Some readers may be wondering why this blog has apparently gone off on a tangent. I am focussed on the Iraq war and the AWB scandal because these events typify an egregious disregard for human rights, good governance and government accountability.
This mindset led Australia to deviate from good international citizenship toward a monocultural fortress mentality fueled by fear, rampant individualism and intolerance of the different.
Our government is comfortable with bullying smaller countries that don't conform to our cultural projections and insecure posturing. Violations of refugee conventions, rule of law principles and other international machinery designed to protect human rights have become common currency and many of our citizens angrily declare our right to do so.
It is this latter phenomenon that I find most alarming. Some of the violent language and abuse being hurled around virtual spaces is frightful and reflects a fertile ground for the type of dog whistle politics on race, religion, ethnicity and so called "Australian-ness" that Howard taps into.
The 'us' and 'them' construct has worked well for Howard.
The Iraq war imbroglio and the AWB cover-up are indicators of the government's performance in the area of human rights, governance and accountability - I keep harping on these failings as I think it is important that Australians who believe Howard is acting in our best interests understand why so many of their fellow citizens are genuinely fearful of the direction this country is taking.
If this is the new Australian value system - Huston, we have a problem!