Culture wars bomb hits the military & universities

Jamie Walker: The Australian | September 20, 2008,25197,24374073-601,00.html

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. [more …]

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Oddly enough it was only a few days ago that someone I was talking to was trying to deny that Australian universities are the training and recruiting ground for the ultra-liberals and their Marxist radicalisation of Australia which will result in the eventual partitioning of Australia into third world states along racial and religious lines. Abo farmland and outback (possibly Muslim), Islamic East Coast with pockets of Chinese and Indians at constant war with them (resembling the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent), and no room for White people.

That’s the future as I see it – that’s why I refuse to give up the struggle to awaken White people.