they were wrong-iraq

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    ANDREW BOLT
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    They were wrong

    14apr03

    WHEN protesters marched to stop this war of liberation, Saddam Hussein was filmed gloating to his generals.

    "They support you," he crowed.
    So where are you today, you whom Saddam reckoned among his friends?

    Where are you who waved anti-war banners that pouted: "Not In Our Name"?

    Did you see the Iraqi people kiss and hug the allied soldiers -- our soldiers -- who gave them their freedom after decades of terror?

    Now say it again, if you dare: Not In Our Name.

    Did you see our soldiers break open Saddam's torture centres and his jails for children, or see their survivors praise us, showing the livid scars left by Saddam's thugs, or the stumps where their ears had been?

    Did you see the jubilant crowds tear down the statues of the butcher who had robbed them, jailed them, shot them, gassed them and sent their sons into three disastrous wars?

    Saddam is gone, and his worst weapons will be found and destroyed. His people have lost a tyrant. Terrorists have lost a sponsor. Iraq's neighbours have lost a threat. Dictators elsewhere have lost sleep. And to all this, our anti-war protesters said: Not In Our Name.

    It is astonishing that so many Australians -- including most of the people who preach and teach -- tried so hard to stop all this from happening, by resisting the only means we had left of ending Saddam's evil.

    How is it that people priding themselves on morality in fact aided a genocidal killer, and not his victims? How is it they now watch Iraqis celebrate their liberation, and feel . . . sad?

    A quarter of a century ago, such people rejoiced in making the allied soldiers in Vietnam look like Frankensteins, both silly and sinister. With Iraq, our soldiers have had their revenge. This is the Vietnam of the Left.

    But when we say the Left got this war wrong, we must be clear that this was no innocent error of judgment. Too many wilfully let a self-indulgent loathing of capitalism, or the US or John Howard blind them to the real truths and the real evil.

    NOR can we let the myth grow that the Left always knew the war would be won easily, and was worried more by the peace.

    Not true. Below, I will recall just some of "peace" activists' predictions to show how they dreamed of a war in which millions died, and Iraqis greeted our soldiers not with kisses but bullets. Overseas, too, anti-war propagandists luridly dreamed of American honour drowning in Iraqi blood.

    These are now many of the same people sneering that Iraq has plunged into anarchy, and will forever be a sleazy "puppet state" of the US. How lovingly they linger on news of looting.

    Iraq may indeed go sour, although with effort, help and much time, it probably won't. But however Iraq turns out, we at least know it is no longer a threat. And whatever troubles it faces, they will not be greater than the horrors it has endured.

    Iraq's future we cannot tell, but one thing we do know is that most of those now preaching doom were spectacularly wrong about the war itself. Why would they be so right now?

    It is time we held them accountable. No more must they lightly skip from one disreputable cause to another -- preaching woe in the first Gulf War, disaster in Afghanistan, apocalypse in Iraq -- and always warning of the catastrophic consequences of resisting evil.

    The war in Iraq has been won well. Let's move on to the next war -- a war for our culture. A war for truth, rationality, humanity, democracy and wisdom. Let the accountability begin.

    "OUR" ABC

    ONCE more the ABC has spent a war sniping from the rear. ABC star Terry Lane even wrote in The Sunday Age: "I want the army of my country, which is engaged in an act of gross immorality, to be defeated."

    Phillip Adams gleefully wrote just two weeks before Baghdad's fall that the war brought "back memories of fiascos and failures -- from Vietnam to Somalia", and looked like ending with "a Stalingrad-style battle in the city".

    Four Corners wickedly whispered this was the work of "young neo-conservatives (who) were almost all Jews" with "tentacles in Congress, in think tanks, in newspaper offices".

    So when Baghdad fell, free at last, and a great menace was ended, the ABC was in no mood to celebrate.

    Indeed, the first item on AM on that historic day was a long piece claiming US troops had accidentally shot three civilians. The World Today then began: "Well, dawn has broken over Baghdad, welcoming day one of the new freedom, but if this is liberty, then it's far from perfect."

    SBS

    SBS did much as you'd expect from a public broadcaster whose vice-chairman, Neville Roach, asked that "journalists . . . in every article, every editorial, every report, highlight the murder and mayhem that our nation is about to release".

