Thursday, July 5, 2007

Here's a guy who

appears to be tired of treating the electorate -- that is, the sovereign people at whose pleasure he serves -- as if they are small retarded children.

He is Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson. According to this story: "Dr Nelson said 'energy security' and stability in the Middle East were crucial to Australia's future. 'The entire (Middle East) region is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world,' Dr Nelson said on ABC Radio. 'Australians and all of us need to think well what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq?' "

This story quotes him as further stating: "We need to ensure, notwithstanding the significant natural resources that our country has been blessed with, that we are able to access the energy requirements in our region and throughout the world."

Today the Australian prime minister repudiated these comments, stating: "We are not there because of oil and we didn't go there because of oil. We don't remain there because of oil. Oil is not the reason." Ummm, ok then.

But really, we all know it, it is totally obvious to anyone who honestly approaches the question. Why bother to deny it? And by the way, I don't think there is much question that "energy security" is a legitimate and important goal of any nation's foreign policy. Should we (or the Australians) be invading sovereign nations in order to achieve this goal? The easy answer is: of course not, though I think principled arguments could be made the other way, and certainly it would be a closer question if, in fact, doing so were the only available means to achieve the goal.

Without here going into detail on the various lines of argument for and against, let me just say that this is an interesting philosophic, ethical, and moral issue. And certainly one that should have been the subject of thorough public debate BEFORE the decision was made by a handful of maniacs.

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