Antony Loewenstein writes the Engineering Consent column on the workings of the media.
“The promise that democracy would spread from a liberated Iraq, for example, was as poorly scrutinised [by the media] as the notion advanced by the administration that the Geneva conventions did not apply to the war on terror.” Moises Naim, The Financial Times, June 1, 2004
“Never underestimate the power of ideology and myth – in this case anti-Americanism – to trump reality. But at least we now know for sure it is not love, but being a left-wing intellectual, that means never having to say you’re sorry.” The Australian, 12 April 2004
The New York Times released an unprecedented statement on May 26. Though buried on page A10, the paper announced that in the run-up to the Iraq war, “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.” This was the understatement of the year, even from a paper as prone to making grand statements of unsubstantiated fact regarding Iraq’s WMD and links to Islamic terrorism.
My earlier report, The New York Times‘ role in promoting war in Iraq, outlined the ways in which its star reporter, Judith Miller, produced numerous page one stories painting a doomsday prediction of Saddam’s biological, chemical and nuclear arsenal. Frequently written without caveats or even mild qualifications, it has since emerged that the vast majority of her scoops were gleaned from Ahmad Chalabi, recently described by, of all people, L. Marc Zell, former law partner of Douglas Feith, current Undersecretary of Defence, as “a treacherous, spineless turncoat.”
Chalabi was also feted and supported financially by many of the neo-conservative ideologues in Washington’s power-elite such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz. Since the early 1990s, Chalabi’s INC (Iraqi National Congress) gathered friends, confidantes and generous benefactors to support the overthrow of Saddam’s regime. Problem is, Chalabi is now under suspicion of sharing American secrets with the Iranian theocracy and hoodwinking, on a scale virtually unprecedented, many of the main players behind the Bush administration’s push towards the illegal Iraqi invasion.
The role of The Australian newspaper in pushing the war agenda was essential. Like every other Murdoch newspaper around the world, dutifully pushing their master’s wishes, the mogul said in early 2003: “We can’t back down now, where you hand over the whole of the Middle East to Saddam…. I think Bush is acting very morally, very correctly, and I think he is going to go on with it.” Putting to one side the factual inaccuracy of his statement (Saddam has held little strategic influence over the Middle East for at least a decade), Murdoch’s pro-war and pro-business agenda was mirrored in The Australian‘s coverage. Apart from bullying and foreboding editorials regarding Iraq’s supposed WMD, Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan deserves special mention for hyping up Iraq’s supposed threat. No other Australian journalist produced more fawning attention to the claims churned out by Bush, Blair and Howard, though stable-mate Paul Kelly was also competitive. Virtually all of his claims have subsequently been proven false and yet no apology has been forthcoming. Likewise from the paper’s editorial staff. This kind of short-term memory loss journalism is undermining the public’s trust in the media’s ability to report accurately and transparently. This behaviour should not be considered responsible reporting – it is nothing more than lies and arrogance dressed up in sanctimonious chest beating.
The Times May 26 statement made no mention of Judith Miller. Indeed, the paper congratulated itself first (“we found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of”) before discussing past mistakes. Focusing on journalist’s reliance on Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles committed on “regime change”, the publication admitted it had frequently run claims as fact. “Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources”, the Times wrote. “Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.”
One of the more incendiary claims before the war was Iraq’s supposed use of aluminium tubing for the manufacture of nuclear weapons fuel. The Times reported these accusations as close to fact in late 2002, while in reality the evidence was far less convincing. The paper’s mea culpa accepted that they should have been vigilant in reporting the use of the tubes. “Five days later [after September 8, 2002], the Times reporters learned that the tubes were in fact a subject of debate among intelligence agencies. The misgivings appeared deep in an article on Page A13, under a headline that gave no inkling that we were revising our earlier view (‘White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned Weapons’)”. Once again, government voices were given prominence over the more sceptical view. It was a sin committed time and time again from late 2001 to mid 2003 in relation to WMD.
On April 21, 2003, while embedded with the 101st Airborne Division, south of Baghdad, Miller reported an Iraqi scientist who claimed that Saddam had destroyed chemical and biological weapons only days before the war had begun. It was yet another Miller “exclusive” and faithfully placed prominently. No weapons were ever found and amazingly, in an act of faith the Times must surely be regretting, she accepted the military’s rules of engagement: “this reporter was not permitted to interview the scientist or visit his home. Nor was she permitted to write about the discovery of the scientist for three days, and the copy was then submitted for a check by military officials.” Hardly fearless reporting by the world’s supposedly finest publication.
