18 March 2004

A modest proposal

The Howard government's next budget will increase spending on the security services by $400 million. Southerly Buster is always concerned about wasteful public expenditure. Along with a number of much more illustrious blogs on the left side of Ozplogistan, Southerly Buster has a better record of prediction on the Iraq war than the security services.

The Howard government can thus save a great deal of money by diverting the millions from the fat and bloated public sector of the intelligence community to the thin and ferret-like private sector. They should reduce the spending increase by a factor of 400 and give us the rest. We will provide the government, as we have in the past, with much better guesswork about likely outcomes. And we'll do it a lot faster as well. Think of us as Team B Plus.

The blogosphere would certainly have noticed the caveats and exceptions which the government overlooked, such as the JIC finding that the Iraq war would increase the level of the terrorist threat. We did not predict a cakewalk, or a self-funding war, or a punitive expedition without any blowback at all. We picked up the importance of the Shi'a leadership a lot earlier than the bureaucrats. We even expressed a degree of scepticism about the nonexistent WMDs.

We're self-correcting as my recent blooper of 70 million demonstrators in a nation of 40,077,100 shows. I know how I wrote that, the fingers flew faster than the brain, but discovery of the blooper did not alter the main point, that marching against terror in massive numbers in the face of a recent bombing in a public place, is a brave thing to do. I am sure there is a first assistant secretary somewhere in the prime minister's department who would have picked up the numerical error and noted it did not vitiate the argument.

Besides, every nation should have a chief of intelligence who looks like Quiggers.

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