September 12, 2003


Iraqís poor children no longer have those wonderful state-run institutions to look after them. The ABCís The World Today reports:

In Iraq itself, child welfare groups are warning that the number of children living on Baghdad's streets has more than tripled since the end of the war. State-run institutions for orphans and other children suffered extensive looting during the war and most no longer offer shelter to vulnerable young people.

This is the ultimate variation on Mussoliniís punctual trains; say what you like about Saddam, but at least he offered shelter to vulnerable young people.

Psychiatrist Dr Mohammad al-Qurashi says most of the children visiting the centre are malnourished, 90 per cent are anaemic and half suffer skin diseases.

These symptoms have only appeared since Saddam was removed, apparently.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 12, 2003 04:23 AM

Hrm.. did the now-closed children's prisons count as a 'state-run institution'?

Posted by: amy at September 12, 2003 at 04:45 AM

"...most of the children visiting the centre are malnourished, 90 per cent are anaemic and half suffer skin diseases."

Is he sure he isn't examining anti-war protesters?

Posted by: E.A. at September 12, 2003 at 05:39 AM

More propaganda from the Zionist lapdogs! There were no orphans under our Supreme Leader! May ticks and fleas infest your privates!

Allahu Akbar

Posted by: Tongue Boy at September 12, 2003 at 05:56 AM

Are any of these kids former members of "Saddam's Cubs" that we saw photos of being trained to fight off the Kufr with AK-47's? That Saddam! He loved the children.

On a different but related note, we've heard about how the US/Bush has squandered the "goodwill" extended by the world to us two years ago. Since Tim gets a good international mix here, I thought I'd ask: If the US is sliding down the charts, who's the new consensus #1 most popular/admired/yummy/best-est ever nation-state in the world?

Bolivia? Faroe Islands? Thailand? Who?

Who do you and your fellow country men/women look to now that W has "shit the bed"?

Posted by: JDB at September 12, 2003 at 09:47 AM

I think the key phrase here is "children living". That's definitely a step up from the old order.

Posted by: Ken Summers at September 12, 2003 at 10:29 AM

JDB, it's Ausralia of course, we have been for years but don't like to boast.

We're thinking of giving New Zealand the number 2 spot. Nobody gives them anything and lots of people think they're number twos.

Posted by: Jake D at September 12, 2003 at 10:49 AM

Can anyone deny that some state-run institutions are no longer be providing the same level of services, and that this may pose a problem that needs to be solved?

This is the ultimate variation on Mussoliniís punctual trains; say what you like about Saddam, but at least he offered shelter to vulnerable young people.

Not at all, Tim. It's simply reporting the problems that occur when a regime collapses and war and looting take their toll.

As much as we try to avoid and minimize any suffering of the populace, it's inevitable that some shall occur. This is one such example, and we expect the media to cover it.

Posted by: Geoff at September 12, 2003 at 10:59 AM

Geoff, it becomes a little hard to swallow when all you hear continuously is negativity comming out of the likes of ABC.

ABC is waging it's own private jihad against the coalition. That is why Tim is upset and that is why I'm upset.

Posted by: Dan at September 12, 2003 at 11:48 AM

Malnourished children?

Bring back Saddam.

He knew what to do with malnourished children.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 12, 2003 at 11:50 AM

Hey, even CNN carries a report about the problems of Baghdad's street kids.

Since the collapse of the Iraqi regime, homeless children -- often drug-addicted and hungry -- have become a common sight on the streets of Baghdad.

CNN is succumbing to the Mussolini argument, it seems. Or it is waging a "private jihad against the coalition" :-)

Posted by: Geoff at September 12, 2003 at 12:12 PM

Dan, its not just the ABC with a jihad against the coalition: the Sydney Herald is just as bad.

Yesterday I sent a letter to the editor critical of Andrew Wilkie:

"Kevin Rudd MP has brought genuine expertise to the discussion of the Andrew Wilkie leaked document affair. This analyst occupied a sensitive position, and drew on sensitive sources to produce a document which was 'highly classified', for Australian eyes only, and code-word protected. No doubt these secrecy provisions were in place to protect sources, and to prevent hostile interests from learning what the Australian government does and does not know. That the document was given to the media is, as Mr Rudd puts it, 'treacherous', worthy of prosecution. Of course, the same analyst, as he left his sensitive position, produced a revised analysis, no doubt drawing on the same sensitive sources, and gave this analysis to the media. This potentially compromised sources, and certainly announced to all what the government did and did not know. What about this, Mr Rudd? Treacherous? Prosecution?"