A few days before the Times printed its mea culpa, a memo was sent to staff explaining the rationale. Executive Editor Bill Keller and Managing Editor Jill Abramson claimed the note was “not an attempt to find a scapegoat or to blame reporters for not knowing then what we know now. Nor is it intended to signal that you should pull your punches. Quite the contrary. As you have probably noticed in, for example, our coverage of the prisoner abuse story, we prize hard-won, hard-hitting stories … For those of you who are wondering about the next chapter of this ordeal, the next chapter is, we keep reporting.”
After publication of the note, more than 300 newspapers in the US, and countless around the world, were faced with the task of reviewing their own methods. On May 27, The Sydney Morning Herald published a piece from The Washington Post and attached an acknowledgement that the paper had published “three of the problematic stories.” There was no follow-up or investigation of the unprecedented Times move. Alarmingly, the only Fairfax publication to seriously address this scandal was The Financial Review. (On May 28, Tony Walker examined the fall-out of the editor’s note and quoted Slate columnist Jack Shafer: “The true test of the Times is on the horizon: having promised to set the record straight on the Iraq WMD story, what sort of journalism will the newspaper commit?”)
In the US, many papers printed elements of the Times apology. The most telling response, however, came from Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. His paper ran the editor’s note on page two but questioned the Times alerting his paper at 10pm the night before. “A correction ought not to be one of those things you have to deal with as breaking news”, Clifton said. “They knew about this for a while. It is sort of bothersome that they did not put any advisories out.” It can be persuasively argued that The New York Times wasn’t too keen on making its wide readership aware of past transgressions.
Other editors across America raised the more fundamental questions over the editor’s note, from the use of unnamed sources to editorial controls over content. Clifton compared the event with the Jayson Blair scandal, though arguing, “it’s worse because it speaks to the essence of the reporting and editing process. That is worse than one guy screwing around and playing fast and loose.”
If there was ever doubt over Times support for Judith Miller, her by-line reappeared in early June. The story examined the role of the UN in the oil-for-food program. Astoundingly, Chalabi featured – proudly defended by an Iraqi National Congress official. Greg Mitchell from Editor & Publisher wrote on June 2 that “nowhere in the story is there any relevance to Chalabi’s track record with Miller or the Times, or its stunning downfall last week. More irony: the Miller story (co-written by Warren Hoge) appeared on the same day the Times, on its front page, strongly suggested that Chalabi had passed vital US secrets to the Iranians. Yet more irony: right next to the new Miller story was a lengthy article titled, ‘Powell Presses CIA on Faulty Intelligence on Iraq Arms.’ You can’t make this stuff up. (Well, come to think of it, maybe you can.)”
The establishment last December of the Times Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, was a welcome sign of further accountability. On May 30, Okrent went further than the editor’s note and more fully explained the ways in which the newspaper printed numerous false stories on Iraq’s WMD. Though beginning with the clear statement of “I think they got it right. Mostly”, he soon admits fundamental flaws in the paper’s editorial guidelines. After speaking to numerous reporters and editors related to the WMD story, he is convinced that “a dysfunctional system enabled some reporters operating out of Washington and Baghdad to work outside the lines of customary bureau management. In some instances, reporters who raised substantive questions about certain stories were not heeded. Worse, some with substantial knowledge of the subject at hand seem not to have been given the chance to express reservations.”
It is a strong statement and admirable. It is certainly the most transparent admission of any newspaper on this matter. The fact that it doesn’t go nearly far enough is also relevant and the fact that the note is only online and unlikely to be read by vast amounts of people is equally worrying. It’s an encouraging start, however, and will hopefully lead to deeper examination of how one of the world’s major papers became the Bush administration’s ideal conduit for outrageous, dishonest and false accusations. Strong supporters of media accountability should be supporting similar institutions here. Perhaps The Sydney Morning Herald is having similar thoughts.
