inquiry into greens over iraq?

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    Who was most dishonest about Iraq?


    BRAVE, Senator Bob Brown is, to call for a Senate inquiry into the "political dishonesty" of claims made about Iraq before the war.

    "It is now apparent that the claims made in the lead-up to the war" were "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated", the Greens leader huffed last week.
    You said it, Bob. And let's hope your inquiry starts by looking at "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated" claims that you and your fellow Greens may be guilty of, too.

    Brown, of course, wants this inquiry to see whether the Howard Government was misled when it warned us before the war about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- weapons we find strangely hard to find, now that Saddam Hussein has been quite rightly blasted out of power.

    But before Brown gets too excited, he should explain the far worse whoppers made by his own party as it tried to stop us from liberating Iraq from Saddam's genocidal regime.

    Let's start with Brown's warning on the ABC's Insiders program last September that "there may be hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq".

    Well, that proved false, didn't it? The true civilian death toll seems fewer than perhaps 3000. Tragic, but it's still fewer than an average month's violent deaths under Saddam. So let's have an inquiry into that bit of disgraceful scaremongering.

    At the time, Brown told me "it's not scaremongering, that's what people are saying in the streets". But we should check whether his kind of research qualifies as the kind of "political dishonesty" he condemns.

    Let's also investigate the claims promoted by his fellow Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, when she hosted the launch in Parliament House last November of a report by the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

    THIS report, treated by the media with great respect, said the war in Iraq was "likely to result in between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths", and perhaps "millions of refugees and displaced people", as well as "famine and epidemics".

    Each of those predictions has been proved utterly wrong. In fact, instead of creating millions of refugees, the war achieved the opposite -- refugees are returning to freed Iraq.

    So were these claims, endorsed by the Greens, another example of "political dishonesty"? Were they "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated"?

    Brown's inquiry should also examine a speech made by the Greens' sole member in the House of Representatives, Michael Organ, in February.

    Organ claimed this would be a war "in which 5 million residents of Baghdad face the imminent possibility of death", and "as many as 100,000 children will die" in a "veritable holocaust".

    Was this, too, "political dishonesty", involving "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated" claims?

    So, yes, let's check the claims the Government made about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Were they false, and why?

    But let's remember two things. First, this war was just. Iraqis themselves celebrated their liberation, and are now digging up tens of thousands of corpses from Saddam's killing fields.

    One of the latest mass burial sites to be found reportedly contains the bodies of perhaps 200 Kurdish children, buried with their toys. We also know Iraq has had weapons of mass destruction -- and used them.

    Second, let's remember that those who -- like Bob Brown and his Greens -- tried so hard to stop us from freeing Iraq should be the last to criticise anyone for making false claims.

    No politicians I know incited more hysteria with suspect predictions than did the Greens themselves. If they want an inquiry into "political dishonesty", let's start with them.

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