Monday, July 6, 2009

More 'Quality' Journalism at The Australian

"Saddam Hussein was evil, but he was no genius. According to declassified FBI prison interviews with the Iraqi dictator he wanted the world to believe he was armed with weapons of mass destruction. His purpose was to intimidate Iran, which he feared more than the US... But by encouraging the US and its allies to overestimate his arsenal he designed his own destruction. These revelations end arguments the US invaded Iraq to make it an American puppet... And the way US energy companies pulled out of the bidding for petroleum concessions on offer in Iraq this week demonstrates arguments the war was all about oil were always nonsense. While the West's intelligence effort was utterly inadequate, all GW Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard are guilty of is being gulled by Saddam. He did his best to make them believe he was armed with chemical and biological weapons... [I]n invading Iraq the allies acted in good faith. Saddam wanted the world to believe he was armed and dangerous - and he succeeded." (As inept as he was evil: Saddam wanted the world to believe he was dangerous, The Australian editorial, 4/7/09)

Run that past me again: "[H]e wanted the world to believe he was armed with WMD." Did he now? What did Saddam really say in those declassified prison interviews?

"Saddam acknowledged Iraq had made a mistake in destroying some weapons without UN supervision. In Saddam's view UN inspectors wanted all their expenses... paid for by Iraq. Instead of waiting for the inspectors and bearing these expenses, Iraq commenced destruction of the weapons. Iraq did not hide these weapons. Regarding destruction of weapons, Saddam stated, 'We destroyed them. We told you, with documents. That's it.' When asked about restrictions placed on locations... Saddam replied, 'By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the United States'." (The Saddam Files: His final interviews, The Independent, 5/7/09) Nothing here about wanting the world to believe he had WMD.

Or here: "Saddam stated the development of WMD was for the defence of Iraq's sovereignty. Iraq demonstrated this with the use of WMD during the Iran-Iraq War, as Iran had threatened the sovereignty of Iraq. Yet Iraq did not use WMD during the 1991 Gulf War as its sovereignty was not threatened... Saddam claimed his position was that Iraq prior to the invasion did not have them." (ibid)

In fact, in the years leading up to the invasion of Iraq, Saddam denied having WMD. Hans Blix, head of the UN's Monitoring, Verification & Inspection Commission in Iraq (2000-2003), quotes from a letter of Saddam's (7/2/02) to the Turkish PM (cited by US Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Robert Einhorn): "As pertains to the WMD, Iraq, which no longer has any of these weapons, and has no intention of producing them, is in the forefront of those who are keen that our region be free of WMDs." (Disarming Iraq: The Search for WMD, p 60)

The Australian's editorial is quality alright - quality bullshit.


Anonymous said...

Spot on. The Australian has developed the habit of making up news to support its editorial line. Needs a new editor.

Anonymous said...

Stick to SMH, Age or AFR and you will read what you want to hear..Why get irritated by reading what the Mainstream think in the OZ ?

MERC said...

Goodness, you do have a problem, don't you? Fairfax is fringe. Murdoch is mainstream. Could I suggest perhaps?