With photos of ISIS beheading permeating the media, and many worrying signs in Australia itself – including the presence of terrorist-supporting Muslims – it takes a special kind of stupid to stand up and say what Peter Whish-Wilson has said:
Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has been condemned for suggesting Islamic State fighters should not be described as “terrorists” because Australian forces could also be viewed by some as terrorists.
The Tasmanian senator, in a speech to parliament, claimed that describing the militants as terrorists “demonises people” and “implies a very one-sided view of the world”.
“I think we need to find better words than ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ because, to me, this implies a very one-sided view of the world,” Senator Whish-Wilson told the upper house on Monday night.
“Often our forces could be seen by Iraqi civilians as being terrorists.
“Anything that creates terror is, by definition, terrorism. We use that word because it is a very simple word to use and it demonises people.”
Senator Whish-Wilson today defended his remarks, claiming “some have chosen to make mischief with this view”.
“By using heightened language to describe the situation, we obscure insight and our ability to understand what creates the instability that fosters extremism. And without clear understanding, we cannot, as a country, act in the most sensible and prudent way to ever win the peace,” he told the Senate.
“Dehumanising and demonising our enemies is an effective tool for leading a nation to war, but this type of propaganda won’t bring peace. This is a lesson of history.”
“In the last week, we have been hearing a lot about ‘evil’—’unspeakable evil’, ‘unfathomable evil’ and ‘pure evil’. What I and, I think, a lot of Australians would like to see is some truth, honesty and perspective around that word.
“While it might be the case that in many people’s minds the atrocious and despicable acts we have seen on social media are evil, that evil did not just spring out of the ground. It did not just happen overnight.”
I am not sure which history books Whish-Wilson has been reading, but if I were him, I’d demand a refund from Amazon. History teaches us that appeasement to terror and evil never works out well for the good guys.
I mean, imagine if during WWII, the Allies decided the Nazis were not evil , and tried to understand why they were murdering millions of Jews and other “undesirables.” Conversely, fighting and defeating the Nazis was really good for world peace.
People like Peter Whish-Wilson seem to have lost their heads around the issues of terrorism and good vs evil.
And I use that turn of phrase deliberately.
Nearly 13 years after the murder of nearly 3000 people on September 11, and following another filmed beheading of an American journalist in Iraq by Islamic State lunatics, some people still fail to understand the nature and gravity of terrorism’s threat against civilisation.
Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson would be among that group.
On Monday the former academic and winemaker delivered a speech so craven that it stands as an insult to victims of terrorism worldwide. It is scarcely believable that such a speech could be presented by an adult, much less a Member of Parliament.
“I think we need to find better words than ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ because, to me, this implies a very one-sided view of the world,” Whish-Wilson said.
He’s right about that, but completely wrong to suggest that this one-sidedness is a bad thing. Terrorism is evil. There are no multifaceted dimensions to terrorism, particularly not the form of terrorism currently on bloody display throughout Syria and Iraq.
Describing terrorists as terrorists is necessarily one-sided. There can be no other way, unless you believe that terrorism is a concept of infinite shades, marked by subtle distinctions and delicate variations. Which it isn’t.
“Often our forces could be seen by Iraqi civilians as being terrorists,” he continued.
Really, Senator? It is far more likely that Iraqi civilians would apply that term to Islamic State, considering how many civilians have been murdered by these bloodthirsty extremists.
“Anything that creates terror is, by definition, terrorism,” Whish-Wilson went on, revealing a masterful grasp of the screamingly obvious. And then came his kicker: “We use that word because it is a very simple word to use and it demonises people.”
Which is why the word is perfectly appropriate. Islamic State, as the butchering of American reporter Steven Sotloff again demonstrates, are the closest things to demons to walking this Earth. They are the distilled essence of pure evil.