They elected not to publish my letter, but did publish three letters on the same subject, all supportive of Wilkie or critical of the government.

And they call this balance.

Posted by: GeoffM at September 12, 2003 at 12:39 PM

Curious how selective you people are about suffering. If an Israeli suffers you all find your outrage, but if an Iraqi suffers then it's jokes all round.

A serious question - what would it take to make you reconsider your support for the war? Is there no situation were invading Iraq would ever have been wrong?

Posted by: 24601 at September 12, 2003 at 12:46 PM

I'm fascinated: assume you're a looter, looking to score big on a five-finger discount ... exactly how many of you out there are going to head straightway to ... The Orphanage? The STATE-RUN ORPHANAGE? and get... What? Crummy uniforms, bad food, ORPHANS? Wouldn't this strike even a reporter as somewhat peculiar behavior?

Posted by: Shelley at September 12, 2003 at 12:53 PM

Well 24601, I guess there might be circumstances wherein the war would not have been justified: IF Iraq had had a benevolent dictator who didn't mass murder and torture the people of Iraq, AND a dictator who didn't fund terrorism in Israel and presumably elsewhere, AND didn't have a record for using WMD's, AND didn't have Richard Butler and the United Nations saying he still had WMD's, AND was co-operating fully in demonstrating that the WMD's had been destroyed, AND there wasn't a need to confront Islamic fascism since they seem determined to destroy the West, AND there wasn't a post-9/11 new climate fostering Islamic terrorism, then, I suppose, the war would not have been justified.

Does this help to clarify things for you?

Posted by: MichaelK at September 12, 2003 at 01:07 PM

Well, many years ago I was a graduate history student at the University of Minnesota, and attended a lecture by a woman who had grown up in Italy in the nineteen twenties and thirties.

She assured us--and I've seen this elsewhere--that under Mussolini train schedules were regarded as works of fiction.

Upon examination most of the claims that various brutal dictatorships accomplished something fail. Medical care in Cuba, except for foreigners and the well-connected, apparently isn't all that great, for example.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at September 12, 2003 at 01:07 PM

I understand that the Iraqi Olympic team has also lost state support, specifically the support offered by Uday Hussein torturing athletes who displeased him.

Will the deprivation never cease?

Posted by: Alan Anderson at September 12, 2003 at 01:08 PM


No one is (nor should be) selective about suffering - except the ABC via its hypocritical and biassed reporting.

As for the war, Saddam clearly should have been removed years earlier. The US/UN chose not to do so then; and would have suffered world opprobrium had they decided otherwise.

Hindsight makes experts of everyone.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 12, 2003 at 01:12 PM

Selectivity and bias is not limited in any way to the ABC. Just scan the comments listed above. Pot and kettle in my book.

Posted by: Niall at September 12, 2003 at 01:37 PM

24601 (how French a name),

CNN doesn't care about the Iraqi children, they're just trying to paint the coalition in a bad light.

Posted by: Andjam at September 12, 2003 at 01:38 PM

What's the problem with reporting this? It's factual, and it leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions.

The only coherent explanation for the way Tim responds to these things is that he believes that the media should not report any news about Iraq unless it is completely positive.

Posted by: Mork at September 12, 2003 at 01:43 PM

On the contrary, much media have not reported any news about Iraq unless it is completely negative.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 12, 2003 at 01:53 PM

Remember folks, the only health problems in Iraq were caused by Amerikkka: DU, sanctions, bombing, all that sort of shit. Without America, Iraq would be as healthy as a hypochondriac's convention.

/end sarcasm

Remember the Leftie Golden Rule: Repression is fine, unless America is remotely involved.

Posted by: Bob Postlethwaite-Humprey-Jones at September 12, 2003 at 01:56 PM

And other thing.

Talking of selectivity in sympathy for suffering in the ME, there has been more than enough suffering on both sides.

