Friday, November 05, 2010

Lazarus dissembling

Does anyone understand what this man is talking about? Former PM John Howard, on the book-selling trail now, featured on Counterpoint delivering a marketing talk to an audience organised by Quadrant magazine so he could be assured there'd be none of the nasty shoe-throwing brigade but only The Faithful (many of whom he seems to know on a first name basis).

In discussing the reasons his government was reelected in 2001, he states this was not because of the MV Tampa or the World Trade Center attack:

The truth is that the government had recovered its political fortunes by the time of the Astin by-election held on Bastille Day in 2001 and then also for those who follow political programmes as fanatics the night before the inaugural programme of Insiders on the ABC. I remember it very well because I'd gone to watch the Wallabies the night before um, ah, defeat the er, the er, British Lions in the last test and retain whatever trophy ah, ah, was then available in relation to that and was very hoarse and could hardly reply to Barry Cassidy but I was feeling very happy because we'd won the Astin by-election.

So that's all clear, then?

Answering questions from the audience, he clarifies those pesky Weapons of Mass Destruction that Saddam Hussein had. There were, apparently, two possibilities. Either the WMDs would be found (which would be clear evidence that Saddam possessed them) or they would not (which would be clear evidence that Saddam had possessed them but had hidden them).

The truth about people's attitudes in 2003 on the eve of the operation is that there was really no argument amongst most people that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction. My successor as prime minister, Kevin Rudd, told a meeting of the Zionist Council in Victoria that it was an empirical fact that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

I detail in the book a meeting I had with the then head of MI6 at the High Commissioner's residence in London late in February of 2003 in which I was shown some of the most compelling intelligence material imaginable. And the detail I've got in the book is I cleared its use with the person in question, Sir Richard Dearlove, who is now the master of Pembroke College at Cambridge University, and the truth is that there was widespread material strongly suggesting Iraq did have weapons. There is a view that the actual weapons themselves that did exist were deliberately dismantled or taken elsewhere, and there are a number of countries that qualify as a possible destination. It was established after the military operation by the Iraq survey group that there were plenty of weapons programs.

So the argument that is now being used and was used for a long time that we somehow or other made it all up and it was all a pack of lies, it was anything but. The actual weapons themselves, stockpiles, were not found, and there are a number of explanations possibly for that, I don't know what the real truth is. But there can be no argument that there was a widespread view at the time that they certainly did exist.

As the bastion of truth and reality at the ABC, regularly exposing the lies and frauds of the Left and Science (especially Climate Science) EoR is, however, bemused at the fact that the transcript of the question and answer section has been doctored. Surely the impeccable and incorruptible hosts of that outstanding show would never stoop so low?

One questioner addresses Howard as "Prime Minister" (the one who poses "The current government by its composition has been forecast by some to have a very short-looking vision") but this is excised from the transcript. Other salutations are there in full, but only this one is missing. Is it because revealing the time warp these people live in, where John Howard is still Prime Minister, is too embarassing?

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