Our freshly-minted prime minister, Mr Ozemail, has appointed General Waleed Aly of Monash University, Channel 10 and the ABC, as his national security adviser. The appointment was announced to the cheers of the House of Representatives today, as the politicians re-lived the spine-shivery thrills of excitement they experienced on the hundred millionth replay of Aly’s national security address to the nation last week.
Aly, it will be remembered, broke the news that Islamic State is weak. He described ISIL as “The mouse that roars.” Listen:
There is a reason ISIL still want to appear to powerful, why they don’t want to acknowledge that the land they control has been taken from weak enemies…ISIL don’t want you to know they would quickly be crushed if they ever face d a proper Army on a battlefield.
They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry. They want all of us to become hostile.
These powerful insights had not gone unnoticed by Mr Ozemail, although busy flitting from city to city with leadership peers on international business. So it may well be that he called for Waleed to churn out the script for his first national security statement to Parliament. And this is what he read out:
The Islamic State is weak. It has many more smartphones than guns, many more Twitter accounts than soldiers.
Smartphones co-ordinated the Paris attacks; the eight terrorists had enough guns to kill 130 people and wreak havoc.
We must not be fooled by its hype. Its ideology is archaic, but its use of the internet is very modern.
Not only the internet — a taxation system to fund operations; oilfields to fuel the motorized units; a marketing strategy to radicalise, recruit and reward with Paradise.
This is not a time for gestures or machismo. Calm, clinical professional, effective – that’s how we defeat this menace.
And despite General Aly’s assessment that ISIL would be quickly crushed by a real army, Mr Ozemail ruled out sending Australian troops to fight on the ground in Syria.
When it came to Islam in Australia, again Mr Ozemail blew it. Denouncing Islamic State’s “perverted strain of Islamic extremist ideology” was the responsibility of authentic, modern and tolerant Islam, he urged.
Finally, he borrowed Waleed Aly’s sage words of exhortation:
Our unity mocks their attempts to divide us. Our freedom under law mocks their cruel tyranny. Our mutual respect mocks their bitter intolerance.
What the Parliament was not invited to contemplate is the incompatibility of the verses in the Koran proclaiming Islam a religion of peace, and those preaching hatred, death to infidels, torture, slavery and beheadings. That is what Islamic leaders must answer to. Until they do, the soothing syrup dripping from the Dispatch Box yesterday can be ignored.
Editor’s note: The picture PM Turnbull wielding his Dirty Malcolm equalizer, first brought to light by The Betoota Advocate, may have been doctored.
Geoffrey Luck was an ABC journalist for 26 years