How many Australia’s will ultimately die because of John Howard’s false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? The 1st anniversary of the Lindt Cafe attack is a sobering reminder of just how dangerously irresponsible was the illegal invasion of Iraq. Sadly, the more recent murder of Victor Chang is yet another salient reminder of the lethal idiocy that underpinned Gulf War 2.
[ NOTE: the short link URL for this posting is: http://wp.me/p1n8TZ-rh ]
The Islamic State ‘Death’ above cartoon was on page 13 of the Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser, on December 17th 2015. It graphically underscores just how ill-considered was the illegal “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq in March 2013. The foreseeable ‘big-picture‘ long term consequences of this illegal military action were clearly not on the agenda for John Howard when he made the following statement at the National Press Club in Canberra on March 13th 2013.
John Howard told his attentive mass media audience:
“In our view if the world fails to deal once and for all with the problem of Iraq and its possession of weapons of mass destruction it will have given a green light to the further proliferation of these weapons and it will undo 30 years of hard international work, including by Australia, which has been designed to enforce not only conventions on chemical weapons but also the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
The fatally lethal flaw in John Howard’s politically motivated view of issues was that whilst he may have believed his own hype that “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction”, the reality was that the people who were telling him that they no longer existed were in fact quite correct! Because he believed what he wanted to believe instead of believing the impartial truth, he helped to “father” the rise and rise of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization, i.e. Islamic State, an organization that is prepared to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, in order to establish an internationally recognized Islamic State!
As a nation, we Australians went along with that false perception and failed to ensure that the claims of John Howard, a politician who had fooled the national electorate with “non-core promises’ and the deceitful “Children overboard” scam, should not have been placed ahead of the counter-claims by independent United Nations weapons inspectors and the assessments of both the Federal Police and a senior military analyst, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Wilkie. Both Commissioner Mick Keelty and Colonel Wilkie had refuted John Howard’s claim about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.
In 2003, the popularity of John Howard was not exactly high and so he needed to come up with something that would persuade Australian voters to support his government. In Great Britain, Maggie Thatcher had been ‘on-the-nose’ with British voters until Argentine invaded the Falkland Islands. Winning the Falkland Islands war with Argentina made Mrs Thatcher immensely popular for a while and the temptation for George Bush 2nd, Tony Blair, and John Howard for a repeat performance must have been enormous at the time. The only problem was that there was no legitimate reason to gang up and invade Iraq. The solution was simple; create a reason by convincing the gullible public that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
That ploy worked in the short-term but in the longer term it was an absolute disaster. Check out CNN’s “Shock and Awe” video footage of the bombing of Iraq.
Whilst many people who saw that footage on TV or watched it on YouTube cheered as each massive explosion ripped apart buildings, few gave any thought to the innocent civilians, i.e. men, women and children, who were blasted to pieces in those massive explosions.
Who cared about what was happening?
I put it to you that around the world, the families and friends of those being slaughtered in this illegal invasion of Iraq cared. Many others who cared, perhaps a third of the world’s population, were people of Muslim faith who watched on in absolute horror as Iraqi civilians were literally vaporized in the high-tech bombardment of Iraq’s major cities.
In a very real sense, “Shock and Awe” worked, but not in the way that the military planners and politicians had planned. Yes, there most certainly was ‘shock and awe’, but there was also world-wide anger at the brutal slaughter that was occurring and this was a major factor that had not been given adequate consideration. Ever since the 7th century, Christians and Muslim have waged war against each other and all the March 2003 invasion did was to re-ignite this war.
The Bible warns Christians to “Test everything and only keep what is good”. (1st Thessalonians 5:21) Unfortunately, perhaps because Australia’s Christian community kept quiet, other Australians also kept quiet and so the seeds of destruction were sown by politicians and gunge-ho soldiers who were all to keen to push their own agendas with little or no thought for the long term consequences of their actions.
How many people have died because of the false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Truth is the first casualty of war; if you check out various website the estimates vary from 151,000 to over 1 million, e.g. Wiki website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War#Iraq_Body_Count_project
Perhaps for Australians the most relevant question now is not how many have died, but rather, how many more WILL DIE IN THE FUTURE?
On Saturday night I was appalled to hear an ABC news broadcast in which the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, make the statement that although President Assad of Syria had committed atrocities, the bigger issues was ensuring peace.
Ironically, Sunday’s Daily Bread devotional reading started with the statement “PAX ROMANA”: “No one can afford the price of war…We want peace, but not at the expense of justice.”
Peace at any cost is not peace, it is merely delaying the inevitable.
The really alarming thing about the Islamic State cartoon at the start of this posting is that John Howard claimed that invading Iraq was essential for long-term peace and stability. However, by failing to look at the much bigger picture, the fact that one-third of the world is Muslim and the have within this multitude unnumbered people of faith who are prepared to die for their faith. The illegal invasion of Iraq was the “green light” for igniting the righteous passion of those who see Christians as being worthy of only having their heads cut off! Instead of creating peace, the invasion of Iraq “green-lighted” the proliferation of total anarchy, something that Islamic State has repeatedly demonstrated unparalleled levels of competency in achieving.
