August 04, 2003


Make of this what you will, but DEBKA is reporting that John Howard “is thinking of calling a snap election at year’s end to catch his Labor Party rivals off guard, confident that the proof of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction will come to light in time for him to pull off a victory at the polls.”

I don’t think Howard needs the weapons.

(Via reader John S.)

Posted by Tim Blair at August 4, 2003 04:07 AM

Exactly. Who needs WMD to convince the punters when you've got sneering Simon as your opposition - a Prime Ministers dream. Ironically, it brings to mind one P.K. Keating sneering across the chamber, 'I'll do you slowly, son'.
Yeah, we remember.........

Posted by: jafa at August 4, 2003 at 04:50 AM

He may or may not need them.......

but I'm sure it will be arranged, just in time.

Assuming Baghdad airport can be made safe enough to fly them in.

Posted by: Analogue Voter at August 4, 2003 at 05:49 AM

I'm with Analogue - I feel so misled. I expect an apology from Clinton, Gore, Chirac, Schroeder as well as many of the other UN Security Counsel members who insisted that Iraq had WMD. I can't stand being lied to.

Posted by: Jerry at August 4, 2003 at 06:10 AM

Interesting. In all the fuss over the last couple of months about the two well-scrubbed (and supposedly canvas-sided) trailers that may or may not be mobile germ labs, I kept wondering why only two were mentioned. I (and at least one other blogger I've asked) have a distinct memory from further back that at least three had been captured at different times and places.

A few weeks ago, some blog (actually, I think it was this one) quoted Howard specifically saying that there are three trailers, two ambiguous and thoroughly scrubbed, the third unscrubbed and unambiguously a germ warfare lab with plenty of germs still in it. No one in the press seems to have picked up on his clear assertion that we already have a 'smoking gun'.

The press's silence should be absolutely astonishing, but isn't. After all, lots of people, some of them journalists, dismiss the Galloway documents as "obvious forgeries", without mentioning that there are two sets. The CSM set were indeed forged, but the original Telegraph set appears genuine. Not mentioning that there are two sets whenever Galloway's alleged treason is mentioned is gross journalistic malpractice, but no longer the least bit surprising even in formerly-respectable journals.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil at August 4, 2003 at 06:46 AM

Finding the bodies of these unfortunate people would be better evidence then the WMD themselves:

"prisoners and detainees subjected to biological and chemical weapons experiments"

Still, I wouldn't put it past the left to argue that the corpses were planted.

Posted by: wv at August 4, 2003 at 08:03 AM

Like Dr. Weevil, I also recollect a third; though I don't recall reading anything more about it.

wv, I'm sure the left will argue that it was just medical research and the Ba'athists were much to kind to torture innocent animals... (/sarcasm off)

Posted by: Kathy K at August 4, 2003 at 09:59 AM

Why doesn't the Whitehouse put out the story that Saddam was using PUPPIES & DOLPHINS to test his weapons of mass destruction and that the biological research he was conducting was into genetically modified crops. Greenpeace may even send a few teams in to Iraq to help the US Army look for them.
Because we all know that for your average lefty, "land rights for gay whales" are much more important than liberating an entire nation from mindless tyranny and murder.

Posted by: The GOP Elephant at August 4, 2003 at 10:17 AM

Then again, those trailers may have been part of an artillery system for producing helium - just like the Iraqi's said.

Made in the UK, by Marconi, no less.,6903,977853,00.html

Posted by: Analogue Voter at August 4, 2003 at 10:20 AM

I like your thinking, GOP Elephant. Why don't we say that Saddam's biological experiments were responsible for destroying all of Iraq's trees as well? It must be true - there don't seem to be any trees in Iraq. That'll get the tree-huggers' vote.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 4, 2003 at 11:21 AM

Hey, Analogue Voter:

Did you even read the comment you're supposedly commenting on?

Two of the trailers are a DIFFERENT design from the other one. Maybe those two are what you say. Maybe not. (I assume you haven't actually seen them, and I take the Marconi claims with a huge grain of salt.) Then again, they may have been modified to make WMDs while still able to make helium as a cover story. That's what 'dual use' means. I suppose if you saw known mobsters carrying violin cases, you would just assume they were transporting violins. Now who's being naive?

In any case, what about the third trailer? Why isn't anyone even asking about it? If Howard says there are three, not two, he's either telling a bald-faced lie or there is in fact evidence for WMD trailers over and above the two that the Saddam suckers keep talking about. I think the latter far more likely.

