2 June 2004

the Man of Steel's rusty memory

Recall the prime minister's words last Thursday:

that I am advised that a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross in October of last year covered general concerns about detainee conditions and treatment.

By Monday that had morphed into a sustained claim by the Defence witnesses before the Senate estimates committee that there was no October report. How, in 3 days, did this document go from something the prime minister could quote with confidence to something that did not exist? Under continued questioning Defence admitted there were ICRC working papers but insisted the working papers were not a report. Someone read those papers and someone told the prime minister there was nor reference to torture. Defence now tells us the working papers do include reference to torture.

The prime minister tells us he was misinformed. This not the first time the prime minister has been misinformed. He was also misinformed about children overboard, the Manildra meeting, the pre-war intelligence, and a number of other things. There is a long history of prime ministerial misinformation and it's high time we got something other than the prime minister blaming the bureaucracy.

Strangely, each and every case of prime ministerial misinformation seems to favour the politics of the prime minister. I am no actuary. I'd love to know the odds of that happening by accident.

No comments: