June 24, 2003


Here’s Phillip Adams on April 16:

Make no mistake, if the US can't find those chemical weapons in Iraq, it'll smuggle some in and plant them.

Andrew Wilkie anticipated the same thing:

Interviewed by Richard Glover on ABC radio in Sydney on April 15, Wilkie went so far as to suggest the US just might "plant" some significant WMDs in Iraq post bellum.

Joint apologies are expected any year now.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 24, 2003 04:13 AM

That's what so infuriating about the whole thing. It wouldn't have mattered when or where they were found. Saddam himself could walk us to them. But there will still be idiots screaming "they were planted, they were planted! The evil George Bush invaded a peaceful sovereign country for nothing!"

All these folks focusing on WMD are missing the greater point. Saddam may never have been removed were it not for this action. They also miss they greater picture of this move in the war on terror. I'm beginning to think they just don't care.

Posted by: Brad at June 24, 2003 at 08:13 AM

Wasn't John Quiggin ALSO saying they would be planted? And he is a far more reasonable source than any you've quoted so far.

Posted by: Patrick at June 24, 2003 at 10:03 AM

It's a bit strange that these same numbskulls are all too willing to believe what they hear from the US administration when what they're hearing is congenial. I haven't yet heard anyone speculate that the US might be lying about NOT finding forbidden materials in Iraq. (Of course, there's bound to be a sad fellow in a tinfoil hat somewhere who has made this claim.)

Posted by: Harry at June 24, 2003 at 10:16 AM

It's not too late - after all, John Howard says its too early for an inquiry into the intelligence that said they were there in the first place, cos they might still find something.

And if it's good enough for the Prime Minister, who's a dead rock singer to disagree?

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 24, 2003 at 10:46 AM

er, war on terror?

how is the war on terror going, perhaps compared to the war on poverty, and the war on drugs?

last i looked, drugs and poverty were growing exponentially, terror was doing very well indeed. what can we have a war on next please? can i use it on my weeds in the driveway?

cheers from afro-cuban heaven,


Posted by: chico o'farrill at June 24, 2003 at 11:49 AM

so wilkie plagiarized a plagiazer, or was it a case of two maggots converging on the same pile of shit?

Posted by: phar lap at June 24, 2003 at 12:11 PM

The loony 'left' now have the perfect win-win situation.
Don't find WMDs --- everyone 'lied'.
Find WMDs --- everyone 'lied' & 'faked it'.

Who needs to actually think any more? All you need now is belief. Isn't life so much less demanding this way?

Posted by: Norman at June 24, 2003 at 12:13 PM

It thinks it's a case of convergance, Phar Lap. Adams would have written his column well in advance of the 15th.

Norman - excellent point. WMDs are now an article of The One True Faith.

Posted by: tim at June 24, 2003 at 01:10 PM

Perhaps the War On Terror was never expected to be any more successful than the wars on drugs or poverty.

Perhaps the intention was to place a certain stigma on terrorism, where previously it was considered - by the chattering classes - as a perfectly understandable way of expressing one's frustrations, particularly when directed at Israelis, and more recently at US citizens.

Posted by: The at June 24, 2003 at 02:09 PM

Er, scuse me boys, but in case you haven't noticed - no WMDs. Nil, nada, zip.

All this piffle about will they/won't they fake it is mere silly conjecture. Some believe they will, some believe they won't. None believe Iraq was a threat - not even you neocon totalitatian quasi fascists.

Stop hiding from the real issues, you mindless warblers.

Posted by: Chief Chimp at June 24, 2003 at 04:23 PM


A spelling error! ALERT ALERT ALERT!

Posted by: Baby Chimp at June 24, 2003 at 04:25 PM

This planting thing isn't a marginal view. Why else would the US refuse to allow UN inspectors to a liberated iraq, if not to keep open the possibility of a planting operation? Even Richard Butler [not exactly a fire-breathing anti-american] indirectly acknowledges this, saying that the US and Australia may:

...seek to say that there are weapons of mass destruction that they've discovered, but exclude UN inspectors from giving objective verification of that fact. If they do that, others will accuse them of having planted those weapons.

I think it's terribly important that whatever is done now be done properly and transparently for all the world to be able to believe in it.


[UN inspectors] should be invited back to verify whatever the Americans and the Coalition find. Let's say our own people stumble over such a warehouse, they throw open the doors and there is, you know, 500 R44 bombs with chemical agent loaded into them, which I expect might happen at some stage.

Now, the Australian Army can say, look what we found. That's one thing. I believe them because they're Australians, but the world won't unless some objective authority comes along, the UN inspectors, and counts them and says that's right, these are 400 weapons, we've seen their serial numbers, they accord with our record of the past serial numbers, and we don't believe that they were planted by the Australians. This is an objectively verifiable fact; it's called verification. That's very important.

ELEANOR HALL: Why do you think the United States can't see the logic of what you're saying?

RICHARD BUTLER: They don't want to.

Unfortunately we'll never know why they don't want to see the logic [cause Hall didn't ask, the dud], but I [and Phillip Adams and Andrew Wilkie, apparently] can make an educated guess.

Posted by: adam at June 24, 2003 at 04:54 PM

I hope that people who are busily jumping on the "there are no WMD" bandwagon consider a nasty alternative.

