Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I have little to add about the atrocity in Bali. But many of my dearest friends are Australians; and Australia has been (as I've noted many times) among America's truestand most reliable of friends, and this was especially in evidence last September.

As a fraction of its population, Australia looks likely to have lost as many people in Bali as the U.S. lost in the World Trade Center. I'm sickened and saddened, and as angry as ever; we must continue to try to hunt down and defeat our mutual vicious enemy. I offer my sympathy and condolences to all those who have lost someone close to them; and our shared determination to punish the killers. We are all Australians now.

The dead apparently include many Australian Defense Force soldiers who were serving in East Timor. (Note that this doesn't make them legitimate military targets in a war; they were on leave in a civilian resort.) I spent my postgraduate year in Australia at the Australian Defense Force Academy, where the undergraduates are officer cadets in training. They were very fine young men and women, and I was very glad to get to know some of them. They went a long way to helping me overcome my adolescent kneee-jerk disdain for the military. I haven't been in touch with any of them for many years, and wouldn't know how to reach any of them now. It seems pointless to say to them: I hope you and your friends are safe and well, because undoubtedly some of them or their friends are not. But I do want to say: my thoughts are with you, along with my thanks for what you and your fellows have done in East Timor and Afghanistan-- and may well do in Iraq.

In the meantime, like everyone else, I'll be reading Tim Blair as well as regular news sources for news and commentary.