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Simple truths « Previous | |Next »
March 17, 2003

Finally we have some honesty being spoken in the media about why Australia is going to war with Iraq. Paul Kelly, in Hapless persauder says it simply:

"First Australia is going to war because of the US alliance, not because the Iraq represents a direct threat to this country. Second, the Australian public, like much of the world, does not accept his [Howard's] argument that the risks of doing nothing outweight the risks of war. "

Yet Howard has said very little about the alliance in selling the message. The message is that rogue regimes are too dangerous to be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction because they might use it or give weapons to terrorists. Hence the need for a pre-emptive strike. This is a 'what if' argument since no evidence has been given that this is indeed the case. It is a Howard's nightmare scenario.

This mesage has some backbone: it is the assumption that containment----which once worked against the Soviets yesterday --- will not work against Iraq toay. Since containment does not work the pre-emptive strike is necessary. But if Howard really accepts this then why are we not launching an pre-emptive on North Korea? Its more a threat to Australia than Iraq.

So Howard is willing to undermine the western alliance, marginalise the UN as a governing institution, fan the hostility of the Islamic world and destablise the Middle East for the sake of the US alliance.

What is most astonishing is that the Australian Liberal Party goes along with this. A few journalists, such as Matt Price, are starting to ask questions. Surely the Liberal party room sees the shoddy reasoning, the credibility gap, the simplifications, the failure to engage the lies about withdrawing troops should the UN fail to reach agreement on going to war. Yet they remain silent even when they know it is an unpopular war. There is no criticism, no public debate, no defence of the UN, no public considerations of the consequences of the US -led invasion, no doubts about US & Australian acquiescence in Israeli extremism?

The Liberal Party room remains mute. The silence is deafening. Are they afraid to rock the boat by expressing their doubts about a member of Bush's posse? Or are they quite happy about being the deputy sheriff suppressing terrorism in our region? Happy to be on the global cops team taking on militant Islam.

Or is the Liberal partyroom genuinely convinced by the US neo-con case that he UN is history and the time is ripe for US unilateral world hegemony. They wil acept that the US can best protect itself by ensuring the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the suppression of terrorism by means of preventive wars waged solely by the US and whatever allies tag along on the policing action. They are willing to accept that all important decisions about global security and collective action are made in Washington and that the only thing required of Australia is acquiescence?

The Liberal Party room is quite willing to turn its back on the option of solving problems in our region through regional cooperation with Indonesia, Japan China.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:11 AM | | Comments (2)


The silence/lack of dissent among members of the Liberal Party gives lie to their claim to be a 'broad church'. It is also a shameful performance for a party that claims to abhor collective thinking. Howard is the Liberals, and there is nothing broad about his mind.

I reckon that the Liberal Party's judgement is that the war with Iraq will be quick, clean and swift.

So a good war is good domestic politics. They bathe in the glory of being liberators of an oppressed people.