wmd: i spy with my little lie.

  1. 280 Posts.

    Something beginning with "C" - cobblers. A whole load of. Government backbenchers have been worrying about the weapons of mass destruction issue for weeks now. Yesterday was not good for them.

    As for the Prime Minister, well, after kids-in-the-watergate, John Howard and his Government have form - bad form - on "who knew what when issues". Kevin Rudd adopted exactly the right strategy when he said yesterday: "We saw Mr Howard's performance on the question of children overboard, or truth overboard. Are we seeing a repeat of the same thing now? As far as the Iraq war is concerned, Mr Howard has some very big questions to answer."

    Public service rule number one is cover your backside. That means never, ever give your minister incorrect information - or correct it as soon as possible.

    It simply defies credibility for the Prime Minister to say he did not know that ONA had doubts about the African uranium to Iraq claims. With the nation about to go to war - and, fellow cynics, cash being splashed on security - ONA would not do a thing that might damage its standing in the eyes of the Government and its leader.

    John Howard's comment that the issue itself "was not a key element either in the security assessments made by our agencies or in any way the Government's decision to make a military commitment to Iraq" may well be true. No-one, however, can expect to believe that if ONA knew it had provided the Government with incorrect information, then it had not been corrected.

    The PM says he has "been told by ONA that the reference to the State Department doubts is about one sentence in an annex to an 86 page document". So it got missed. Whoops, sorry? Er... no. Even if - big if - it's true, it's a worry for the Government. It's not an excuse.

    If it is true, then it means that either ONA, other spooks, DFAT or Howard's or the Foreign or the Defence Ministers' own offices - or the lot of them - aren't up to the job. It means they're unable to properly carry out the fundamental task of intelligence - panning through sludge and slurry to find the specks of gold they're there to discover. It means that for all its talk - and all the money it's spending and all the clamping down on civil liberties it's indulging in - the Howard Government is not delivering on national security.

    Howard's claims also beg the question that if he didn't know, just what exactly do Dubya and Powell and Rummy and Tony - and all their staff and all their agencies - tell him and Alexander and Hilly and all their staff and all their agencies? Do they just offer a few pleasantries? Don't they trust us with the details?

    The Prime Minister is either telling a lie, or our security services, our bureaucracy and his Government have failed on security issues, or our allies keep us in the dark.

    Oh yes. It also, presumably, means that none of them can read. That veteran troublemaker, Seymour Hersh, was writing in the New Yorker back in March that the African uranium claims were a load of b*llocks. Have a look at http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030331fa_fact1

    cut n paste.
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