‘The terrorism threat here is because our troops are over there‘, Pearls and Irritations, 14 February 2017
Compared to other risks, we have little to fear from terrorism. In the last two decades only three people in Australia have died from terrorism. But there is a ‘vividness’ bias in terrorism because it stands out in our minds. Importantly, a lot of politicians, businesses, stand to gain from exaggerating the terrorist threat. It is also easy news for our failing and lazy media.
Menadue compares the risks from domestic violence, alcohol, guns, crime generally, and climate change with that from terrorism. The difference is that terrorism is ‘vivid’ in terms described by psychologists. It also has its vested interests, from security services to university faculties, police forces to politicians.
If there is one thing we could do to reduce terrorism in Australia, it would be for us to get our troops out of the Middle East as quickly as possible. But our government will not admit the original Iraqi invasion mistake and does not want to forego the political bonus it sees from the terrorism threat.
Related piece by Honest History vice president, Alison Broinowski, on why we need an explanation for why and who we are fighting in Syria. Alison Broinowski has a chapter in The Honest History Book; the chapter is called ‘Australia’s tug of war: Militarism versus independence’ and the book is to be published in April.
John Menadue is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters.