In yoga this morning, the teacher said, in a most un-yogaish way,while we were doing camel or something, "And how about John Howard saying that Osama Bin Laden will be pleased if Barack Obama wins the presidency? Isn't that shocking?"
That was the first I'd heard of it and I was shocked and appalled. I came home and looked it up on the Web (of course) and saw that over on LP, the witticisms are flying. But I'm finding it hard to laugh at this. It angers me on so many levels:
- that Howard feels entitled to involve himself in US domestic politics (and thus gives tacit permission for American rightwingers to involve themselves here)
- that he is perilously close to a racist conflation of the names 'Osama' and 'Obama' - or at least he is playing on that association in his usual manipulative way
- that he conflates Iraq with Osama bin Laden
- that he implies that all Muslims support (pray for) terrorism to succeed
- that he explicitly links a Palestinian settlement to the war in Iraq
Good for Barack Obama, who's called Howard's bluff and told him to put up or shut up.
I can't imagine many Australians, even those who voted for him, feeling pleased that Howard's put his foot in it like this.