How the Australian Liberal Party gets it wrong on David Hicks

This last weekend I had some to-ing and fro-ing on FaceBook over a cartoon promoted by either an official Liberal Party FB page or one that poses as if it is part of the party. It’s certainly not derogatory towards the party but it could be run by fans without approval. Who can tell?

But in any case Liberal Voters appear to approve of it and that’s pretty disappointing for those of us looking towards a smarter approach to the War on Terror.

Here’s the issue.

We have to deal with religious fanaticism coming out of the Middle East and currently we are “doing it dumb” by aiding the recruitment drive underway by ISIL. I’m not going to use their preferred label of ISIS because, as pointed out by an American recently, they don’t qualify as a State and most likely never will.

The childlike simplicity of the current approach still looks very Bush-esque in design and who could imagine a better promotional poster than Dubya with some of his religious quotes, if you wanted to build up hatred of America?

The actual battleground we should be addressing is the home grown element but somehow anger has gotten in the way and we are pushing more for revenge and an “us and them” situation instead of education and undermining religious leaders inching kids towards bomb carrying.

This is where Australia has a home grown advantage with the David Hicks book. Now before anyone chokes on their cuppa, engage the grey matter and consider this.

Fundamentalist literature (if you can call it that) is full of “God is Great” references and very simplistic in its message. It has to be because the target is kids who have undeserved respect for the trouble makers and haven’t yet acquired critical thinking skills. In short, they drink the Koolaide.

Meanwhile we have the real life experience of David Hicks to give some of these kids a wake up call as to what they are letting themselves in for should they be contemplating heading over there. Any kids thinking they will be welcomed with open arms will discover they are far more likely to be viewed with suspicion and considered unreliable. There is also the message that finding your way home unaccompanied once the reality kicks in, is a dangerous and lonely option that could well end in a dusty unmarked grave. And that’s without even getting to the danger of becoming cannon fodder for a powerful military machine.

Now why are we locked into taking the wrong approach to dealing with terrorism?

Unfortunately the Howard Government has some dirty washing to hide over the detention of David Hicks in Gitmo so demonising him is an easy (although temporary) option, and when you add to the mix those who proudly boast that they won’t read the book, you end up with a lot of chest thumping and heat and sod all understanding of the issues.

It really is time for getting smarter in how we deal with home grown potential terrorists. We have the chance to at least tackle part of the problem with the Hicks book and start looking around for other solutions that don’t add petrol to the fire. It will require many solutions to deal with different shades of the issues but at least we can start heading in a better direction and stop pushing hard for a silver bullet response that clearly doesn’t work.

I guess it really doesn’t matter if rusted on Liberals don’t use this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the issues because ultimately history will roll right over them as more progressive youngsters filter through the Party, but I hope we get to the point where vulnerable Islamic kids get the chance to see what really exists behind the encouragement of devious old religious leaders, and heed the warning.

How can we get the story read by the target audience?

I’m thinking it should get as wide a read as possible in the Imams’ target audience and probably it should be serialised so folk can consume manageable pieces.

Where do these kids get their news from?

I don’t know, but lets start working it out and get the story in front of their eye balls. If that’s on line? Fine. And make sure you monitor the discussions, so any wannabe recruiters get drawn out early.

So lets get some real action going. It will be a tragedy if the War on Terror is extended because political games cause us to keep sending kids into the meat grinder and ultimately help recruit more terrorists, instead of doing something that can actually reduce the client base for the Imams. Sometimes we have to set ego aside and get on with solving the problems and this is where real Leadership is required.

Is there anyone in the Liberal party who can swallow their ego and make the call?

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