It is not really fair applying logic and informed reason to a Piers
Akerman column, but the galloping hypocrisy and towering stupidity on
show in this morning’s effort
cannot be allowed to pass unremarked.

Akerman not only likens East Timor to Iraq, he also says it “is now arguably
in proportionately worse shape than Iraq”. This has somehow escaped the
notice of Foreign Affairs magazine’s failed state index
which rates Iraq at four and doesn’t even list East Timor.

For the record Piers, East Timor is to Iraq as a chair is to a
dinosaur. The second pair have both have four legs, and the first are
both troubled countries, but that is as close as it gets. It shouldn’t
really need to be said, but East Timor has not had more than
US$450 billion spent on it by the most powerful ever superpower in a
vain effort to restore order.

Nor does it have around 150,000 foreign troops stationed there for that
same purpose; it has not seen the deaths of at least 100,000 people in
the past three years; it does not have an insurgency, suicide bombers
and nor is it sitting in the most volatile and strategically important
region of the world, with an oil-rich, Islamist neighbour apparently
intent on becoming a nuclear power. Small things like that.

Akerman says what he calls the “kumbaya crowd” who supported
independence for East Timor “must shoulder much of the blame for the
failure of its dysfunctional Government”, but strangely overlooks the
20-plus years of resistance and struggle by the people themselves. (Who
knew that Piers was part of the “Jakarta lobby” opposed to independence
all these years?)

But Piers could “overlook” for Australia at the Olympics. For example,
he neglects to mention that by his own standards, he “must shoulder
much of the blame” for what’s happening in Iraq, given his pre-invasion

And though he devotes much of the column to re-fighting the pre-war
arguments, he overlooks what has been revealed since – like The Sunday
into the Downing Street Memo
(there’s a website
devoted to it here); like
the numerous credible reports and books revealing that intelligence not
supporting the case for war was suppressed; or the September 11 Commission Report
which found no link
between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. (And there is much more where that
came from.)

That last point has particular relevance to Piers, who before the war
played up accounts of a supposed meeting between 9/11
terrorist Mohammad Atta and Iraqi intelligence in Prague. It didn’t
happen, and one of these years, Piers will perhaps set the record
straight. After all, a man who publicly calls for others to shoulder
blame couldn’t be so hypocritical as to dodge his own, surely?

By the way, Piers, speaking of pots and kettles, should you really make
references to “bloated Senator Ted Kennedy”? You are a bit on the porky
side yourself, mate. Oh, and the “bantam-weight” Mr Milne from The
spells his Christian name with two “n”s.

Apart from that, great column.