October 07, 2004

TRUST THE SMH

At last, the proof we were waiting for:

President George W Bush and John Howard still say they were right to invade Iraq despite a report showing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

UPDATE. That typoís been fixed, but thereís no fixing Margo:

Cross ytour fingers the voters of Bennelong gewt risd of him on Saturday.

A Syndey reader in Ruddock's seat ...

The Syndey Morning Herald should gewt risd of Margo.

(Via reader Nic P.)

UPDATE II. Meanwhile, Margoís hardworking activists at Not Happy John havenít added a single new post all week -- the final week of the election campaign. Perhaps their skywriting triumph exhausted them. It was a stunning work, after all.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 7, 2004 06:32 PM
Comments

And the SMH still say they have a code of ethics despite having Margo and Lowenstein represent them.

Posted by: nic at October 7, 2004 at 06:46 PM

Already fixed, it seems.

Posted by: PW at October 7, 2004 at 06:46 PM

Those damm typos.

Posted by: Andy at October 7, 2004 at 07:08 PM

I knew I should have gotten a screen cap...

Posted by: Marty at October 7, 2004 at 07:19 PM

So 'Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction'?

That itself is the most breathtakingly dishonest piece of rhetoric published in a newspaper I can remember.

Posted by: Om at October 7, 2004 at 08:59 PM

The SMH still says it's a newspaper.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 7, 2004 at 09:39 PM

How convinced were we that any WMD were actually present in the first place? I remeber seeing a few million protesters around the world who weren't.

Posted by: winks at October 7, 2004 at 09:42 PM

So 'Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction'?

That itself is the most breathtakingly dishonest piece of rhetoric published in a newspaper I can remember.

you take my breath a-way-ay-ay etc.

so i suppose the poor son of a bitch who points out the obvious [that the iraq survey group found no chemical or biological weapons in iraq], will have that other obvious fact [that iraq did have these weapons in the early 1990s, because it used them] brought to their attention.

what remains a mystery, however, is how iraq's possession of banned weapons 10 years ago justifies invasion in response to a "grave and gathering threat".

but that won't stop anyone here.

Posted by: snuh at October 7, 2004 at 09:44 PM

Snuh: Because he was obligated to prove he didn't have them and failed to do so, Snuh, and because we know for a fact he was working to still acquire them.

But we wouldn't expect you to acknowledge that.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at October 7, 2004 at 09:51 PM

Not only was he obligated to prove that he didn't have them, he did everything he could possibly do to convince the world that he did in fact have them. Result UNSCR #1441.

In light of this, how could Bush possibly take the chance on WMD being acquired by AlQaeda? He had no choice but to go in.

The French told Saddam that even though the US was building an army against him, they could prevent the war. Saddam bet on the Fwench and blew the farm.

How convenient to pick up the story after the start of the war and ignore all that led up to it.

Posted by: EddieP at October 7, 2004 at 10:12 PM

Valiant effort guys, but people like snuh are a lost cause. He wouldn't believe it even if Saddam said, "Yes I planned to nuke Washington just as soon as I had the capability."

Posted by: Quentin George at October 7, 2004 at 11:12 PM

I remember while watching 9/11 on TV saying, 'Well now no-one's going to believe a word the CIA says ever again, if they failed to anticipate this'.

But I was wrong, CIA bureacratspeak and Foreign Policy equivocation still rules. Pathetic.

What you Americans may not know, nor younger Australians, is that Richard Butler, the greatest UN Weapons Inspector, who spent much of the late 1990's publicly pleading with the Clinton Admin to do something about Saddam's obstruction of the inspection process, is a grandaddy of the Australian Left, having served in the legendary Whitlam govt.

As recently as a few months ago, he was saying publicly, "Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, I have held them in my hands!" I read it on the 'net. Well he's eccentric, but as an Aussie I'll take his word over the CIA any day.

Meanwhile the statement "Saddam had no WMD" deliberately ignores history and is a rhetorical formula calculated to obscure the truth,

in other words, friends, it is a malicious lie.

I would like to put the journalists who write these lies into a room with Kurds, no holds bared, heh heh heh.

Posted by: Om at October 7, 2004 at 11:17 PM

"I want to be plain about this," Butler's voice heightened. "The overthrow of Sadaam Hussein was justified whether or not there was reluctance to authorize it. ... No one could say it is wrong to overthrow a homicidal maniac. The Security Council sat on its hands for 10 years."

As for not finding these weapons allegedly in Iraq, Butler said he is sure Saddam had them. He said Saddam was addicted to the deadly weapons, and whether they are still in Iraq but hidden, moved or destroyed, they did exist.

