Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, August 23, 2004
DEFENCE OFFICIALS ARE A BUNCH OF PRECIOUS DRAMA QUEENS, according to those who claim to speak for them.

First there were the 44 duffers and their public declaration, and now Henny Herald claims to have Defence sources for its story that the government was told of increased risk to Australia from joining the Coalition of the Willing.

Better leave aside questions like the balance between various kinds of risk, long-term and short-term, conventional and WMD, because, according to Henny Defence officials just never advise on things like that.

Despite the pathetic quality of Defence advice, as Henny reports it, the government is condemned for "contradicting his intelligence advice". In fact you could accept Henny's version of Defence advice and still decide, rationally, that taking out Saddam would be a net addition to Australia's medium to long-term security. And that's without factoring in the almost-Free Trade Agreement.

But before you write Defence off as just another case for out-sourcing, remember how Henny puffed up the support for 'whistle-blower' Andrew Wilkie, and then had to admit that not one of his former colleagues supported his position.

And how they puffed his appearance before the House of Commons committee.

Those Defence hacks are on a hiding to nothing. You either maintain your professional silence, or you let the duffers, Wilkies and anonymous 'sources' claim to speak for you. Courtesy of Henny Herald, and their ABC.