Michael Massing commented in The New York Review of Books on June 24 that the Times mea culpa was a welcome sign but “for months, the Times has seemed slow to recognise important news developments out of Iraq and to give them the attention they deserve. Aside from the Abu Ghraib scandal, which has largely taken over the Times coverage, the paper has seemed intent on keeping bad news off the front page.” Furthermore, Massing offers advice for a Western media increasingly behind in its coverage and scope:
“If US news organizations truly wanted to get inside events in Iraq, there’s a clear step they could take: incorporating more reporting and footage from international news organizations. Al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and other Arabic-language TV stations have a wide presence on the ground. European outlets like the BBC, the Guardian and Le Monde have Arabic-speaking correspondents with close knowledge of the Middle East…. It’s remarkable how little reporting from these organizations makes it way into American news accounts.”
So what of the Times international reputation? The Guardian on May 29 was scathing. Aside from chiding editorial and Judith Miller herself for blindness towards the deceit Chalabi, journalist James Moore uncovered some rudimentary facts about Miller’s political background and allegiances:
“The Middle East Forum, an organisation that openly advocated that the US overthrow Saddam, listed Miller as an expert speaker on its website and held a launch party for her book. She was represented by Benador Associates, a speakers’ bureau that specialises in conservative thinkers with Middle East expertise. I asked Miller if she supported Bush politically. ‘My views are well known,’ she replied. ‘I understood that these people who hated us so much … that if they ever got their hands on WMD, they would use them. Do I have a belief that the WMD exist, and a fear? Yeah, I have real fear for my country.’
Nobody wanted a war against Iraq more than Ahmad Chalabi, and the biggest paper in the US gave it to him almost as willingly as the White House did.”
(One of the most detailed and devastating examinations of Miller’s background, experience and personal allegiances is by Franklin Foer of June’s New York Metro.
A strong condemnation of the Times came from US-based progressive website, Buzzflash. Demanding nothing less than regime change at the newspaper (due in no small part to its lack of personnel changes), the editorial chastises the myths around which the paper operates:
“Make no mistake about it; the NYT tries to continue to appear to be a liberal newspaper in its news coverage. It tends to take a secular perspective on choice, race, and gender issues, for instance. But being ‘modern’ and ‘urban’ has not precluded the NYT from being, in general, insidiously pro-Republican and anti-Democratic Party in its presidential news coverage, whatever specific exceptions it can offer to the contrary.”
Furthermore, it argued that the “gray lady” needs journalists and editors who would “re-institute the tradition of investigative reporting that uncovers the wrongs done by political figures that violate the public trust. It needs regime change to meet White House pronouncements with skepticism, instead of plastering them on the front page with several column headlines.” Much of their suggestions equally apply to Australia’s broadsheets. Despite an ever-increasing quotient of lies emanating from John Howard’s ministers, it continues printing Government statements as fact, until proven otherwise. Reactive, not proactive journalism is the death of accountable media. When was the last night a mainstream newspaper clearly and confidently accused a major public figure of lying and then stuck with the story for weeks, keeping the pressure on daily? As famed journalist Phillip Knightley recently said: “There are a lot of stories in Australia which start with a big bang, then exposure, then inequity. Newspapers lose interest. I think readers care. You can make the readers care.”
Buzzflash puts it best: “May the [Times] return to its role, in its new section, as a voice for democracy, the engagement of public political debate, uncoverer of corruption, investigative journalism and seeker of truth and justice…. Judith Miller should go, but so should all the individuals responsible for a ‘corporate culture’ at The New York Times that has failed democracy.”
Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch, a long-time critic of the Times, argued on May 28 that the paper’s mea culpa was nothing more than an avoidance of the real issues. His argument goes to the heart of the journalistic profession:
“This brings us to the now popular scapegoat for the fictions about WMDs, touted by Timeseditors, by other reporters and by US intelligence agencies. It was all the fault of the smooth-tongued Ahmed Chalabi, now fallen from grace and stigmatized as a cat’s-paw of Iranian intelligence. But was there ever a moment when Chalabi’s motives and the defectors he efficiently mass-produced should not have been questioned by experienced reporters, editors and intelligence analysts?”
