This is typical Liberal behaviour, target the personalities (in this case, one in particular) and ignore the issues. Hard to deny that getting consensus from 43 “ex-defence force chiefs, diplomats and departmental heads” doesn’t speak volumes. And the best the PM can do is bag out the deliverers (in all fairness the “daiquiri” quote is not the PM, just to be clear). Regardless, not a strong defence really.
UPDATE: I’ve just read the PMs press release on the letter. You can read it in full here.
The Government’s critics should remember that at the time of the Iraqi operation early last year there was a near unanimous view around the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Right. Perhaps in the PMs office he was seeing a near unanimous view. But then we have Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector who stated publicly and repeatedly, even drawing comment from the US ambassador to Australia and the PM himself, that the war on Iraq was ill conceived, and that it was highly unlikely that Iraq would have WMD, and certainly impossible for Iraq to be in a position to use those weapons. And he was far from a lone voice.
The PM’s response also pulls the old “this is post September 11” chestnut – as though “42 of the 43 signatories” don’t know what they’re on about because they weren’t in their positions after September 11 2001. As though that date magically dissolved any influence, contact and relevance that the signatories’ former activities would have had. This is the “how would they know” defence that we have heard time and time again. About Ritter, about Wilkie, and, in the US, about Clarke. This line gets trotted out against anyone who has publicly expressed a dissenting view. I wonder if it still sticks? (I wonder if it ever stuck?)
Finally, the statement has repeated a discredited criticism of the Government’s foreign policy ï¿½ that our closeness to the United States has harmed our relations with our friends and partners in the region.
Who’s discredited this criticism? I haven’t heard any discrediting of this theory, just claims from the coalition that it isn’t true. I don’t think today has been a good day for the Government.