"Don't believe those who say they aren't there just because we haven't found them. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," Butler told the crowd. "Iraq certainly did have weapons of mass destruction. Trust me. I held some in my own hands."

http://www.freespeech.com/archives/000982.html

Posted by: Om at October 7, 2004 at 11:23 PM

Be still my atrophied heart.SMH

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 7, 2004 at 11:36 PM

Brilliantly spotted tim.......


thats really funny, and at the same time it may even be accurate. Who knows what Saddam might have had and disposed of somehow.

I just went to look. And yes it says exactly that in the headline.

Posted by: dawn at October 8, 2004 at 12:09 AM

That's right, shoot the massauger.

Posted by: Nabakov at October 8, 2004 at 12:12 AM

Valiant effort guys, but people like snuh are a lost cause.

you're right. as against those people who continue to insist that we were justified in invading iraq, i'm obviously incapable of seeing reason.

Posted by: snuh at October 8, 2004 at 12:49 AM

Om, good post. Damn good post.

Posted by: Sheriff at October 8, 2004 at 12:51 AM

Somebody get a screen capture of this before it gets taken down: the Spencer Street Soviet is endorsing John Howard.

Posted by: George at October 8, 2004 at 12:56 AM

Snuh: Because he was obligated to prove he didn't have them and failed to do so, Snuh, and because we know for a fact he was working to still acquire them.

But we wouldn't expect you to acknowledge that.

actually, i mostly agree. saddam did not fully comply with the relevant UN security council resolutions [most notably UNSC 687].

but this does not justify an invasion. the method of enforcing these security council resolutions was inspections. the punishment for breach was sanctions.

the iraq survey group has now shown that these strategies worked.

Posted by: snuh at October 8, 2004 at 12:58 AM

George,

According to Crikey (Via Rob Corr at Chicken Scream) the Age was forced to back Howard by its evil overlords in ... Syndey.

Posted by: tim at October 8, 2004 at 01:03 AM

Tim, if you were ever going to meticulously scan a post for typos, this would have been the one. You need a period after "campaign" in your second update.
Don't take the wind out of your own sails! Or something.

Posted by: Joe Geoghegan at October 8, 2004 at 01:13 AM

Snuh--

Except that the Iraq Survey Group report also has shown that banned material was entering Iraq and that the sanctions themselves were being subverted, especially with use of money ripped off from the "Oil-for-Food" plan. The sanctions were rapidly becoming useless and ineffective. Saddam had weapons programs ready to restart when he could. Pressure was building on the Security Council to lift the sanctions. (Not least because then oil contracts could be exploited.)

The "punishment" you cite was somewhat effective, but being subverted. What then? Invasion was and is a clear punishment for failing to live by the terms of peace treaties, which Saddam was doing.

Apparently the acceptable margin for error when invading is very slight. Intentions and dormant programs, together with subverting the sanctions, are apparently not enough. But invading once weapons have been developed is close to insane, and certainly out of the question. (See the DPRK.)

(All of this of course also ignores the ruinous effects of the sanctions on the people of Iraq themselves, along with the effects on them of leaving Saddam in power.)

Posted by: John Thacker at October 8, 2004 at 01:17 AM

It was there all along, Joe! Maybe a speck of dust, perfectly conforming to the size and profile of the period, had fallen on your monitor and was obscuring it.

Yes. Yes, I'm sure that's what happened ...

Posted by: tim at October 8, 2004 at 01:18 AM

Snuh--

Also, of course, you can consider that the report rather conclusively shows that Saddam convinced most of his own military commanders, and others, that he did have such weapons. He found the belief that he had weapons to be extremely useful in bolstering his own support and warding off threats, internal and external. Naturally, this does make intelligence gathering harder.

Posted by: John Thacker at October 8, 2004 at 01:22 AM

From Webdiary's comments:

If John Howard wins this election (despite the encouragement from the readers of this newspaper), will the readers of this diary accept that this was the will of the Australian people?

The reason I say this is that there has been dialogue amongst the readers of this diary that Mark Lathom should win this election becuase of this and that. However, your readers do not represent the majority of average Australians.

[...]

So if the Coalition win, could you please accept that this was the will of the Australian people and accept defeat gracefully?

[...]

: Margo: I will accept the result. Of course I will. I'll cry for a while, though, at the final rejection of my idea of what Australia stands for and what being an Australian means. The fair go and all that. Times have moved on, I guess. I'm just another old codger. Whatever happens I'm taking a month off!

