If Afghanistan was the only place in the world where militant Muslims could train terrorists the speeches yesterday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott could be said to have been quite sensible.
Stopping madly religious bombers from causing death and destruction as at the New York Trade Centre or in Bali is a proper function of government. Unfortunately there is nothing special about Afghanistan except that Osama Bin Laden made that country his training camp of choice.
As military action by western nations has meant fighting an actual war has limited the opportunities for training outsiders, the militants have moved their training elsewhere. Yemen, the Horn of Africa, northern Africa, Pakistan and, I read this morning, Kyrgyzstan have replaced Afghanistan as the favoured locations.
There is no evidence I have seen that suggests that fighting the Taliban has lessened the danger. So if we accept the argument of the leaders of Australia’s major political parties that our troops are engaged in a fight to wipe out terrorism why are we not supporting an extension of combat to the places where it is now being fostered?