February 8th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Old-growth forests and wildfires

COMMENT: Iraq's last chance to avert war

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard turns eyes to NSW poll

HIGH COURT: A further improvement in the High Court

STRAWS IN THE WIND: False Dawn / Iraq another Vietnam? / UN: ideal and reality

AGRICULTURE: Deregulation and low prices see sugar investment collapse

The fatal flaw in economic rationalism (letter)

Why men avoid fatherhood (letter)

Cattle grazing to cut bushfire risk (letter)

Firefighters deserve our thanks (letter)

Canberra's tragedy (letter)

Case against Saddam not established (letter)

Full story (letter)

Cane farmers' survey (letter)

PROFILE: Solzhenitsyn: the conscience of modern society

ASIA: China launches massive infrastructure expansion

VICTORIA: Taxpayers bankroll alternative lifestyles

ASIA: Taiwan's rural finance in trouble

BOOKS: ANSETT: the Collapse, by Geoff Easdown and Peter Wilms

BOOKS: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics

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Full story (letter)

by Dr Garrick Small

News Weekly, February 8, 2003

Max Teichmann cited a number of important historical truths in his demolition of Osama bin Laden's letter to America (NW, January 11, 2003), but he also made so many omissions that the result was dangerously unbalanced.

True, the British did clear up the Arab slave trade, but they also extracted considerable profits from the Middle East.

True, few people would hold Queen Elizabeth responsible for the global drug trade, but the British did make a lot of money in Asia from opium a few years back and there have been some rather unlikely alliances in the last century's narcotics industry.

True, the deep Left is of concern as an unbalanced fifth column supporter of bin Laden, but that does not mean that the Right is, well, right. Mr La Rouche was drawn in as an example of silly ideas in prominent places that could support bin Laden's critique, but he is usually considered to represent the opposite ideological pole.

Apparently any critic of contemporary Western culture may be a bin Laden supporter. I am very uncomfortable with the implication that agreeing with bin Laden's criticism of drugs, sexual permissiveness and usury makes one a dangerously irrational leftie.

Perhaps Pope Leo XIII may be in Teichmann's sights as a silly dissident from the noble West, since he agreed with bin Laden in observing a century ago that the West was awash with rapacious usury.

Thirty years ago, my introduction to Arabs in world events was as that backward people who sold oil to Western companies for ridiculously low prices. That does not ring with justice and is only a tiny part of a larger picture that has given many peoples cause to be disenchanted with British and American commercial treatment, without turning sharp left.

Chanting "we're right, you're wrong" in the face of a major international dispute is more than irresponsible.

One potent way to disarm bin Laden's support is to begin the process of cleaning up Western culture. The culture of death is a major Western export that deserves to be stopped.

We have also forgotten the importance of families and we have immersed ourselves in an Enlightenment view of commerce that prevents any ethical debate on the impacts of the way we use the marketplace.

This is not to support terrorism, or the looney Left or Right, but if attempted it may drain all the extremists of their support which seems a superior goal to beating up support for hatred and war.

Dr Garrick Small
Sydney, NSW

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