* This is not ‘culture war’s’- this is about infiltration. Rabid Marxists and loons in Wakademia see Musulmaniacs as brothers in arms in their struggle against the establishment. Â If these useful idiots succeed, they will be the first who will be roasted by the soldiers of Allah, just like the Ayatollah Khomeini went after the commies as soon as Peanut Khadr handed him Iran on a silver platter.
Today most of our universities in the Western world are employing far left loons who are trying to deny the right of countries such as Australia to defend themselves against attack by terrorists. Their reasoning goesÂ somethingÂ like this: “Australia’s counter-terrorism polices was what provoked “the very thing they claimed to defend us from – i.e. terrorism is Australia’s own fault”.
Culture wars bomb hits the military
SOME of Australia’s top thinkers on national security have opened a new front in the culture wars – over whether a postmodernist interpretation of terrorism is brainwashing our next generation of military leaders.
At the centre of the intensely personal battle is the appointment as an associate professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy of Anthony Burke – who after claiming he was being misrepresented as “pro-terrorist”, has demanded his chief critic be investigated for academic misconduct. Dr Burke, 42, complained to James Cook University over an article in Quadrant magazine by Merv Bendle, a senior lecturer in history and communications, which claimed university terrorism studies had been hijacked by a “neo-Marxist, postmodernist orthodoxy” among academics.
Another senior Canberra academic, Paul Pickering, of the Australian National University, fired off a separate protest to the Townsville-based university, but stopped short of calling for action against Dr Bendle.
The barrage of complaints and counter-claims brought to a head a row that began two months ago when Carl Ungerer, former national security adviser to the federal Labor leadership, questioned Dr Burke’s appointment to the defence force academy as “eyebrow-raising”.
Dr Burke withdrew his complaint against Dr Bendle yesterday after conceding “it may be that administrative action is not the best way to address the problem”.
He told The Weekend Australian: “I remain deeply unhappy about Dr Bendle’s accusations, and the violation of scholarly protocols they represent.”
Dr Bendle, 57, turned up the heat on Dr Burke, who describes his political orientation as “liberal-left”, by singling him out for being part of an academic clique that had compromised university terrorism studies.
“In the war on terror, a main battleground has become the universities where Islamist groups openly recruit members while an updated, post-9/11 version of the old neo-Marxist, postmodernist orthodoxy on terrorism dominates among academics,” Dr Bendle wrote in the latest edition of Quadrant, a standard-bearer for Australia’s conservative intelligentsia.
Dr Bendle accused Dr Burke of trying to deny the right of countries such as Australia to defend themselves against attack by terrorists. In doing so, “one wonders how students at the ADFA would feel if they are asked to place their lives on the line for Australia in Afghanistan, Iraq or other battlegrounds in the war on terror”, Dr Bendle wrote.
Describing the ADFA man’s published writings as “astonishing” for someone who was responsible for educating military officer cadets, Dr Bendle said Dr Burke had presented national security in “post-modernist terms, not as a concrete state of affairs or balance of political forces”.
He turned Dr Burke’s words back on him, saying it was clear he doubted that “terrorists are enemies of freedom or that freedom has any particular value”.
Dr Bendle said Dr Burke’s take on Australia’s counter-terrorism polices was that they provoked “the very thing they claimed to defend us from – i.e. terrorism is Australia’s own fault”.
Dr Bendle quoted his fellow academic as saying that Australia’s national values and way of life were merely “vast ideological abstractions”. Talking up “fundamental freedoms” was actually a “narcissistic performance of self in which Australia is represented as pure and good, as falsely superior to the religion of Islam,” Dr Bendle wrote of Dr Burke’s work.
Dr Burke told The Weekend Australian that while Dr Bendle had quoted him accurately, he had misrepresented his broader view that terrorism was immoral and politically counter-productive.
“The quotes are accurate, but the characterisation is not,” he insisted. The inference that he was pro-terrorist was an outrageous slur, Dr Burke said.
In his letter of complaint to JCU vice-chancellor Sandra Harding, dated last Monday, the Canberra academic hit out at Dr Bendle for claiming that he and Dr Pickering, among others, had “relentless sympathy for terrorists, defend the Islamist terrorists who conducted the July 2005 London bombings and are generally pro-terrorist”.
Dr Burke initially complained that the Quadrant article raised “serious concerns about the integrity and honesty of Dr Bendle’s research”, and invited a “formal and transparent investigation by JCU as to whether or not it constitutes a case of serious academic misconduct”.
Dr Burke, in withdrawing his demand yesterday, said he had decided that a university investigation was not warranted.
“I think there is still a matter of principle there,” he said. “But I don’t believe that asking for administrative action is the best way to respond.”
Dr Bendle said he was relieved, but stood by his criticism of Dr Burke’s supposedly post-modernist interpretation of terrorism.
He disputed Dr Burke’s assertion that their altercation was an extension of the culture wars, “very much in the American strain where people see the university as a battleground”.
Dr Bendle said the issue was actually academic freedom. Dr Burke and Dr Pickering should have approached him with their concerns before going over his head at James Cook University.
“It is a basic rule of academic etiquette for parties in an academic dispute to respect the right of free inquiry and free speech,” he said.
“These gentlemen could easily have emailed or telephoned me with their concerns and I would have done everything possible to reach some compromise.”
Dr Pickering did not return calls yesterday.
Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon shied away from comment, referring questions on Dr Bendle’s complaints to the Australian Defence Force. In a statement, the ADF said academic staff at the defence force academy were employed on their research and teaching record, according to the rules of the University of NSW.
“Taking any course out of context of the whole degree program does not truly reflect the overall education being provided to students at ADFA,” a defence spokesperson said.
However, the battlelines were hardening among supporters of the two feuding academics.
Dr Ungerer, now director of national security for Canberra-based think tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Unit, yesterday backed Dr Burke’s concerns.
Many academics teaching terrorism-related courses at university were “off on a tangent”, which had no relevance to real-world security issues, he said.
Dr Burke’s immediate boss at ADFA, humanities and social sciences head David Lovell, said the lecturer had his full confidence.
He said the academy, which operates academically as an offshoot of the University of NSW, produced graduates for the military “with no particular ideological views … who approach issues with an open mind, in a critical spirit”.
Dr Burke said ADFA had a balanced mix of teachers.
“If everyone was like me, it wouldn’t be appropriate … you don’t force your views on students. You must teach a range of perspectives,” he said.