Thursday, August 16, 2012

Push continues in Australia for an Iraq War inquiry

Yesterday saw a sudden and dramtic push for an Iraq War inquiry in Australia.  Judith Ireland (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that while former prime minister Malcom Foster insists that there is a need for an inquiry, Minster of Defense Stephen Smith has come out against an inquiry.  Smith is quoted stating, "With the greatest of respect to Malcolm, these days [he is] saying a range of things which I didn't hear him say as minister for army . . . or prime minister." Malcom Foster was not prime minister during the Iraq War.  John Howard was prime minister before it started, made the decision for Australia to take part in it and continued until he was defeated in 2006 by Kevin Rudd who promised all troops out of Iraq but pulled the 'combat' nonsense that was all the craze among weak willed, lying politicians at that time.  Julia Gillard replaced Rudd and currently there are still two Australian troops in Iraq and they work with UNAMI.   (Note: "A colonel is based in Baghdad and currently fulfils the role of senior military adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General within the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. A lieutenant colonel is in Kirkuk as a military adviser to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq." That is up while there are two.  If the number increases or decreases, what's noted up there will change.)

Robert Hill was Minister of Defense for Australia from 2001 to 2006 (the Iraq War officially starts with the March 2003 invasion).  AAP reports his quote yesterday (which kicked off the discussion), "For what it's worth, in my humble opinion, it would probably be better for Australia to focus on the issues of today and the issues of tomorrow than to try and re-guess matters of 10 years ago."  Hill went on to claim that he based his decision on intelligence, "I talked to the british intelligence people.  I listened to what they had to say about other intelligence services around the world.  I talked to the Americans."

Australia Network News (ABC -- link is text and video) notes that inquiries have taken place in the Netherlands and Great Britain and speaks with Malcom Fraser who states, "Going to war is a really serious matter.  I do not believe that any one person in Australia should have the power to take this country to war, especially when due process has not been followed.  We know the war was begun on a lie, we know the evidence was fabricated.  We know that, certainly in Britain and the United States, they knew that the claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were in many respects false, and yet they still went to war on that basis."  Big Pond News adds:

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser says Australia should have a war powers act to ensure parliamentary approval before deploying troops to war.
Mr Fraser, who was minister for defence during the height of the Vietnam War, has called for a review of the government's war powers and the introduction of a War Powers Act.

Adam Carroll (Coolum-News) notes that Fraser is part of a campaign that kicked off today calling for an inquiry. He also notes that Gillard is said to oppose an inquiry and ends with "To download the booklet and sign an appeal for an inquiry visit"

The decision to go to war was not a popular decision with the Australian people.  It became even less popular as it continued which is part of the reason John Howard was voted out as prime minister.  Kevin Rudd ran on the promise to bring Australian troops home.  As noted earlier, Rudd played word games and that's part of the reason his own time as prime minister was so brief.  One of the smartest things he could do for his own image would be to join the campaign.  Whether his also calling for an inquiry resulted in one or not, it would enhance his own image and would be in keeping with the statements he made while attempting to become prime minister. 

Turning to the US, the Colorado State Fair starts August 24th and concludes September 3rd.  They will honor Iraq War veterans with a parade Saturday, August 25th at 10 in the morning entitled Colorado: Colors of Courage. Peter Roper (Pueblo Chieftain) reports, ""Colorado: Colors of Courage" is the theme for the parade, which will be anchored by active-duty, Fort Carson Army veterans and the 4th Infantry Division's marching band."

The following community sites -- plus the Guardian, NPR music, Susan's On the Edge, Pacifica Evening News, The Diane Rehm Show,, ACLU,  IPS, Courage to Resist, Black Agenda Report and Ms. magazine's blog --  updated last night and this morning:

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