Terrorism Denial on the Left
by Andrew Glover, Quillette:
At the end of last year I attended a large conference of social science academics and researchers in Melbourne. Speaking on a plenary panel in front of hundreds of attendees was the director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australia’s primary refugee advocacy organisation. He opened the plenary by describing the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers, decrying the cruelty of Australia’s policy of offshore detention toward refugees, and the need for a more humane approach. He pointed out that funding for refugee services had been cut by a seemingly callous government that was indifferent to the plight of refugees. These are all legitimate — if familiar — points in the debate about this topic. However he then went on to say that all of this was happening whilst we spent billions of dollars on a “fictitious war against terror”.
Hold on, ‘fictitious’? A fiction? Made up?
I looked around the audience, and no one seemed perturbed by what he’d just said. No one challenged him in the Q&A session afterward. Was I the only one bothered by this?
Two weeks later, counter-terrorism forces arrested a group of young Muslim men who were planning to bomb St Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Melbourne on Christmas Day, along with other targets. Up to 1400 people were going to be attending the service on that day, so the likely death toll from such an attack would have been catastrophic. The alleged plotters had been closely monitored for months by security and counter-terrorism organisations. Many had social media activity profiles that were indicative of strong sympathies with ISIS. This followed a number of terrorist plots thwarted by Australian counter-terrorism measures since the mid 2000s targeting football matches, the Australian Grand Prix, an army barracks, and former Prime Minister John Howard.
These are the circumstances we live in. They are not ‘fictitious’.