Bolt, ten years on
Since we’ve been discussing Andrew Bolt, I thought I’d dig up another of his columns from ten years ago, in which he denounces all those who criticised the lies he help to propagate. It was published in the Herald-Sun on 9 June 2003, but can now only be found via republications in Internet forums – the link they give is broken. Comment is, I think, superfluous.
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
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
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
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
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.