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The Forum > Article Comments > Iraq 10 years on: lessons for today > Comments

Iraq 10 years on: lessons for today : Comments

By Andrew Farran, published 7/2/2013

The primary lesson is that Australia could again become involved in serious warfare on a tenuous line of authority.

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Excellent article by Andrew Farran. Australia must not repeat the mistakes it made in Iraq where like many other members of the Coalition of the Willing it placed the interests of the neo-conservatives in the US ahead of Australian national interests and democratic and constitutional principles.

The power of Prime Ministers and Foreign Minister to commit Australia to war must be strictly controlled by the Australian Parliament, by the Governor-General and by the electorate. Former PM Howard and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer should apologise to the people of Iraq and to the Australian people for their actions and thank God that they have not been called to the Hague yet.

Greater effort also needs to be made to educate the Australian public about the need to have a robust, evidence based and fully transparent process for formulating foreign and defense policy.

By signing the Statute of the International Criminal Court, Australia has sent a signal to its soldiers and its politicians that those responsible for such acts will face the consequences.
Posted by Macedonian advocacy, Thursday, 7 February 2013 9:13:44 AM
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The article makes some good points but:

1. The hope that going to war will be democratically endorsed by we the Australian public just won't happen. Endorsement would need to be by Referendum or Election to vote in or out a Government with a central policy of going to a particular war (or not).

2. There's the question of what degree might Australia be in a war? Overflights? or ANZAC frigate sent off (say the African) coast, other naval, Aus satellite or long range UAV recce? or a few of our military embedded in US or UK forces? Or more official involvement on the Iraq/Afghanistan scale?

3. All new situation are different and nuanced. There's the reality that US counter-terrorism actions are now multi-country, as in North to Central Africa-Yemen now, with no War declared. Wars are rarely declared these days, being called "Emergency, Confrontation, Police Action or Operation Free.." etc

4. So an Australian Referendum-Election may not be tied to anything definite.

5. So no democratic Referendum or Election would be held.

6. A Government would not risk its survival in an Election for/against A War anyway.
Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 7 February 2013 11:05:10 AM
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See also the websites of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry:

http://iraqwarinquiry.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/funding-request-to-our-supporters.html

and

http://iraqwarinquiry.org.au

Andrew Farran
Posted by Andrew Farran, Thursday, 7 February 2013 2:19:50 PM
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Well reading Andrews background it is obvious he is all for talk. All talk & no action, if this article gives us his perspective. A real "peace in our time" type if ever there was one.

It is time the west came to it's sense, with a return to the gunboat diplomacy of empire. Sending talkers is not only a waste of time, but a show of weakness.

Yes a few gunboats, with a few hundred marines, sent early & often, [just like voting], would show these heathens we are not mucking about.

We must crush all protest & eliminate all protesters, where ever they are found.

Keep up this namby-pamby rubbish & damn soon these people will start to think they have some right to a say in the world.

Now to things more important, what did you say would fix this damnable gout?
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 7 February 2013 3:16:26 PM
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Andrew, this was an excellent article. What you say about our involvement in Iraq is equally applicable to the earlier invasion of Afghanistan. In both cases the invasion and occupation was contrary to international law.

In both cases it was based upon a massive lie. In the case of Afghanistan it was the claim that Osama bin Laden planned the events of 9/11, and that the then government of Afghanistan refused to hand him over for trial. We now know in much more detail what the Americans mean by "bringing to justice". It means detention without trial, torture, extraordinary rendition, and summary execution without a pretence of due process.

In the case of Iraq as you say, it was the lie about Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. We now know that the invasion of Iraq was on the agenda of the first Bush cabinet meeting in January 2001. We also know that, as the Downing St memo put it, the facts were being made to fit the intelligence.

In both cases the wars had nothing to do with alleged terrorism but were part of the US plan for "full spectrum dominance" as their own position paper put it. This included control of key resources (Iraq) or the means to deliver those resources (the trans-Afghanistan pipeline from the Caucasus oil and gas fields). An added bonus from the US point of view was having more military bases to assist the "containment" of Russia and China.

One of the many tragedies of these conflicts is that none of the political leaders who commenced these illegal wars (the Howard regime) or who carried them on (Labor) have been accountable in The Hague or are ever likely to be. For a democracy apparently subject to the rule of law that is lamentable.
Posted by James O'Neill, Thursday, 7 February 2013 3:35:36 PM
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Consultation before going to war? What traitor suggested this?

We just follow the Yanks. Always have. They are the leaders of the world at least as far as Australia is concerned. Why I heard Greg Sheridan saying only today that our alliance with the U.S.A. is kosher, is next to godliness, is essential!

King Greg knows more than all Australians put together.

He loves Israel too! Can't get enough of it.

P.S. For me, I could live with a quick divorce from the U.S. It would show we had some backbone for a change.
Posted by David G, Thursday, 7 February 2013 5:10:15 PM
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