The Australian prime minister, John Howard, once said we had to go war against Iraq to stop Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction and to stop him giving such weapons to terrorists.
Now Howard says we have to stay in Iraq....so the United States doesn't look bad.
...my policy is to be part of a coalition that does not leave Iraq in circumstances where it is seen as a defeat for the West and a boost for the terrorists. That is the most important responsibility I have at the present time.So what is the 'War On Iraq' now then? Some frigging marketing campaign?
When more than 500,000 Australians (out of a population of 20 million) marched in opposition to the (then upcoming) illegal invasion of Iraq in early 2003, Howard infamously said all these people - including thousands of World War 2, Korea and Vietnam War veterans - were giving "comfort to Saddam".
We know now, of course, that at the same time as Howard was making these despicable comments, he was ignoring repeated warnings from Australia's intelligence agencies that an Australian corporation had been (and were continuing to) funnel bribes totalling some $300 million to the regime of Saddam Hussein.
That's a lot of comfort.
Australia has some of the most brilliant anti-terrorism and military intelligence minds in the world. But Howard clearly doesn't pay much attention to their reports, or briefings.
If he did, he would know that the 'War On Iraq' is already being widely viewed as a defeat for the West and "a boost for terrorists" across the world.
Does he really believe that the 'War On Iraq' is going to be resolved in a way that can be seen as some great victory for the West?
Yes, he clearly believes that this is how history will view this fiasco.
So what else does Howard have to say about the 'War On Iraq' these days?
Pretty much the exact same guff he was spouting back in February, 2003.
Here's Howard on November 11 this year :
"...if the coalition leaves Iraq, in circumstances where it is viewed by the rest of the world, and particularly by terrorists, as a defeat, that will have enormous and negative ramifications for the prestige and the authority of the United States in the world."Here's Howard on February 20, 2003 :
"...if the world walks away from this (war), the damage to the authority....of the United States will be huge."So, if the United States walked away from an illegal invasion of Iraq in February, 2003, the damage to the "authority" of the United States would have been "huge".
Now he claims if the United States (and Australia) leaves Iraq, the damage to the "authority" of the United States will have "negative ramifications".
The "authority" and "prestige" of the United States was damaged when it became clear only weeks after the invasion of Iraq that there were no WMDs, just as Saddam Hussein and United Nations weapons inspectors said.
The "negative ramifications" Howard so fears have been piling up for more than two years, as Iraqi, Iranian and Al Qaeda fighters armed with homemade bombs took on the greatest military force in the world and destroyed hundreds of American tanks, trucks and Humvees, killing thousands of mostly unarmoured US and British troops.
Howard is clearly living in a fantasyland if he truly believes that the Coalition can leave Iraq with its "authority" and "prestige" intact.
He is deluding himself and he is attempting to delude all Australians.
For the record, a few paragraphs below you will some more Howard fantasyland quotes from the first six months of 2003. A period during which he was being briefed and fed reports telling him (if he had bothered to actually read them) that the Iraq War was not going to work out the way he was dreaming it would.
Of course, Australia's intelligence agencies - like those of the United States, France, Germany, Israel, Russia and United Kingdom - foresaw the rise of the Iraqi insurgency before it became an exploding reality, and repeatedly warned the leaders of Australia, the UK and the United States that Iraq would become a live-field training ground for Al Qaeda terrorists should the war continue beyond the end of 2003.
Our children, our grandchildren, will be living with the legacy of The War HowardBushBlair Had To Have.
Considering this terror-laden legacy, it would be honourable of John Howard to start telling the truth about the 'War On Iraq' instead of continuing to spout the kind of twaddle that makes senior ranks of Australia's Army and intelligence services cringe every time they hear him opining on this incredibly damaging fiasco.
Howard's attempts to continually spin the the reality, and the generations-long blowback we can now expect from the 'War On Iraq', would be laughable, if it wasn't so utterly, horribly tragic. For the people of Australia, and the people of Iraq.
THE VERY BEST OF JOHN HOWARD
THE IRAQ WAR - THE FIRST SIX MONTHS
"....our goal is to make certain that the weapons that Iraq now has, chemical and biological and a capacity to develop nuclear weapons, are taken from Iraq." - January 23, 2003
"..if as a consequence of that military action the current regime disappears, that circumstances in Iraq could well be a lot better, I’m certain they will be a lot better and that in a relatively short period of time the situation could stabilise in the way that it did in Afghanistan." - February 7. 2003
"I think there’s a very big connection between Iraq and North Korea and the connection is this, if the Security Council and the world community can’t discipline Iraq it has no hope of disciplining North Korea." - February, 16, 2003
"Iraq must be disarmed. We cannot afford to allow a rogue state like Iraq to retain chemical and biological weapons. Others will do likewise. North Korea will not be disciplined by the world community if Iraq is not disciplined." - March 14, 2003
"I have no doubt at all in my mind, and many would agree with me, that the Iraqi people will suffer less if Saddam Hussein is removed." - March 17, 2003
"...we don’t have any quarrel with the ordinary people of Iraq, we don’t want to inflict any avoidable pain, injury or death on them. We do have a big quarrel with the regime because it’s the regime that has defied the world in relation to its chemical and biological weapons. We mustn’t lose sight of what this is all about." - March 20, 2003
"....on the scale of suffering I have believed for a long time that the people of Iraq will suffer less if he’s gone than if he’s left there." - March 21, 2003
"...it is a very tyrannical regime and once it’s gone the people of Iraq will I’m sure have a much better life." - April 2, 2003
"...if Iraq had disarmed and fully cooperated, then I don’t think people would have been arguing on its own for regime change." - April 2, 2003
"...getting rid of the regime and thereby ensuring that Iraq does not retain chemical and biological weapons or a capacity to develop them in the future, that is the goal....I would say victory once the regime is gone." - April 6, 2003
"...we won't be making a significant peacekeeping contribution....I'm not talking about a period of 12 months or two years...we certainly don't intend to have a significant army of peacekeepers." - April 10, 2003
"...the same thing with the civilian casualties. Of course there were. But you have to put that in the balance against the tens upon tens of thousands who have died in different ways as a result of this regime." - April 13, 2003
President Bush estimated months ago that more than 30,000 civilians had died as a result of the US-Australian-UK led invasion of Iraq. The Iraqi Healthy Ministry estimated earlier this month that more than 150,000 civilians had been killed.
"It was inevitable that when you topple a tyrannical regime and you took the lid off, it was inevitable there was going to be a period of some upheaval..." - April 16, 2003
Two years and seven months have now passed since Howard predicted "a period of some upheaval."
"...it was a remarkable military victory, and a great tribute to the American military leadership." - May 2, 2003
Howard : Defeat Of Coalition In Iraq Will Spoil US Reputation
Howard : "By All Means Let Us Talk To Syria And Iran"
Bribing Saddam - The Greatest International Scandal In Australia's History