Good. That'll give the dozen or so editors assigned to Kingston's work a much-needed break. As it stands, they must be working day and night just to make her readable, and they're still letting some flubs slip by.

Posted by: david at October 8, 2004 at 01:39 AM

Aha! Speck of dust located and removed. What do you know, it was also obscuring a period in my legal brief, in such a way that the meaning of what I wrote was completely reversed. You've saved my case, my job, my client, and possibly the American economy. God bless Australia!

Posted by: Joe Geoghegan at October 8, 2004 at 01:40 AM

So there are no WMD. Good. That means, if they don't exist, that they are not now in the hands of some smelly longbeard or the Syrian dictator, ready to be trotted out at the moment of their choosing.

Far more relevant, in my view, are the hundreds of mass graves, the torture chambers, the prisons for children, the plastic/human shredders, and the hundreds of thousands dead at the hands of Saddam Hussein and his army of thugs. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be a viable argument for selling the public (and still doesn't to a certain sector --- SEE SNUH).

Posted by: Rebecca at October 8, 2004 at 01:40 AM

But, now to the really important stuff: How is the Squeegieman's campaign doing?

Posted by: julie at October 8, 2004 at 01:55 AM

"A Syndey reader in Ruddock's seat ..."

That invokes some unpleasant images.

Posted by: Arty at October 8, 2004 at 02:30 AM

No, no, don't get rid of her. She's like a wonder of nature, as in, I read her and wonder "How does she remember to breathe?"

Posted by: Mikey at October 8, 2004 at 04:07 AM

"A Syndey reader in Ruddock's seat ..."

That invokes some unpleasant images.

Posted by: Arty at October 8, 2004 at 07:16 AM

Except that the Iraq Survey Group report also has shown that banned material was entering Iraq and that the sanctions themselves were being subverted, especially with use of money ripped off from the "Oil-for-Food" plan. The sanctions were rapidly becoming useless and ineffective. Saddam had weapons programs ready to restart when he could. Pressure was building on the Security Council to lift the sanctions.

as i recall, in the months leading up to the war, there were these awesome dudes in iraq called "inspectors", who, as it turns out, were doing a great job under difficult conditions in searching for banned weapons. but for some reason you choose not to mention them.

you can say what you like about corruption in the UN oil for food program, or other sanctions subversion, but none of it makes the case for urgent military action in march 2003, when inspectors were already in iraq.

But invading once weapons have been developed is close to insane, and certainly out of the question. (See the DPRK.)

this argument only follows if saddam had nuclear weapons, or there was evidence to suggest that he was close to (say 6 months away from) developping them. as i recall, no such evidence was ever led, and more to the point, the iraq survey group concluded saddam was years away from developping an atomic bomb, even in the event the sanctions were lifted. the north korea example is irrelevant.

the u.s. [and most of the rest of the world] went to war with saddam once before when he had chemical and biological weapons, and i don't recall anyone saying that this was insane.

Posted by: snuh at October 8, 2004 at 10:14 AM

Your recollection is pure fantasy.

Hans Blix could not even offer a consistent explanation in public of what he was doing.

One day he was 'tough on Saddam', the next he was offering to capitulate.

Richard Butler had already done the difficult work. Blix was just a self-promoter taking us all for a ride.

Posted by: Om at October 8, 2004 at 11:32 AM

Anyway, guess what?

We can read the Duelfer report for ourselves and cut out the journo-spindoctor middlemen.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html

Posted by: Om at October 8, 2004 at 12:51 PM

Glad to see you are here to protect us from typos, Tim.

I usually enjoy your Media Watch Lite, but it is strange that all you have to say about the demolishing of the rationale for war in Iraq is (in essence) "oh look, they can't type properly".

Posted by: fatfingers at October 8, 2004 at 02:41 PM

fatfingers, have you any evidence that Saddam fully complied with all relevant UNSC resolutions?

Nope.

Posted by: Sheriff at October 8, 2004 at 03:41 PM

Dear snuh,

"the method of enforcing these security council resolutions was inspections. the punishment for breach was sanctions."

Yes, and the only reason inspectors were allowed back in was because thirty odd thousand US troops were sitting on his door step. Adn he still obstructed.

Further, in case you hadn't noticed, we'd tried the sanctions bit for, oh ten years, and your lot couldn't stop shrieking how cruel we were for doing it. Remember? That was in the process of falling apart. One of the reasons the US felt forced to act.

"the iraq survey group has now shown that these strategies worked."

And they're only there because the US invaded.

Posted by: Ub Xardox at October 8, 2004 at 03:59 PM