The UnAustralian

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Bad Predictions

Nature abhors a vacuum. So with that in mind, I always wondered what purpose Alan Anderson has in this world. However, until today, I couldn't for the life of me work out what it could be. But now, I think that I just found it.

From his archives we find a record of Greg Sheridan (that would be the Hawkish Foreign Affairs Editor for The Australian making some of most incorrect predictions around. Unfortnally, I've only recently started keeping copies of some of Sheridan's peices, so it's always good to get gems like this:

Why would the US take such risks? Let's go back to first principles. It took UN weapons inspectors four years to discover Hussein's biological weapons, which had been well hidden. Inspectors also discovered hundreds of chemical weapons and established that Hussein was very close to producing a nuclear weapon when he invaded Kuwait.

Now there have been no weapons inspections for four years. Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons and soon – within two or three years – will have nuclear weapons. This is clear from his active acquisition of fissile material, the building block of nuclear weapons, and from defector testimony.

But why take action against Hussein when other dictators are left unmolested? Hussein is truly in a class of his own. He is the only serving national leader to have used in combat weapons of mass destruction. He used them against his own people, to quell an uprising, and against Iranian soldiers. He has waged unprovoked war against two of his neighbours, Iran and Kuwait.

In two or three years, Hussein has a nuclear weapon. Two or three years more and he has several, perhaps a dozen. What might he do? He could easily give one to the terrorist group al-Qa'ida, with whom he has well-established connections, for them to smuggle into the US. He could give it to them completely untraceably and they could sail it into New York harbour, or Sydney Harbour for that matter, and explode it. This would not necessarily bring instant and devastating US retaliation because its source could easily be disguised.

More likely, Hussein could invade Kuwait for a second time on his way to dominating the Persian Gulf and all its strategic oil deposits. We know that this was precisely his ambition when he invaded Kuwait the first time in 1990. But this time he could prevent the US coming to Kuwait's rescue by nuclear blackmail.

All those commentators around the world demanding that the wild-eyed, simple-minded, Dr Strangelove-infested, unsophisticated, unilateralist, crazy Bush administration take the military option off the table should explain why it is safe to take these extraordinary risks with Hussein, who has broken all the promises he made to dismantle his WMD program as a condition of peace in 1991.

| 11:22 PM