Cockburn articulates a necessary malaise within mainstream journalism. Noam Chomsky calls itManufacturing Consent. He writes that the mass media “serves to mobilize support for the special interests that dominate the state and private activity and that their choices, emphases, and omissions can often be understood best, and sometimes with striking clarity and insight, by analyzing them in such terms. Perhaps this is an obvious point, but the democratic postulate is that the media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and that they do not merely reflect the world as powerful groups wish to perceive it.” The New York Times is exactly the kind of newspaper Chomsky argues is incapable of seeing its inherent biases and slavish love of power. The newspaper’s virtually unqualified reporting of Bush administration lies over Iraq is ample evidence of this thesis.
The Sydney Morning Herald editorialised on 19 March 2003 that Australia should not enter the impending Iraq conflict. “It should not have come to this”, it stated. “The international community should not have failed to disarm Iraq peacefully. The United Nations Security Council should not have failed so spectacularly (ed: blindly authorising American demands and militarism?). The United States and Britain should not have been left to go it alone (ed: to invade a country illegally and with no weapons threatening the region or the world?) And when the moment of truth arrived, Australia should not have been so deeply committed to a course set by the US and Britain that it had no choice. We could only confirm the already promised support and are now in a deeply regrettable war.” The best that can be said for its stand was the call for calm – and no war.
By November 4, the Herald expressed its concerns about the lack of WMD, but along with the majority of Western media, still held Bush administration claims for Iraq as believable and achievable: “The US has not wavered from its commitment to see Iraq rebuilt and power transferred to a stable democratic government”, it offered. The facts overwhelm that the US has never wanted a real democracy in the Middle East, despite the vast rhetoric, but rather a manageable dictator or strongman to control the country’s oil reserves and the continual presence of US forces. It appears inconceivable to the Herald that the US government’s aims for Iraq should be questioned. After the lies of Iraq’s non-existent WMD and links to al-Qaeda, why do Leader writers continue accepting Western governments’ comments as essentially decent and good? As Medialens (www.medialens.org) offered after the passing of Ronald Reagan on June 10:
“Thus, last year, it rapidly became understood in the media that it was wrong to continue challenging the Iraq war once the shooting had started. The invasion had become no less immoral, illegal or murderous when it was actually being fought, but we owed it to ‘our boys’ – risking life and limb in service to our country – to ‘back them’. All challenges to this argument were dismissed out of hand – the idea that we could best protest ‘our boys’ by bringing them home, for example, was considered mere sophistry.”
Once again, on March 19, the Herald continued the idea that Iraq may become a democracy in the heart of the Middle East – exactly echoing the propaganda of Bush, Blair and Howard. As the three leaders’ spin shifted from WMD and al-Qaeda to Iraqi ‘democracy’, so did the mainstream press. “One year on, the justification for the war is not the justification for starting it. Instead it is the hope that by toppling Saddam, Iraq might become a template for a new, stable Middle East.” The evidence against this is profound, from polls conducted in the region to US Army Generals toaverage Iraqis themselves. And yet newspapers still prefer to live in a reality created for them by their government “masters”.
Greg Sheridan is The Australian‘s Foreign Editor and is well versed in swallowing and propagating government spin. He is notorious as an apologist for the former Indonesian regime of Suharto, once mocking an Australian parliamentary study that revealed over 200,00 people had been killed during the dictator’s reign. His performance, and that of his Murdoch cheer-leading paper, both during the run-up to the Iraq conflict, and increasingly since, has been nothing less than a continual shifting of the goal posts of responsibility and truth.
As early at late September 2002, Sheridan was already building the case for war against Saddam. After the release of the now infamous dossier by Tony Blair’s Government, Sheridan wrote the following: “[the dossier] goes some way to nailing the preposterous idea that there is a lack of evidence that Saddam Hussein has and is pursuing weapons of mass destruction.” He soon breathlessly mentioned the absurd 45-minute claim (that Saddam could deploy chemical and biological weapons in less than one hour) and Saddam’s attempts to obtain uranium from Niger (subsequently proven false by the Bush administration itself). This dossier has since been proven untrue and yet there has been no apology or acknowledgement by Sheridan of his grievous error.
By early 2003, Sheridan was content to quote Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state and official apologist for mass murder and Third-World dictatorships. (Christopher Hitchens has been one of the most eloquent accusers against the former government chameleon.) Sheridan wrote as if he and Kissinger were best of friends (“All his discussions were off the record, including with me, so I can’t tell you exactly what he said”) and then explained the reasons that we should listen to a man who co-ordinated the overthrow of the democratally elected government of Chile in 1973 and the carpet bombing of Cambodia in the early 1970s, among a host of other war crimes. “Kissinger’s judgement”, gushed Sheridan, “that this action [to invade Iraq] is necessary and is being carried out by one of the most formidable national security teams ever assembled in Washington – is surely right.” The question remains: what does a person need to do before Sheridan deems him too corrupted by power, and is Mugabe and Milosovic next on his interview wish list?
