Monday, November 23, 2009

If Tony Blair Is A War Criminal, Then So Is John Howard

By Darryl Mason

I've been saying it here for years, but has any Australian journalist ever asked John Howard, "While you were in Washington DC, between Sept 11 and Sept 15, did you make a commitment to President George W. Bush that Australian troops would fight the War On Iraq?"

Leaked docs reveal then British PM Tony Blair committed troops to the War On Iraq as early as February 2002.

Did President Bush use Howard's Sept 2001 commitment to fighting the War On Iraq to push Tony Blair to sign on, too?

The documents - transcripts of interviews from an internal defence ministry review of the conflict - disclose that some planning for the Iraq war had begun in February 2002. Major General Graeme Lamb, then head of Britain's special forces, was quoted as saying he had been "working the war up since early 2002", according to the newspaper.

In July 2002, Blair told lawmakers at a House of Commons committee session there were no preparations to invade Iraq.

Critics of the war have long insisted Blair offered President George W Bush an assurance as early as mid-2002 - before British MPs voted in 2003 to approve UK involvement - that Britain would join the war.

The leaked documents are likely to be supplied to a public inquiry established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to scrutinise prewar intelligence and postwar planning, and which will hold its first evidence sessions later this week.

Brown appointed ex-civil servant John Chilcot to lead the panel, which will call Blair and the current and former heads of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency - John Sawers and John Scarlett - to give testimony in person.

When will John Howard finally face the kind of interrogation Tony Blair is about to undergo?

This question is being asked in the UK media : "Is Tony Blair A War Criminal?"

Now Australian troops have been withdrawn from Iraq, it's time to ask the same question of John Howard.