Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, March 11, 2003
MOMENTITIS claims another victim in the person of ex-Office of National Assessments staffer, Andrew Wilkie. Andrew got so excited by the approach of war in Iraq that he just could not sit still in his chair.

Andrew's chair, by the way, was not in the Iraq, or middle-east, sections of the ONA, which provides background papers for Australian governments.

Andrew's field is refugees.

Still, that's close enough to government to get him great coverage, locally and overseas.

Andrew could no longer endorse government policy by maintaining his presence in the next corridor to the Iraq section of ONA, which is several steps removed from government policy. You can imagine the burden on his conscience.

Andrew has, he assured Kerry O'Brien of the 7.30 report, absolutely no political point to make. And Kerry took that at face value.

Kerry is the greatest journalist in the universe, and can read that kind of thing in a person's face, even over an interstate link-up.

It is largely superfluous to examine Andrew's reasoning, but it won't take us long.

Andrew thinks that Saddam has WMD. He also thinks that the war to unseat him will be brief. But Saddam prefers scorched-earth to defeat and could use his WMDs to cause numerous Iraqi casualties.

Therefore we should continue to attempt to persuade the maniac to disarm. As for the last 12 years.

Continue until? Perhaps until Saddam has the means to scorch hundreds of thousands of his own, and other countries', citizens.

Does Andrew think that the weapons inspectors will get the time of day from Saddam once Bush's revolver is removed from his forehead? Kerry didn't bother to ask.

Andrew's gesture will be a one or two-day media event. Another useful fool drawn out of the woodwork by the excitement of the moment.

Will even the University of Technology, Sydney, find an honorary post for this man?

Academia's loss will be ONA's gain.