The next thing that absolutely has to happen in the Mid-East is that Arafat has to go. Now.

Stop poking about going after Hamas leaders - how the hell many do they have - and go straight to the top.

Arafat's death won't solve the whole problem, but it will be a giant leap forward.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 12, 2003 at 01:59 PM

Whoops ignore that last, my mistake.

Gadfly, one good thing about posting is you say what you like, as you have. Now let the others have their fun and stop trying to direct like some tight-arse wanker. The string will go where it will regardless of you whinny input. If others think it's worth commenting on they will, if not then so be it.

You point has some merit but no-one seems interested so get over it.

Posted by: Jake D at September 12, 2003 at 02:24 PM

Dammit! Wrong string altogether, ignore last.

Posted by: Jake D at September 12, 2003 at 02:34 PM

...or yes. The double negative in your question has me confused.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at September 12, 2003 at 03:29 PM

Niall complains that we are all guilty of bias, so we are no different to the ABC.

This misses the point: we are all allowed to be 'biased'. That really only means we hold opinions; I think the war was justified, I think John Howard is a good PM, I think Yasser Araft is less than helpful. Again, these are called opinions, and we are entitled to hold them, and to express them.

The ABC on the other hand is taxpayer-funded by all of us, and so is not entitled to be one-sided in its analysis and commentary. Even if private sector media outlets were biased, then the ABC would still not be entitled to hold a bias in the other direction.

There is little point in arguing that such ABC leftward bias exists; even they seem to have given up denying it.

The one key thing which highlights this bias to me is the fact that no-one in the ABC diasgrees with anyone else in the ABC. In a place where they fancy themselves as being a great place to debate ideas, none of them actually disagree with each other. You never hear one ABC-head criticising the views of another, even when there are ABC commentators out there expressing quite radical opinions (all to the left of course).

Why don't they disagree? Because they all believe the same things.....

Posted by: MichaelK at September 12, 2003 at 03:44 PM

The Gina Wilkinson interview on the ABC,s "World's Today" program was possibly accurate is saying the number of children "on the street' in Baghdad has increased from 300 to 1000.
It's quite understandable. But, like all the media, there was no balancing statement such as " the number of children on the street in Australia was 70'000 in 1989 according to the Burdekin report".
The national broadcaster repeatably justifies it's existance (by way of taxpayer funds) as being the sole means of responsible reporting to the Australian people.
It is long overdue for the ABC to begin responsible reporting.

To Jake D. (read back 4 postings) I'm pleased you are having FUN--- why do'nt you stop clogging up this site in doing so & just go back to having FUN with your Gameboy ?


Posted by: Gadfly at September 12, 2003 at 04:06 PM

the ABC never disagree with one another, except when they do.

try googling "stephen crittenden" and "religion report" for the very public case of last two weeks.

the ABC is actually a massive company employing a wide variety of people with a wide variety of points of view.

which doesn't particularly suit this thread's thrust.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at September 12, 2003 at 04:48 PM

The ABC's news marches to the beat of its Left drum.

In perfect lockstep.

This is not made untrue by individuals having disagreements.

Stephen Crittenden was sacked for not following some one-think party line.

Then reinstated because, well, he had to be.

Bottom line again, taxpayer-funded ABC spins our news to its left-wing agenda.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 12, 2003 at 04:59 PM

How long will it take for you nutsacks to get the picture? Iraq is in smoking ruins -- YOU'VE WON!!! YOU'VE WON!!!

For the rest of you, how about giving the ABC whinge a rest? Not content to have been completely choking the agenda in this country for the last 7 years, you also feel the need to hamstring the ONE voice in the crowd that is not cheering on the conservative cause! You don't like it? GO WATCH RAY MARTIN YOU BABIES!!

Posted by: Adam at September 12, 2003 at 05:34 PM

Come on Adam, you may have been bored mindless by our whinging but you have not made the effort to really hear what we're saying:

Of course people who want news & current affairs reported through wet arse seventies left agenda are entitled to get it. Just like those people who like Ray Martin get what they want. Maybe there is a business opportunity there. I don't know or care. I just don't wanna pay for the crap I'm getting from ABC. Not 8 cents a day, not one cent a day.

