Those with long memories will recall that Sir Robert Menzies said that he had received, in the form of a letter, an official invitation from the South Vietnam government to participate in the war against the communist North. When the cabinet papers were released thirty years later it was disclosed that no such letter existed. 521young Australian men lost their lives in a war that Menzies said was in our national interest.
It was a despicable lie.
Prime Minister John Howard went to war in Iraq based on information he repeatedly said was true. That being that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
It was a despicable lie.
In an interview he said he felt embarrassed when he had found out that there were no such weapons. There wasn’t a hint of regret that, as a result of his shared decision 195,000 innocent people lost their lives.
In a piece for the Canberra times Georgina Mitchell quotes Paul Keating.
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has called for John Howard to “hang his head in shame” over his involvement in the Iraq War, which he says brought “the spectre of terrorism and racial strife” to Australia.
The Chilcot report, released on Wednesday, found the flawed intelligence should have been challenged but wasn’t, and the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction”, which were never found, was presented to the public with “a certainty that was not justified.”
“I defend that decision. I don’t retreat from it. I don’t believe that, on the basis of the information that was available to me, it was the wrong decision. I really don’t,” Mr Howard said.
Surely when confronted with a decision of the magnitude he was facing he would have asked this question or one similar of all our defence agencies.
“Can you give me a 100% assurance that the information is correct? That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction? If you cannot then I cannot in all conscience send our troops to war.”
It would appear that he did not and simply followed George W Bush into a war that many years later is still haunting us.
I agree with Keating: Howard should hang his head in shame.
My thought for the day
Only the dead have seen the end of war.
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