By the middle of 2003, and with a glaring lack of WMD, Sheridan’s allies were looking shaky. On 12 July, The Australian ran a story on Page 1 claiming “soldiers have found what the US believes is proof of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program”. (Note the shift from “weapons” to “programs”.) Only by turning to Page 11 were readers illuminated by this bold claim. Sheridan had interviewed John Bolton, the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and Security. Though described as a non neo-conservative by Sheridan, Bolton was indeed one of the main players behind the rush to war. And once again, outrageously optimistic statements were made without qualification or hesitation: “The evidence that Hussein had WMD programs is so overwhelming, he [Bolton] can barely understand how it is doubted.” The world is still waiting to be stunned by Bolton’s “overwhelming” evidence.
15 December 2003 brought the first sign of major triumpantalism by Sheridan, with the capture of Saddam. His analysis, however, has proven to be spectacularly inaccurate and culturally insensitive. With statements such as these: “Axis of evil dictators should know this is the end point of the defiance of US power” and “Arab culture universally respects power and the effective disposition of force”, we are faced with an Orientalism of the most racist kind. “This must be a massive boost for George W. Bush domestically”, offered Sheridan. “Nothing succeeds like success and it will be very hard for his opponents to deny this success to Bush and his policy. All politics are temporary, but this is a great day for the good guys everywhere.” Looks like he wasn’t reading the early reports of prisoner abuse, murder and exploitation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
By early 2004, even Sheridan seemed perturbed about the lack of WMD. However, rather than seeking out the voices of intelligence figures who were critiquing Bush administration claims, he spoke to two veterans of Israeli intelligence, one of whom had actually worked with the Bush administration. Sheridan found it incomprehensible that the “Coalition of the Willing” had lied and greatly exaggerated Iraq’s threat level for political and strategic reasons. He was therefore doing his best, in regular Thursday columns, to cushion the blow for Western governments caught twisting the truth. One could not find a finer apologist for Western crimes. As Scott Burchill, lecturer in international relations at Deakin University, wrote on 1 March 2004, the WMD cheerleaders in the media “remain utterly shameless about their conduct.”
Murdoch’s Australian has been the key propaganda arm in the country. One editorial after another has trumpeted the rightness of the “Coalition’s” mission in Iraq. In late January last year, the paper was already proving its pro-Bush/Blair/Howard stance. “We are not at war, but we have signaled to the international community, and Iraq, that Australia rejects the route of appeasement. As an open democracy and a strong but not unthinking ally of the US, the difficult course we have taken provides leadership towards a peaceful world and is in the nation’s interests.” This is but one of the paper’s truly Orwellian statements – peace is war and war is peace. And nowhere does Murdoch’s mouthpiece (with a fundamental belief that war is good for business) outline where Australia has actually questioned Bush administration policy. Guantanamo Bay? Prisoner abuse accusations in Afghanistan? Government sanctioned torture at US military facilities? Only three examples the Howard Government surely knew about.
In the light of Reagan’s recent death and the mainstream media’s virtual whitewashing of his true legacy (perhaps expressed best by incendiary journalist, Greg Palast, the Australian‘s Leader on 31 January 2003 is worth repeating. After Bush’s speech to the UN, the paper said: “Far from looking stupid, Mr. Bush nowadays has an almost Reaganite ease of communication. Both the style of substance of his address gave weight to the emerging view that in some respects the Bush presidency represents ‘Reagan’s third term’, and has the potential to transform the international scene by its unambiguous adherence to ‘simplistic’ principles of freedom and decency.” As ever, the corruption, conflicts of interest and untruths displayed by our leaders are minor facts to be wished away by talking about “asserting the claims of peace and security over the threat of chaos.”
