Friday, 10 October 2008

Lies, Damn Lies and The Australian

On 9 October 2008, The Australian's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, published an opinion piece expressing disappointment with both US presidential candidates. He attacked McCain in particular for his proposal to refinance bad mortgages at the level the house actually turned out to be worth to the tune of $300-billion as rewarding those who made bad decisions.

It seems that Obama pretty much agrees with Sheridan; I hope the latter will follow up with an article backing Obama.

In addition, for good measure, Sheridan repeated a criticism of Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, that has been doing the rounds on right-wing blogs:
And he said three weeks of US expenditure in Iraq equalled seven years of US expenditure in Afghanistan, which turns out to be completely wrong.

I posted the following response at a time when responses were still being taken:
Greg, Biden was comparing military expenditure in Iraq with nation-building expenditure in Afghanistan (not total expenditure in both cases). On that score he is about right. See CNN's fact check.

If his point was that at a fraction of the cost of the Iraq war, the Afghan exercise could have been completed, i.e., rebuilding the infrastructure and setting the country on its feet, he's dead right.

Guess what happened to my response? Actually you don't have to guess. Go to Sheridan's article and look for it. The Australian's editors hate to be pulled up on matters of fact. I've tried to do this on several occasions in the past, and they have simply ignored my correction. So here it is. Maybe a small fraction of the people who read the original article will see this. Then again, if they like Greg Sheridan and The Australian, they are not likely to worry about the facts spoiling a good argument.

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