June 11, 2003


Senator Bob Brown wants a Senate inquiry into pre-war claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Andrew Bolt requests a broader inquiry:

Let's start with Brown's warning on the ABC's Insiders program last September that "there may be hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq".

Well, that proved false, didn't it? The true civilian death toll seems fewer than perhaps 3000. Tragic, but it's still fewer than an average month's violent deaths under Saddam. So let's have an inquiry into that bit of disgraceful scaremongering.

Let's also investigate the claims promoted by his fellow Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, when she hosted the launch in Parliament House last November of a report by the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

This report, treated by the media with great respect, said the war in Iraq was "likely to result in between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths", and perhaps "millions of refugees and displaced people", as well as "famine and epidemics".

Each of those predictions has been proved utterly wrong. In fact, instead of creating millions of refugees, the war achieved the opposite -- refugees are returning to freed Iraq.

So were these claims, endorsed by the Greens, another example of "political dishonesty"? Were they "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated"?

The Greens - exaggerating? Say it isnít so.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 11, 2003 12:20 PM

I wonder if Captain Planet (first described by whackingday) will call for a Senate inquiry into Iran's involvement in this "scandal".

Iran agrees Iraq hid arms

"Yes, we agree with the Americans. Our intelligence indicated that Iraq did possess weapons of mass destruction and was hiding them from the U.N.," the official said.

Top U.N. weapon inspector cautions on conclusions

Posted by: Gary at June 11, 2003 at 01:10 PM

Well, the Red Cross thought the refugee situation was going to be serious enough to require refugee camps in four neighbouring countries. From a March Red Cross press release:

"The Australian Red Cross Iraq and Region Humanitarian Appeal will support
the work of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (Federation) and the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) to assist people affected by the conflict in Iraq. The funds may be
used to provide shelter, health care services, food, water and other basic
necessities to vulnerable families in Iraq and to refugees in Iran, Jordan,
Syria and Turkey. Assistance activities may also focus on the treatment of
war-wounded, the prevention of health epidemics, emergency repairs of water
and sewage systems, and the provision of the most needed relief materials."

(The one in Jordan alone with capacity for 25,000 refugees.)

In the event it didn't happen. But experts - the Red Cross - expected it to. How does accepting the word of an expert organisation like the Red Cross, which deals with humanitarian disasters every day, constitute political dishonesty?

I mean, they wouldn't ask me - I'm just a dead rock singer and the biggest humanitarian disaster I've ever seen is the back of a tour van.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 11, 2003 at 01:12 PM

My apologies to Paul & Carl I think it was they who first described Bob Brown as Captain Planet.

Posted by: Gary at June 11, 2003 at 01:47 PM

So Tim (and Andrew Bolt) think that the standards of public accountability that apply to a fringe group of wacky sloganeers, on the one hand, and a government committing troops to war, on the other, should be the same?

Either they're giving the fringe-dwellers a hell of a lot more credibility than they deserve, or they're implying that they don't expect very much of their government.

Either way, it's no-one's finest moment.

Posted by: Mork at June 11, 2003 at 07:15 PM

The inquiry is to be into the intelligence behind the claims of WMDs in Iraq, presumeably the quality thereof, and whether there was any pressure on those gathering the intelligence, to make it support a certain case regardless of the facts.
Since Bob Brown was using public information as to his statements, a similar inquiry applied to his comments would be, well, a bit pointless.

OTOH if you want to make an inquiry into as to why his statements didn't come true, then you could also have an inquiry every time the budget estimates are different to reality, an inquiry into why we are not living under a communist dictatorship every time a union wins a labour dispute, or why we are not getting paid in shekels everytime a union looses a labour dispute.

Politicians will make grandiose claims all the time, it's a waste of tax payers money to hold an inquiry every time they open their mouths.

Posted by: Factory at June 11, 2003 at 10:15 PM


The problem is that people listened to the fringe group. All you have to do is open any letters or opinion page around the time of the lead up to the invasion to see evidence of this. Many in the general populace were parrotting the hysterics of Nettle and Brown. Even trained military men like Peter Charlton and Adrian d'Hage were starting to believe that nonsense.

Posted by: AndyM at June 11, 2003 at 11:18 PM

Bolt and everyone else is going to find it hard to drive the final nail into Nettle and the rest of us handwringers. Why? Because the US hasn't so far given casualty figures and hell will freeze over before they do. Bolt is just smart enough to realise this, but won't say so.

And anyhow, Nettle's intent was to save lives; her actual impact was.. what exactly? AndyM says 'people listened to the fringe group.' Pretty frightening stuff that listening. The intent of the WMD lies was to appropriate another nation's wealth and strategic importance and the actual result was the unnecessary deaths of thousands of innocent people. The comparison doesn't hold much water for me and is actually offensive if you dwell on it for long.

I read somewhere today that a UN report has indicated that there are 3240 Iraqi deaths that can be proved and that the real figure would be much higher. But it's a UN report right, so it's automatically suspect, unlike anything the Yanks say, which is holy writ.

Y'all might be happy to have killed people for no good reason; you might be happy to go shopping for another excuse, such as a sudden conversion to nationbuilding. I'm not.

I guess you sleep easily when there's not much on your mind.

Posted by: Glenn at June 12, 2003 at 07:17 PM

Why won't people give Bob Brown the credit he deserves? During Gulf War I, when Bob was a Member of the Tassie Parliament, he condemned Bush Senior for NOT finishing off Saddam. Not even Bob can be wrong all the time.

