I groan inwardly whenever a member of the Australian Greens make a pronouncement on any issue. In her latest press release, Australian Greens leader Christine Milne expresses her disagreement with the Abbott government's strategy for dealing with Islamic radicalism in Australia. It has announced $630 million for counter-terrorism efforts, $13 million of which will be used to fund deradicalisation programs in Australia.
The Greens propose establishing a Centre for Social Cohesion, which will work with young people to combat social exclusion, so that they're less at risk of joining Islamic radical groups. So far this proposal has been ignored.
They strongly oppose the Abbott government's decision to send Australian troops to Iraq to act as advisers to Iraqi troops who are fighting Islamic State. Supposedly this action is "pressing the fear button...pressing the terror button," but not actually dealing with the problem.
Actually, Islamic radicals are doing a fine job of pressing the terror and fear buttons on their own. They don't need any help from the Abbott government. Groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Research and Educational Institution (IREA) are on public record as being extremist.
Also, this press release offers no solution on how Islamic State should be dealt with. The Greens think that Australian troops are being sent into a quagmire in the Middle East. They also raise the spectre of "mission creep." They think that Australian troops will eventually be dragged into combat, just as they were in the Vietnam War.
The situation in Iraq is hardly comparable to that in Vietnam before the war escalated. The difference here is that the Viet Cong could be negotiated with. Islamic State are not interested in negotiating with any of their enemies. They want them either subjugated or dead. Are the Greens aware of that?
The Greens believe that any military action must be mandated by the United Nations, and "can only be justified if it is necessary either to avert a major violation of human rights or attempted genocide." Try telling that to the victims of Islamic State. For them, that point was passed a long time ago.
We are going to be in a lot of trouble if the Greens are ever in a position to put their naive idealism into practice and have influence over Australia's defence policy.