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
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

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.

53 thoughts on “Bolt, ten years on

  1. @Jim Rose Jim, your original statement clearly implies that the working class voted Labor because they were ignorant, and presumably stupid – while the record shows that they voted Labor because they knew where their interests lay, and the advancement of poor families into the middle class is evidence that they were right.

    You conflate education with intelligence, a common failing among the university educated – my experience is that anyone of average intelligence, equipped with a state school education, a willingness to work hard and a deep interest in their chosen field, can achieve a doctorate.

    A PhD is no substitute for native intellect.

  2. @Ron E Joggles I never said stupid. ignorance does not imply that. I am ignorant of novels because I do not read them. likewise, sport is another gap in my education. But when I was young, I was a cricket tragic, as they say.

    the working class did not know its interested because it voted for the wrong party.

    Labor did not deliver the withering away the the working class. John Q’s golden age did i.e. the menzies era. Labor was in power for 3 years between 1949 and 1983.

    I read somewhere that an IQ of 110 was required to go to university.

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