Posted by: Norman at June 12, 2003 at 09:03 PM


You know exactly that I meant 'people listened to the fringe group[ and believed their opinions to be well informed]'. So you're saying that there were 3240 deaths? Well, Glenn, that's mainly because of the Ba'athist tactic of using citizens as human shields, hiding major weapons in built up areas etc. Of course, they do that partly because they have a special symbiotic relationship with people like you. It goes something like this:

1. Civilian casualties are necessary to the neo-Left America/Jew haters so that they can push their political agenda

2. The neo-Left predicts thousands of casualties

3. Hey presto, Saddam conveniently delivers dead babies galore

4. The Americans look bad and both the Ba'athists and the neo-Left are grinning from ear to ear

Furthermore, unless your head has been firmly planted in your rectum for the past few weeks, you would have noticed all the bodies which have been exhumed. These people were murdered by the regime. Over 1 million people were murdered by the Ba'athists in their 25 yr rule. That's over 3000 people a month. Another 6 million have had their lives ruined by the Ba'athists by having to flee into exile. If it was up to cheese eating surrender monkeys like you, there'd be 20 million people living under the jackboot of Saddam. Life's still not perfect in Iraq but it's a hell of alot better than it was.

Posted by: AndyM at June 12, 2003 at 10:55 PM

So much for Nettle's intent to save lives. Are Iraqis only murdered if they're killed by Americans?

Posted by: AndyM at June 13, 2003 at 01:56 AM


You might be interested by this article in the Washington Post. It says AP is the source of the civilian death count, not the UN as you claim.


This is particularly telling:

"Did the Americans bomb civilians? Yes. But one should be realistic," said Dr. Hameed Hussein al-Aaraji, the new director of Baghdad's al-Kindi Hospital. "Saddam ran a dirty war. He put weapons inside schools, inside mosques. What could they do?"

Posted by: AndyM at June 13, 2003 at 02:24 AM

Well those straws you clutch are handy but unlikely to hold in a storm.

'Well, Glenn, that's mainly because of the Ba'athist tactic of using citizens as human shields'

Well Andy, they wouldn't have done this would they, if they hadn't been bombed. Horse, cart. Andy: 'but the real horse was Saddam's WM.. umm, well hang on, maybe not.. I know, it was his ignoring UN res.., well wait a minute, he's not the lone ranger there.. it was his evilness in general. There!

Actually, the process of your self-deception would involve far less input from you if I'm not mistaken. The rationale is an evolving script which you read and swallowed with breakfast like millions of others. You are a natural apologist Andy. You have a lot of friends right now, but 'only dead fish go with the flow.'

It's good to see your almost handwringing concern for those Iraqi dead. Guess you must have been a cheese eating surrender monkey for ten years while they were being slaughtered with the tacit approval of all your poobahs in Washington eh?

'So much for Nettle's intent to save lives. Are Iraqis only murdered if they're killed by Americans?'

Again the post 911 concern. Timely that. And so fearlessly independent. The answer to your tired, recycled question is: I didn't take part in the process that saw Saddam seize Iraq (some of your pals did, but that's for another day) but I did take part in a process that saw Howard installed here, just as Americans, whether they voted for him or not, are responsible as stakeholders in a democracy (however flawed in Bush's case) for the conduct of their leaders. I might abhor Saddam's crimes but I had no part in their commission. Whereas I am partly responsibility for the actions of Howard that led to the needless deaths of thousands of people. Had we been truly concerned about the marsh Arabs or the Shi'ite, we might have noticed them ten years ago.

Wonder why we didn't? Could it be because our free press's lack of interest coincided with that of the establishment? And that their reignited interest aligned with Washington's? Perish the thought!

Thanks for that quote.. it's about the fifth time I've seen it. It's like the footage of the falling statue.. it's gold for the cause. And quelle surprise to find an admin friendly quote in the Washington Post!

Posted by: Glenn at June 14, 2003 at 01:59 PM


Get over yourself, you tool. It's people like you and your bum pals at the UN who thwarted every attempt to destroy the fascist regime in Iraq. The Americans wanted to continue the charge into Iraq in 1991 but they were stopped by their alliance partners - the Arabs and the French (big surprise there). That's multilateralism for you. People like Wolfowitz, Pearle, Blair, Howard etc have been iitching for an opportunity to smash that dirty c*nt for ten years now.

Face it, the neo-Left (people like you) are so blinded by their anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-Modernism that they have morally bankrupted themselves. They are prepared to aid and abet the most disgusting regime on the planet and preserve the reign of a Caligula style dictator to satisfy their pathological hatred.

BTW, you are a collectivist simpleton and a retard.

Posted by: AndyM at June 16, 2003 at 09:31 PM

"Well, Glenn, that's mainly because of the Ba'athist tactic of using citizens as human shields"

"Well Andy, they wouldn't have done this would they, if they hadn't been bombed..."

That's right, because non-Westerners are never accountable for their actions, are they? Natural man is naturally good; the exception occurs when the Eeevvvvviiiilllll AammmerrriKKKaaannns and Jooooooosss corrupt them.

Posted by: AndyM at June 17, 2003 at 02:14 AM

Glenn and Andy - my aren't we having fun!?!

By the way, anyone who believes that the discusion on WMD is over is a kook - oops, sorry Glenn.

The plain fact of the matter is that every major country's intelligence organization believed there to be WMD's, whether they were with the coalition or opposed. The UN could verify they existed but could not verify their destruction. There have been numerous reports that the weapons probably met three fates - destruction right as the war started, hiding intellectual data so that the WMD's activities could begin once the war was over, and being shipped to Syria.

Arguing over the war in Iraq would best be left to discussions of whether the US planned their occupation and nation building accurately and how are the policy decisions playing out in that regard. For anyone to suggest that Hussein should still be in power, is ridiculous and probably not very genuine. Glenn, come up with something else.

Posted by: JEM at June 17, 2003 at 04:11 AM