    LABOR

    LABOR leader Simon Crean saw Iraqis going mad with joy at being freed, and then coldly said: "We shouldn't have been involved."

    Never mind that the war has proved Labor's wildest warnings to be mere bluster. Sending our best soldiers to Iraq did not leave us defenceless against terrorists here. Hordes of Iraqis have not fled to Australia.

    Remember how Crean had seen no "evidence of such a link" between terrorists and Saddam? Allied soldiers in Iraq have since killed or caught terrorists from Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and have destroyed two terrorist camps, including one linked to al Qaida.

    Remember Carmen Lawrence predicting the death toll could reach 480,000, and our soldiers would be "complicit in mass murder"?

    Remember another Labor MP, Maria Vamvakinou, saying the toll could even reach "up to 4 million people".

    In fact, a team led by Professor Marc Herold, a Left hero with a record of exaggerating such things, calculates on its website iraqbodycount.net that fewer than 1400 civilians had been killed by the end of last week. Saddam's spokesmen thought the toll was less.

    Every death is horrible, but put this in context. In just one reprisal, Saddam's men slaughtered 30,000 civilians in Basra in 1991. His misrule killed many thousands of children each year.

    BOB BROWN

    NO one tried harder to save Saddam than Greens leader Bob Brown, a notorious scaremonger, who claimed more than 100,000 Iraqi children would die in this war. He also quoted from a leaked UN report which predicted 900,000 refugees. In fact, hardly one Iraqi refugee has fled in four weeks.

    ACADEMICS

    COUNT on most academics to be anti-American.

    La Trobe's Robert Manne said perhaps "hundreds of thousands of Iraqis" would be killed, while the Australian National University's Amin Saikal warned "Baghdad will be turned into a bloodbath".

    Arabist Andrew Vincent said the war would cause "absolute chaos, I think, in the whole of the Middle East and the Muslim world".

    What chaos? Where? Does Vincent worry that Arab dictators are now nervous?

    ACTIVIST GROUPS

    HO hum. The typical scare campaigns, all reported with reverence and awe.

    Sue Wareham, Australian head of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, said the war would kill up to 460,000 people, and millions more "if nuclear weapons are used".

    Around 300 "experts" joined the Australian Sociological Association in claiming we would be "responsible for the probable loss of 100,000 civilians".

    And 43 lawyers signed a petition claiming the war was illegal, making the rescue of Iraqis a crime.

    DEFENCE BOSSES

    CONSIDER this: We once relied on the judgment of the following men in the defence of this country.

    Yet Hugh White, a former deputy secretary of defence, has so far predicted that the US wouldn't invade Iraq, wouldn't attack later than January, wouldn't win for perhaps months, wasn't fighting "a sort of welcome liberation" and was so short of troops it wouldn't reach Baghdad until perhaps . . . today. Naturally, the ABC's 7.30 Report has him as its commentator.

    Another former defence secretary, Professor Paul Dibb, said capturing Baghdad would takes months of siege, with "cholera or typhoid" breaking out, or else "street-by-street fighting with enormous casualties".

    BAGHDAD-BASED REPORTERS

    THIS should be a warning to us. Some reporters based in Iraq felt too scared to tell the whole truth with Saddam's minders by their side, and others fell for the rhetoric of a totalitarian state.

    Peter Arnett, reporting for 3AW, even went on Saddam's TV to claim America's "first war plan has failed" and he praised Iraqis for being "responsive to the Government's requirements of discipline". We see now what Iraqis quietly felt about that "discipline".

    Channel 9's Jane Hansen filed two wide-eyed reports showing Iraqi teachers and housewives holding guns and dutifully threatening to kill allied soldiers. Scary.

    News Ltd's Ian McPhedran also predicted Baghdadis would be "entirely hostile to foreign troops".

    ARTISTS

    TYPICALLY hostile to the toppling of a socialist dictator, particularly one threatening the US.

    Author and Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis drooled that "50,000 US troops and 10,000 UK troops (would) die at the gates of Baghdad".

    Guy Rundle, co-editor of Arena magazine, said "it may be best in the long run" if "Baghdad ... resists and there is a slaughter of some duration", because that might teach the US a lesson.

    Then there are the leading columnists who said the war was going badly, Crean would come out of this a winner and the public would never back Howard's decision to join the Americans.

    They were wrong -- wrong not just in judgment, but often wrong, too, in the very cause they served.






 
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