I think Peter Costello is on the right track in his discussion of “the culture of engagement”, but in the end he’s trying to force it instead of creating an environment where social capital or engagement occurs naturally.

WMD spin shows what leaders will do to take people to war
“Just before the war, when the WMD issue lost traction, a humanitarian argument was suddenly invoked by those who until then had never shown concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people. WMD have still not been found in Iraq, so the discovery of mass graves is now said to retrospectively legitimate the war. It’s a tempting digression, as long as no one asks whether they had been dug when Saddam was an ally of the West in the 1980s. Or how many of those buried there were incited to rebel against Saddam by George Bush’s father in 1991, only to be cruelly betrayed by Washington.” (The Age)

“Australia’s Government has put the interests of the US alliance before protection of its own citizens, writes Malcolm Fraser.”

“It is clear the Australian Government has determined that Australia’s interests will be best served by avoiding any argument with the US and supporting American policy. This change in Australian foreign policy is even more fundamental than the Government’s announcements some weeks ago would indicate. It goes to the heart of what we are about as an independent nation. It raises more starkly than ever the question of identity and purpose.
Are we indeed able to stand for Australians who may need the protection of their nationality? The present answer is clear: not if such actions cut across relations with the United States.”

“There is only one country on whom Australians can rely absolutely. That is Australia itself. That capacity should never be prejudiced or diminished by other relationships.”

“Even if the war on Afghanistan did not, the war on Iraq has arguably made the pursuit of the “war on terror” more difficult. The US has dissipated the friendship generated in September 2001. We have made ourselves the closest of allies in this “war”, and have supported strategies that make its success more difficult. America’s enemies will unnecessarily become Australia’s enemies.”

“The US is not prepared to comply with international law carefully drafted and supported by legal authorities from many countries. It is prepared to assert, and I believe to enforce, its law well beyond normal US jurisdiction, if America perceives this to be in its interests.
Do we really serve Australia’s interests by such uncritical support and by such an apparent loss of our own sense of purpose and independence?”
(The Age)

Bless Hackney. Last night there was a fire somewhere near the railway arches, and today the streets around are blocked off because nearby gas canisters might go off. I had to sign a disclaimer to get back in after walking Amber to the bus stop.
I was quite excited because the policeman was straight out of The Bill. He helpfully pointed out that the disclaimer wasn’t worth much because he had all the forms on him and he’d be the first to go if there was an explosion.