A call for an Australian inquiry into the Iraq war
What led to Australia invading Iraq in 2003? The Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry is calling for an independent inquiry into the reasons behind Australia’s participation in the invasion and a review of the war powers of the government, to draw out what lessons can be learned for the future.
How did Australian armed forces come to be involved in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and why? What were the decision-making processes that led to that commitment? Were those processes adequate in terms of our system of government as we understand it and for the future?
Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC
The case for an inquiry is set out in detail in our booklet, Why Did We Go to War in Iraq? A call for an Australian inquiry.
The campaign consists of Australians from diverse backgrounds who are concerned that there has been little informed public discussion of the lessons to be learned from the decisions that took us to war in 2003.
20 FEBRUARY 2014
Crikey on royal commissions
An Iraq War inquiry gets a brief mention by Crikey’s Bernard Keane in an article on royal commissions, Feb 10. Article here but it’s behind the paywall:
In a well-ordered democracy with the rule of law, investigative royal commissions should be few and far between — normal regulatory systems should function with reasonable effectiveness. And in practice, because of their expense, length and unpredictability, governments are reluctant to instigate royal commissions, particularly if the systemic failure being investigated might be close to home. There’s never been a royal commission, for example, into how Australia joined the attack on Iraq on the basis of a falsehood, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars and served, as is now widely agreed, only to make Australians less safe.
John Pilger on the media
John Pilger talks about the role media have in commentary on the Iraq War in the Guardian, Feb 7:
Last month a single edition of the Radio 4 show was edited by the artist and musician PJ Harvey. What happened was illuminating.
Harvey’s guests caused panic from the moment she proposed the likes of Mark Curtis, a historian rarely heard on the BBC who chronicles the crimes of the British state; the lawyer Phil Shiner and the Guardian journalist Ian Cobain, who reveal how the British kidnap and torture; the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange; and myself.
There were weeks of absurd negotiation at Broadcasting House about ways of “countering” us and whether or not we could be allowed to speak without interruption from Today’s establishment choristers. What this brief insurrection demonstrated was the fear of a reckoning. The crimes of western states like Britain have made accessories of those in the media who suppress or minimise the carnage.
[…] In the build-up to the 2003 invasion, according to studies by Cardiff University and Media Tenor, the BBC followed the Blair government’s line and lies, and restricted airtime to those opposing the invasion. When Andrew Gilligan famously presented a dissenting report on Today, he and the director general were crushed.
The truth about the criminal bloodbath in Iraq cannot be “countered” indefinitely.
Iraq War protests remembered
The Guardian has published the stories of several people involved in protests leading up to the Iraq War:
When we asked our readers what led to them rejecting the UK’s role in wars abroad, one date came up over and over again: 15 February 2003. The million strong “Don’t attack Iraq” march seems to have been as much a pivotal moment in developing an anti-war consciousness as did the anti-Vietnam War marches of the 1960s.
On the 11th anniversary of the march, a selection of our readers explain how they came to reject Britain’s role in foreign conflicts.
[…] “So when over a million of us marched against a war with Iraq on a cold, drizzly Saturday eleven years ago, we weren’t doing it to say, ‘we know you’re going to war anyway, but we just wanted to let you know that we don’t like the idea.’ No, we marched in the genuine expectation that those in charge would see that the level of opposition to this war was so great that they’d have to find another way of dealing with the problem of Saddam’s supposed stockpile of WMDs – like, for instance, giving Hans Blix the time he was clearly asking for. (Let us never forget that there was a very clear, practical alternative to this war.)”
Hans Blix interview
The Independent interviews Hans Blix on the Iraq War and the future prospects for peace in the Middle East and around the world:
The man at the eye of the storm over whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction believes the Iraq war could prove to be the last big conflict between nation states. What’s more Hans Blix is also optimistic that, after the Iraqi devastation, there could be emerging a more peaceful balance of power in the world.
[…] “But I do weep still over the result of the mad rush by Bush and Blair to go to war. Tragically, the US and UK trusted their own faulty intelligence more than the inspection reports we gave.” He suspects that the Bush administration, which he says didn’t give a “damn” about the UN, counted on war from the outset, and that a March deadline had been picked because of the extreme heat. Read more…