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Cloud cuckoo land « Previous | |Next »
May 30, 2003

The saga of the missing weapons of mass destruction continues to unfold. Remember the allegation?

The US, UK and Australian Governments claimed that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had both spent billions of dollars developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and that he was poised to hand them over to terrorists or fire them at US troops or neighbouring countries. The national security of all three countries was threated. A pre-emptive strike was necessary to deal with the threat because the UN inspectors were unlikely to find them in time. Iraq was too tricky to allow that.

It looks more and more like a good old smoke and mirrors job. It was what many thought at the time because the argument just did not stake up. That was why the UN was not convinced to take the adopt a resolution authorizing war on a sovereign country. Not enough evidence to substantiate the claim.

It's all a bit ho hum in Australia. But they take the issue a bit more seriously in Britain than we do in Australia, judging by this report. It has to do with the credibility of the Blair case for attacking Iraq. Has the British public been conned?

Meanwhile The Sydney Morning Herald reports that back in the USA, Mr Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, has said that:

'... the US decision to stress the threat posed by Iraq's supposed banned weapons above all others was taken for "bureaucratic" reasons to justify the war. "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

Apparently this was said in Vanity Fair but there is nothing online. Its all subscription only. But it indicates that the Americans don't really care about questions of legitimacy. It was all spin and power from the beginning.

Meanwhile, back in Australia we find Coalition ministers singing different tunes. For instance, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, continues to insist that the legal basis for Australia's role in the invasion is Iraq's alleged failure to comply with United Nations resolutions on weapons of mass destruction. Apparently the justification is solid because of the recent discovery of the two trailers.

It is soooo compelling. The minister always appears to be pulling rabbits out of a hat. He seems to have forgotten that John Howard had hummed the liberation from oppression tune. He plays the magician because he won't publicly say what he knows privately: the evidence is not there. Can we put the poor performance by the Adelaide hills boy down to jetlag? He is looking more and more like an old trouper who can't perform the old theatre tricks any more.

The Defence Minister, Robert Hill hums a different tune. He dutifully follows the Rumsfeld script. He says that that no banned weapons may ever be found. Then he echoes Rumsfeld. It might be the case that Iraq may have destroyed more than we believed he says. A good criticism of this line is given by Tim Dunlop at Road To Surfdom

Presumably that destruction was before the war started? Why would Saddam disarm himself? And only believed? And what has happened to the hard evidence? Never there? Just a few facts and lots of interpretation?

These guys in Canberra are so predictable. They just echo Washington. Some are just more up to date than others. But their act does not work. They are not working as a unit on stage. Not enough in the way of rehearsals? Its a bit embarrasing watching these old tricks go through their tricks. Too many mistakes.

They are not very good with the rhetoric. I thought that the purpose of rhetoric was meant to be one of persuasion. They are undercutting themselves. The threads of the government's script are unravelling on this one. But they don't seem to care. They know they have a stranglehold on power. Thats all that matters. But you can see the arrogance creeping in.

And us? Well we have a choice. We s can say that we have been conned yet again, or that the Coalition lives in cloud cuckoo land. Take your pick. You can choose both if you so desire.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:52 AM | | Comments (6)


Nah, Alexander Mogadom is just plain stupid.

The reality is probably that the government cares little about the exposure of these blatant lies because they know they won't be questioned very hard on them. The swinging voters basically don't give a stuff about this, just like they didn't about the lies around the children overboard lies.

I prefer the description of "blatant lies and deceipt" rather than just 'conned'. Little Johnny & his motley crew don't give a fig either way. They believe their actions are justified come what may because George told them to do it. Puts a whole new slant on that old quote - "The devil made me do it"

Howard, who always said that regime change was not sufficient reason for invasion, maintained that WMD was the only reason the invasion was right. Now that this has proven to be a pack of lies, you'd think that a few ABC types would be pressing him on the point. Well no. They are too busy being suitably outraged by Dick Alston's preemptive manoeuver accusing them of bias tantamount to disloyalty to the troops. The quality of politics in Australia is running a clear last in the Coalition of the Willing.

You could also say that the quality of media politics in Australia is at a pretty low ebb.

I don't know what the 'deceipt' referred to above means; but I have no difficulty understanding:
1] If Saddam didn't have prohibited items, he was superb at convincingly us that he did, and his performance deserves an Oscar.
2] Prohibited items have, however few, been found.
3] Even the French had said the use of WMDs would change their stance.
4] Once war seemed inevitable, it would not have made sense for Saddam NOT to have removed evidence.
5] Once the war started, if the Allies seemed able to win, WMDs would not have been enough to turn the tide.
6] Saddam's one hope, was that it would be protracted long enough for world pressure to say, "You haven't found WMDs, so call a truce."

Those who have trouble understanding that ex post facto events haven't removed all basis for going in aren't trying very hard. They felt the original reasons weren't satisfactory for them. Fair enough. But so what?
Those who believed the reasons were adequate, made a decision based on the evidence available at that time. Unless you have a crystal ball, isn't that all anyone can do?
In a way, it's like one eyed fans at the footie, who contiulously nag, "Isn't it terrible the way the referee ALWAYS favours the other side?"

good point. No its not like the referee at a footie match. I'm not annoyed that my team lost. It has more to do with government's relations with its citizens in a democracy. They did not level.

Why not say we are goign to watr because we need the US as an insurance policy. It would make more sense.

And they are not doing so now. Downer and Hill have quite differnt stories. Downer says the Governments' position corresponds to the intelligence assessments; Hill says the intelligence was iffy.

There is a third option. The Government did not have the evidence. It politicized it and blew up what was already there.

Democracy is different to a footie match.