For everyone else:

Here's another example of the press's astonishing obliviousness to pertinent questions. The Nine of Hearts was widely reported as captured on May 1st, but CentCom never confirmed it. He was again reported as captured on July 8th, this time with CentCom confirmation. As far as I can determine, in reporting this no news source mentioned that they had already reported his capture long before, and none printed the necessary correction admitting that their previous story was false. Could they be ignoring the third trailer? I would have thought that would be difficult, but nothing is too difficult for the contemporary press.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil at August 4, 2003 at 11:26 AM

So Iraq has trailer trash as well?

Posted by: pooh at August 4, 2003 at 12:42 PM

Does anyone dispute Iraq had WMD?

One trailer, three trailers, missing trailers - who cares. There is ample evidence chemical weapons were used on Kurds in the past - 5000 dead bodies worth. Butler, Blix etc all said Iraq had weapons, even that Andrew Wilke said they had weapons. How many weapons were discovered by UN teams during the 90's before being thrown out. The lack of weapons found has been a surprise to just about everyone.

The invasion was proceeded with on the basis of the threat Iraq would pose if they were in possession of nuclear/biological weapons and the means to deliver them. Most 'informed' observers agreed they had at least biological weapons, and it is not too far a stretch to suggest these could be deliverd by terrorist agents - of which I have noticed a few seem to originate from the Middle East.

The lack of weapons found shows that they were either hidden or destroyed - it is not proof they were a figment of our collective imagination.

Anti-war activists seem to have taken the lack of WMD material discovered as being proof they were correct, and that the war was not justified. This argument has become a convenient distraction as their arguments of political and humanatarian disaster prior to the war have proven to be specious.

The references to John Howard as being Teflon coated in relation to the war in Iraq, Malcom Farr drags out that old chesnut in the Tele again today, continue to ignore the fact the the majority of the population just may have to wit to see through the anti-war arguments from the left.

Posted by: Gilly at August 4, 2003 at 01:04 PM

Interesting how things get twisted around. Before the war there seemed no doubt about Saddam having WMDs. What was in doubt was what had he done with them. That is what the inspectors were to determine.

It seems now as if the question is did he ever have WMDs. Just do a search and see what the UN was saying before the war.

IMO Saddam had ample opportunity to dispose of his weapons. He could have sent some out of the country (Syria), could have dismantled some or buried some. It's a large country. It will take time to search it.

We just found planes that had been buried. Much larger than WMDs or WMD parts. May never find some parts for years unless people talk.

Personally I don't care. The biggest threat was Saddam's regime having WMDs. Now the regime is gone, the biggest threat is also. It would be nice to find all WMDs and their parts to keep them out of the hands of those who would use them. But, other tasks are just as important, or more important, in that country right now.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 4, 2003 at 01:34 PM

If Carmen Lawrence picks up party president of the ALP, he should go now, and pull a double dissolution; I can't think of the ALP being in a worse situation if they dug up Kim Il Sung and ran with him as a senior policy spokesperson (deceased).
Carmen is about as popular as chronic flatulence everywhere except the Margo Kingston fan club, and would be disasterous for the ALP's electoral chances. Let's all join the ALP and vote for the hideous crone.

Posted by: MC Habib Bickford (In the House) at August 4, 2003 at 03:38 PM

Enough with the MC already.

Posted by: pooh at August 4, 2003 at 03:59 PM

Hideous crone. One of Friday's best topics.

At least Carmen Lawrence speaks English. Nobody has ever been able to figure out anything that has come from the mouth of one of her alternatives.

Hello, Barry Jones.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 4, 2003 at 04:38 PM

Hey Gilly, I don't mean to be pedantic but there was much more to the campaign of genocide waged against the Kurds by Saddam than the gassing of Halabja (est 5,000 dead, 10,000 injured), a town of 80,000 people that was occupied by Iranian soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war at the time.

Halabja should be seen in the context of the sytematic deployment of chemical weapons against innocent Kurdish civilian populations in literally scores of Kurdish towns and villages during the genocidal campaign known as the Anfals. Independent estimates put the number killed at 100,000 with untold further suffering caused by injury and displacement. Even Human Rights Watch says so!


Posted by: Bob Bunnett at August 5, 2003 at 09:41 PM