Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Howard hypocrisy: "Before the war Mr Howard's humanitarian concerns for the people of Iraq were insufficient to support 'regime change' in Baghdad. He told the National Press Club in March that Saddam could stay in power, and therefore keep tormenting his people, providing he gave up his Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Given the Iraqi leader had evidently disposed of his WMD several years before, according to the Prime Minister's logic - now derided as 'alternative advice' - Saddam should still be in power.

"This 'change of course' is dramatic, if unsurprising. A search of Hansard for the period when Saddam was committing the worst of his crimes - gassing Iranian soldiers in 1983-4 and the Kurds of Halabja in 1988 - fails to turn up any expressions of concern in the Parliament by either John Howard or Alexander Downer. It's not until the WMD pretext falters in the weeks before the invasion that Canberra discovers human rights violations in Iraq. There were certainly no expressions of humanitarian concern while Canberra supported a vicious sanctions regime which, over a decade, must have been responsible for the deaths of hundred of thousands of Iraqis, while strengthening Saddam and compelling the population to rely on him for their survival."

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