Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Lying his way to war: Crean's assault on PM: "The Prime Minister, John Howard, was accused yesterday of sending Australia to war on a lie as the Government admitted receiving intelligence warnings that the country would face a heightened terrorist risk because of its role in Iraq. Mr Howard reacted immediately to the charge, from the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, accusing Labor of being apologists for Saddam Hussein."

Accurate records of Iraqi deaths are not available. According to IBC, at least 6131 civilians have been killed this year by the aggressors. No figures are available for Iraq army deaths, but one estimate has it at 30,000, most of them conscripts. Currently, journalists are prevented by US soldiers from visiting hospitals in Iraq, thus inhibiting their efforts to report civilian casualties. But another report has civilian casualties at 1,000 a week. The Saddam regime is a bad one, and under sanctions, Iraq has suffered tremendously. But the startling fact is that the post-Saddam situation is worse than before. To justify this epic slaughter and the "supreme crime" (Nuremburg) of aggressive warfare, Howard mentions the need to 'get Saddam' (something which hasn't actually been achieved yet), and accuses anti-war people of being 'pro-Saddam', which we are not.

"But [Howard] said neither he nor any other minister had been briefed on its findings. [Cue the Prime Minister: No one told me about this!] "It was the judgement of the Government that the longer-term proliferation and terrorism risks of leaving Saddam's weapons of mass destruction in place outweighed the shorter-term risks addressed in the JIC report. That was the basis of the Government's decision. It is a decision that I stand by, and I stand by it unconditionally."

Of course Iraq had no effective weapons of mass destruction and did not pose a threat even to its neighbours, much less to the UK, US or Australia.

"In mounting his case for war, Mr Howard consistently rejected suggestions that Australia's involvement would increase the risk of a terrorist attack."

This position flies in the face of reality and one assessment after another. As Eric Margolis has said, the case for war on Iraq and the 'war on terror' in general is 'Like the gigantic Enron swindle, it's a huge bubble, inflated by false claims and calculated deception.'

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