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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right' is possible that... « Previous | |Next »
March 2, 2004

I was too busy yesterday to follow the debate on the parliamentary inquiry into Australia's handling of the pre-war intelligence. From what I gather the report (s 5.16) says that around late 2002 the Government had built a case that Iraq possessed WMD in large quantities and posed a "grave and unacceptable threat to the region and the world, particularly as there was a danger Iraq's WMD might be passed to terrorist organisations".

It comments that "This is not the picture that emerges from an examination of all the assessments provided to the committee by Australia's two analytical agencies."

That makes it pretty clear that the government's pro-war rhetoric was not driven by Australian intelligence. It was driven by the politicians. It says that Howard overstated the threat posed by Iraq and that he was wrong on this.

There is more.

Australian intelligence was largely a feed from the US and the UK, which in turn were based on untested or uncertain sources. They had no way of testing the feed. The Office of National Assessments (ONA) became increasingly more political in its judgements. It beefed up its language as it embraced the policy of the Howard Government.

Of course, it is possible that the WMD' will be found. And the Howard Government was claiming that it had been exonerated on the charge of "sexing up" the case for Australia joining last year's invasion of Iraq and the Labour Party's claims refuted.

It ain't that simple.

I love this quote from Machiavelli's The Prince---- Chapter XVIII - How Rulers Should Keep Their Promises:

"Everyone knows how praiseworthy it is for a ruler to keep his promises, and live uprightly and not by trickery. Nevertheless, experience shows that in our times the rulers who have done great things are those who have set little store by keeping their word, being skilful rather in cunningly confusing men; they have got the better of those who have relied on being trustworthy ... "

As Alan Ramsay observes, our Prime Minister knows this chapter quite well.

And this cartoon:
Bill Leak

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:47 AM | | Comments (0)