Instead of lasting peace, thanks to yet another power-seeking gang of self-serving politicians, we have kick started a 1,500-year-old war, a war without end, that is being fought in cafes, theatres, workplaces, shops, hotels and streets around the world! Through the medium of Internet radicalization, it is even being fought in our homes because in 2011, the Gillard government puts the risks posed to children by the Internet in the ‘too-hard’ basket when it set up the Media Convergence Review. In retrospect, that decision seems unbelievable, but that is precisely what happened.
A serious question for the inquest into the death of Curtis Chang is the role played by the Internet in causing his death. The Internet is the most powerful influence upon young people today and the failure to think of the dangers posed by the Internet was a monumental political blunder.
2016 is an election year in Australia, a fact that voters should not forget the next time they see or hear of yet another Islamic State terrorist attack. We need to do this because the deaths of Tori Johnson, Katrina Dawson and Curtis Chang may well be insignificant compared to the death toll from shooting down a Qantas A380 Airbus over Sydney or Melbourne or a Paris style slaughter in the Sydney opera house or at an AFL football match.
The moral of this posting is simple, even if you do not care about your own life, please make an effort consider others when you vote in the 2016 federal election. You need to open your eyes to the reality of ‘non-core’ promises and the horrific legacy of “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.”
In the very dangerous times that lie ahead of our nation, we need something that is in very short supply amongst Australia’s politicians;
GENUINE INTEGRITY. What we most definitely do not need is politicians who believe that sacrificing justice for peace is okay. It is not!
The very painful, lethal lesson to be learnt from the falsity of John Howard’s “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction” speech is that when we sacrifice freedom for security,we wind up getting neither and are far worse off than in the beginning.
Ultimately, we are responsible for the illegal invasion of Iraq because, as a nation, we chose to believe lies of a politician with a deeply rutted track record for not telling the truth. We were idiots to do so, and now we are paying a terrible price! What really frightens me is that this toxic attitude of complacency has the potential to only make things worse. Having a “last-mile-copper-wire” national broadband network that is 20 years behind modern countries like Japan with its Petabit/sec broadband-backbone network is one thing; having politicians who believe their own lies and as a direct result, Australians wind up being killed on a random basis; THAT IS A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME!
We need far better politicians that we are currently paying for so in the next election, forget the deceitful political hype, look at the real-world track record of our nation’s major political parties on issues such as personal safety, job security, health and welfare.
Once you have done that, to plagiarize an old Indiana Jones movie,
Ronald Medlicott – Lay Christian advocate for justice in Australia.
- The following advice comes from paragraph 14.1.1 of the Commissioner Ian Hanger’s report into the Home Improvement program disaster. It is advice that every voter in Australia should give serious consideration too.
- “14.1.1 The APS ought to brief Ministers on the risks inherent in a recommended approach or advise on how the proposed approach might contain faults in the design or otherwise fail to work.
- Such a concerted focus on assessing the negatives associated with a proposal is a core component of the modes of thinking promoted by Edward De Bono—he refers to this manner of thinking as ‘black hat’ thinking, and asserts that it should never be seen as an attempt to be obstructionist or argumentative, but instead should be seen as an opportunity to consider negative elements alongside the positives, and to make a decision informed by the balance of each.
- As a practical measure, there should be a requirement to provide advice of this nature to Ministers at the same time as presenting a brief or proposal for a Minister’s consideration.
- This could be done by including a section in the briefing template which requires the author to air risks relevant to the proposal (a ‘devil’s advocate’ section)—this would provide Ministers with an opportunity to make decisions fully informed about the implications and consequences thereof.
- Officers must be supported to engage with personal risk when giving advice, rather than to remain complicit with a particular approach thought to be favoured by the Minister or a political adviser.
- Senior officials must likewise satisfy themselves that advice concerning risks is accurate, independent, and comprehensive.
- Additionally, advice on risk, whether delivered in a written submission or verbally, should not be pitched at such a high level that it is impossible for the Minister to discern real tangible risks ther Ministers and their advisers must not, by subtle suggestion or otherwise, dictate what advice they receive.
In 14.1.1 Commissioner Hanger was stressing a clearly identified aspect of public service duty, i.e. “Senior officials must likewise satisfy themselves that advice concerning risks is accurate, independent, and comprehensive”. At this level, advice must be impartial and provide real risk assessments so that a Minister is in a position to make informed judgements.
This did not happen in 2003 when military leaders told the Howard Government what it wanted to hear rather than what it needed to hear. Sadly, public servants are unlikely to heed Commissioner Hanger’s advice until we have the sense to elect politicians who really do want to hear the truth.
(Did I just see a squadron of pigs fly overhead?)