Saddam’s link to Islamist terrorism was one of the main tenets for pro-war supporters. The Bush administration constantly suggested links to al-Qaeda and 9-11 and The Australian was more than happy to shadow the accusations. “The Iraq dictator’s links with international terrorism cannot be dismissed as fantasy”, claimed the paper on 5 February. “The example an unrepentant and triumphant Hussein would set to regimes like North Korea is not an option to embrace.” The only credible evidence linking Saddam to international terrorism was his supporting and funding of Palestinian families whose child had committed suicide bombing. This kind of action can hardly be compared to the actions of al-Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiah and is no threat to the safety of the world, aside from Israel.
By the end of February, the paper issued its most aggressive stance: “The day is rapidly approaching when opponents of military action to disarm Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship will have no choice but to either put up or shut up.” Mirroring Government spin on appeasement, Murdoch’s mouthpiece hammered the themes of getting tough and freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny. Unsurprisingly, and not unlike the Herald, the Australian stressed the inherent goodness of the Howard Government, struggling with massive decisions. And once again, the thought that Howard was joining the “Coalition” for less than freedom-loving reasons was unutterable.
Underlying the Australian‘s message was the “national interest.” Arguing that 9-11 had made the policy of containment no longer relevant, Australia had to act decisively to avoid the “nightmare scenario” – terrorists with WMD. One of the more telling examples of the paper’s hazy logic and lack of rigorous journalistic ethics was this statement on 14 March:
“While Mr. Howard did not adduce direct evidence of a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq, he detailed the terrorists’ interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq’s interests in aiding and abetting terrorism. The dots are there to be joined.”
Forget about watertight evidence. Forget about conclusive proof that Iraq is an imminent threat to the safety of the world. Politicians wanting to create in the public’s mind the impression that Saddam and Osama bin Laden are one and the same thing (a dangerous misnomer) was a disturbing confusion propagated by Murdoch’s broadsheet. (This fact has now been proven false again by the 9-11 Commission.
Once the bombs starting dropping on Iraq in late March 2003 (described in March 2004 as “a model of military art and … remarkable restraint”), the paper continued pushing the imminent-threat lie parroted by Howard, Bush and Blair. “While much more formidable than Iraq, Iran and North Korea do not pose the same kind of immediate threat … At least seven nations possess nuclear weapons, and an unknown number have biological and chemical weapons: ignoring Iraq would have encouraged proliferation.” The sheer hypocrisy of these statements is astounding. First, Israel as one of the world’s greatest proliferators is never mentioned. Second, America’s record of reducing its WMD stockpile is abysmal. Indeed, the Bush administration has frequently publicly expressed its desire to resume nuclear testing. In 2001, the US refused to enforce a protocol to ban biological weapons, saying that to do so would put at risk national security and confidential business information. (The New Nuclear Danger, Dr Helen Caldicott. Scribe Publications 2002)
By early 2004, and with no WMD, no proven links to international terrorism and a country increasingly unstable, the Australian explained the absence of weapons as thus: “It is easy to see how it happened. Over the years, United Nations weapon’s inspectors had found ample evidence of WMDs in Iraq, and as war approached Saddam offered no credible case that they have been destroyed. But the burden of proof to justify invading Iraq should have been higher than this.” This final qualification is all that exists of allocating blame. When in trouble, bash the UN. No acknowledgement that Bush, Blair and Howard criminally exaggerated intelligence. And most certainly no acceptance that the newspaper had played a vital part in going along with the Great Lie. “Never having to say you’re sorry” was the paper’s patronising critique of the Left on 12 April 2004. It’s time Murdoch’s lapdogs took some of their own advice.
The Herald‘s Paul McGeough explained in late June this year that the Australian Government (and by extension, the pro-war press) is avoiding the fundamental lessons of the Iraq war. By acknowledging nothing, denying everything and stonewalling every investigation, we are all therefore complicit in a war crime of unprecedented gravity:
“Early this year we had the Howard Government backslapping itself because its inquiry had found it had been ‘more moderate and more measured’ in its use of bogus intelligence as a reason for war. Now we have yesterday’s report clearing Australian troops in Iraq of allegations that were not made. If this is the sort of society the US – and Australia – has become, then let’s be honest about it.”
– The New Yorker‘s comprehensive critique of Ahmed Chalabi’s manipulation of the West:http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040607fa-fact1
– How The Washington Post and the Times “created” Chalabi:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6245.htm
Thanks to Scott Burchill for assistance on this story.