of a war criminal

The "shock" resignation of NSW Premier Bob Carr has caused much of the press pack to compete for superlatives. I won't even bother trying to compete with those hacks.

I met Carr a few years ago while researching Not Happy, John! about the Hanan Ashrawi affair. He had bravely resisted pressure from Zionists to withdraw his support from the Sydney Peace Prize. I found him engaging, interesting and knowledgeable. Our interview lasted around one hour in his stunning office overlooking the city. He struck me as more of a talker than listener.

My view of him has changed greatly in the years since. Since learning of his affection for "my good friend" Henry Kissinger, I've become even more aware of his love of being close to power. Kissinger represents the worst of the American establishment, a war criminal still feted by politicians the world over. What did Carr see in him? Hard to say, but I suspect it had something to do with the former Premier feeling close to the heart of his beloved America.

International relations expert Scott Burchill put it best in June 2004:

"I am sure what it is with the Right of the NSW ALP and their infatuation with US history. Perhaps they like to dress up as Minutemen and recreate battle scenes from the revolutionary war on their days off? They certainly don't like talking about the extirpation of the native population or the overthrow of democratic governments in Iran and Guatemala by people they admire in Washington. Whatever the true nature of their infantile disorder, let's not forget that Bob Carr regards unindicted war criminal Henry Kissinger as a mate - and invited him as a VIP to the Sydney Olympics. Carr still wants to be chief brown-noser inside the beltway next time his party gets to sit on the Treasury benches in Canberra. Until then, the pompous and insufferable bore is apparently going to lecture all and sundry about how America truly feels after 9/11 and how to manage the alliance accordingly. What a guy!"

Watch the Australian media completely ignore any of these facts. Too messy, too difficult, too unkind to his "legacy".


Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

The secret to Carr's success was his capacity to sideline personal values in favour of political convenience. He is perhaps the 'Diet Coke' version of Tony Blair. Apart from Kissinger, don't forget Carr considers Gore Vidal a good mate. I'm sure in his mind he still considers himself a great intellectual. This is the same great liberal intellectual who stood so firmly, hand in hand, with Redfern's aboriginals after the riots, and Sydney's Muslim population after September 11.

It's telling that the best commentary on Carr's career came from his predecessor Nick Greiner, a man who left public life to become a tobacco company executive.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:58:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

There is more to a man who admires Kissinger? Perhaps, though it's pretty damning. Vidal is a great old shit-stirrer.
My fave line was in today's Oz. Carr was said to be a free of ideology. Jesus, Murdoch would say that, though it's so untrue.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:17:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Haha I know, it's crazy. Am losing my hair tearing it out as I read the mainstream press. Well, not really. Too hairy for that. But you know what I mean :-)

Vidal is a grand old shit-stirrer. Maybe even the Mark Twain of the past few generations of American writers? I just think Carr's gone nuts if he think he's got some sort of progressive credentials (which I'm sure he does) just because he is on a first name basis with someone like Vidal!

Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:53:00 pm  
Blogger Mike Jericho said...

Maybe they are just a little too caught up in the whole "birthplace of modern democracy" thing to fully appreciate those heart-wrenching occasions when settlers were killing Indians (as opposed to those lighthearted times when Indians were slaughtering settlers).

Thursday, July 28, 2005 11:35:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Shouldn't that be alleged war criminal?

Friday, July 29, 2005 10:20:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Innocent until proven guilty, indeed, but the international rules of the game mean that criminals like Kissinger will never be prosecuted. If you doubt the evidence, get reading.
Many of the world's countrys know Kissinger all too well..

Friday, July 29, 2005 10:59:00 am  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

I suppose so. In the same way that Saddam Hussein 'allegedly' massacred Kurds, et al. Or that Osama was 'allegedly' behind September 11. You're missing the point Andjam.

Friday, July 29, 2005 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I took that as a given a long time ago.
As ever, Western leaders are never culpable but Third World dictators, many of which have been supported by the West, often are.
It's always amazing how people in the West fail to see the hypocrisy of this...

Friday, July 29, 2005 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Innocent until proven guilty, indeed, but the international rules of the game mean that criminals like Kissinger will never be prosecuted.

Nothing's impossible. Even if you think it's impossible for the US to try him, there's always the possibility that another country may kidnap him, take him back to that country and try him there. Probably not a very sensible move on the part of that country, but some regimes aren't particularly sensible.

I suppose so. In the same way that Saddam Hussein 'allegedly' massacred Kurds, et al. Or that Osama was 'allegedly' behind September 11. You're missing the point Andjam.

Or Saddam and Osama could try to argue that they did those things but they do not constitute war crimes.

My attitude towards Saddam and Osama transcends whether or not what they did was legal. For example, Saddam could argue that using chemical weapons in Halabja is not illegal, but I'd still consider it wrong and evidence that he was dangerous.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:23:00 pm  

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