What if they have indeed found something and are really just waiting to get a decent dossier together to hamstring their opponents? Remember that there is an election coming up next year and if the next democratic hopeful puts too much political capital into this, he can effectively be destroyed by such a disclosure.

Sure I acknowledge that each passing day this becomes more unlikely but however it may give pause to even the most die hard anti-Bushie if it has a chance of coming to pass....

Posted by: Rob at June 24, 2003 at 05:38 PM

We all know Saddam DID have chemical/biological weapons, and was working on a nuclear program.

Richard BUTLER told The Sydney Institute on January 28 that there was "no question" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Andrew WILKE, the pin up boy of the no war movement said to The Bulletin on March 18, "there was no doubt" Iraq had "chemical and biological weapons" Gerard Henderson's article in todays SMH covers this.

Who cares if we can't find them now? Who cares if they are all gone? Should we perhaps uninvade and restore Saddam to power with an apology. If our government is as dishonest as ADAM's seems to suggest, why then didn't they plant the weapons and produce them as evidence. The fact that they have not found any weapons, and are declaring the fact shows a level of honesty that ADAMs would do well to aspire to.

Posted by: Gilly at June 24, 2003 at 07:14 PM


* let the weapons inspectors look anywhere in Iraq; and
* banned them from speaking to anyone about WMD's.

Given that Saddam is a known deceiver, isn't it gobsmackingly obvious that he shipped the WMD's out of Iraq before he let the weapons inspectors back in? The UN could look anywhere in a country where the WMD's were no longer stored, but couldn't speak to anyone who might tell them where they were sent.

I am constantly amazed at how few people get this concept.

Posted by: wv at June 24, 2003 at 09:49 PM

Same here. These people will believe what they want to believe. The US is always telling the truth when they hear something they like, and lying when they hear something they don't.

Whatever happened to liberal concern for the downtrodden? Lefties should be dancing in the streets. Instead we get a festival of shit flinging the likes of which I haven't seen since last visiting Monkey Island at the zoo. It's getting pretty clear what their real concerns are.

Posted by: Harry at June 25, 2003 at 02:24 AM

wv, would you care to name the country or countries that Saddam shipped the weapons to?

Here's a list of Iraq's neighbours:

Saudia Arabia

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 25, 2003 at 12:45 PM

Syria's the obvious candidate, but there could have been any number of other states or non-governmental actors on the receiving end. We're not talking about thousands of tons of material, but mere tons. The bulk of the bacterial agent the UN says Saddam had (13k liters) could have been exported in a single truck or easily hidden in a bunker or hold in a marine vessel.

I strongly suspect that if we'd charged into Iraq without wasting time with the corrupt and impotent UNSC, there would be a whole buffet of naughty items to look at now. Because we gave away strategic surprise, it seems pretty reasonable to suppose Saddam distributed much or all of the stuff to his fellow travellers, or buried it in the remote desert, while making the other war preparations we've seen.

Posted by: Harry at June 25, 2003 at 02:44 PM

I certainly was none-too comfortable with the idea of invading another country, blowing up a few people along the way. I furrowed my eyebrows and shifted uncomfortably in my seat upon hearing each new development. I'm sure this was the case for many in the "Anglosphere" (such as Philip Adams in Australia, but that was probably compounded by the fact that his chair is too small); in fact the peace movement was so uncomfortable they started throwing bottles at the heads of police officers in Sydney.

But I found myself weighing my discomfort against so many of those Iraqis we saw and read about, whose discomfort I considered could be even greater than that which I felt before I'd reached the halfway mark in my first bottle of Chardonnay for the evening. The discomfort of living on swill in a dungeon; of having dirt piled on top of you while you're still alive; the discomfort of having pieces arbitrarily chopped off, such as ears fingers and tongues; and the prolongued and rather inconvenient discomfort of hanging by a chain from the ceiling of your cell by your hands, which are twisted behind your back. How the hell do you answer the mobile??

I'm not sure if WMDs are an issue now. Those that opposed the invasion opposed it unconditionally; they assumed that Iraq DID have WMDs, 'cause the UN said so. Now they double-oppose it, I guess, because - since no WMDs have been found - the UN must have got it wrong (but presumably they didn't lie; it was an honest mistake, whereas the US did lie because - well - they're the US).

It would make sense that a single issue such as WMDs was used to galvanize opinion, but I suspect that those who have concluded that the war was NOT a massive tragedy - as was hoped by many - may be considering the broader issue and realising that it is a little more complex than a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Posted by: The at June 26, 2003 at 01:15 PM

This is really not that hard.

Is it a good thing that Saddam has gone? Big yes. Very good thing.

Is it a bad thing that our governments lied to us - that the stated reason for the war was a premeditated falsehood? Big yes. Very bad thing.

This is not a Right vs Left debate. It is simply a means vs end argument. Does the good outweigh the bad? I don't know yet - and neither do you.

And as an Iraqi, whether I'm being tortured by Saddam or crippled by American cluster bombs, I don't think I really give a fuck, coz it's all just shit, whichever way I turn.

You want black and white answers? Go read some fairy tales.

Posted by: Nemesis at June 27, 2003 at 01:35 PM