May the many people in Australia who find ABC News& Current Affairs, and Arts Programming edifying, pay for it and enjoy it in good health.

Posted by: James Hamilton at September 12, 2003 at 05:59 PM

Alright, I'll cut yers all a deal. I'll pay for "my" ABC, you pay for your own wars on third-world sand pits.

See what I'm sayin'? We all pay for shit we don't want! Get over it!

Posted by: Adam at September 12, 2003 at 06:49 PM

Hey! We just sold the ABC to finance getting rid of Saddam!

Adam, you got yourself a deal!

Posted by: pooh at September 12, 2003 at 07:05 PM

Are Gadfly and Big Hawk related at all?

Certain stench of monomania is the reason I ask.

Well, that and poor spelling and worse grammar.

Posted by: Fork at September 12, 2003 at 07:07 PM

I am aware that we have to pay for things we don't like. I even agree we should pay for things that directly benefit certain small segments of society, the Australia Opera, various symphony orchestras (see I'm really quite pro the poor down-trodden chardonayist at the end of the day)

If I thought the ABC was anything other than a disgracefully distorting dishonest tinpot insitution I would support that as well.

I'm not even nearly over it, though I will shut up about it, for now.

Posted by: James Hamilton at September 12, 2003 at 07:31 PM

Isn't it about beer o'clock?

Posted by: Fork at September 12, 2003 at 07:40 PM


Sure, there are things that would have made this invasion wrong.

For example, when it turns out that Saddam destroyed his WMD back in '92, and handed over videotape, records, etc., documenting this fact, except that the US-UK-UN all suppressed it, then I'd have to consider this a pretty bad war.

Or when it turns out that Saddam had, in fact, given himself up to UN authorities, resigning from government, and planning on going into exile, except that the Coalition aircraft bombed his private jet, preventing him from actually leaving, and then used that as a pretext for war, I'd say that this was a pretty bad war.

However, back in this universe, these are unlikely to have occurred.

Posted by: Dean at September 13, 2003 at 01:39 AM

According to the trustworthy intelligence agencies that provided the "case" for war, we've all got plenty more suffering ahead of us, and not just the children of Iraq.

The UK's Intelligence and Security Committee's February report, released yesterday, states -

"The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq".

and that -

"The JIC assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk of
chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida." (p.34 ibid)

Thank you Mr Bush, Blair and Howard, that makes me feel much safer.

ISC Report download page

Posted by: Analogue Voter at September 13, 2003 at 07:06 AM

I'm surprised there are any children left. I thought we had killed them all with sanctions.

Posted by: charles austin at September 13, 2003 at 07:26 AM

I see that "the log" has returned, the anal-log voter that is. However, when he returns he spouts such foolish tales. Come on Mr. Log who is going to believe that Iraq had chemical or biological agents? Everyone who reads this blog knows that Iraq never had those weapons. Bush made up the whole story so that he could discredit Scott Ritter and move in on Mr. Ritters 13 year-old girlfriend. Don't insult my intelligence with your trumpeting of the "sexed-up" claims of Tony Blair, the right-wing death beast. We all know that Howard wanted to invade Iraq because he loves to kill brown people, and because he wanted to re-invigorate Australia's hegemonic tendencies throughout the world. Biological weapons in Iraq, that is ridiculous!

Posted by: Jon Black at September 13, 2003 at 12:24 PM

"...smoking ruins"?

Posted by: jeanne a e devoto at September 13, 2003 at 03:16 PM

>Everyone who reads this blog knows that Iraq never had those weapons.

It's truly amazing how the lefties can hold two contradictory thoughts at once, isn't it? Iraq had no WMD; the liberation of Iraq means those WMD were given to terrorists.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 13, 2003 at 06:40 PM

... And that the WMDs were supplied by the west.

Posted by: Andjam at September 13, 2003 at 10:57 PM

And that the US armed Saddam with Mirages and AK-47s.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 14, 2003 at 12:53 AM

Not that it changes much, but the alleged "children's prison" turned out to be an orphanage. Maybe.

Posted by: thesaintlyalangreenspan at September 14, 2003 at 04:53 PM