Friday, 8 July 2016

Challenging revisionist claims concerning Australia's decision to go the war in Iraq

On 20 March 2003 the first of the Coalition of the Willing strikes against Baghdad occurred. What went down in Australia on that first day of the Iraq War is now part of official records.

Robert ‘Bob’ BALDWIN (Liberal Member for Patterson), Hansard, 20 March 2003:
Members opposite have been completely silent on these atrocities, but many Australians heard this week a broadcast on the John Laws program when he read a report that was published in Britain by a group called Indict. Indict were recent 13120 REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, 20 March 2003 observers in Iraq and their report details some of the most abhorrent abuses of humans known to man. One example is of opponents of the Iraqi regime being placed alive, head first or feet first, into a shredding machine and the remains of bodies later being used as fish food. Not only is it terrifying that a regime could subject its own people to this sort of treatment, but it is also terrifying to think that a regime like this has weapons of mass destruction.

Prime Minister John Howard, Address to the Nation, 20 March 2003;
Another point I'd make to you very strongly is that we're not dealing here with a regime of ordinary brutality. There are many dictatorships in the world. - but this is a dictatorship of a particularly horrific kind.
His is an appalling regime: its torture, its use of rape as an instrument of intimidation; the cruelty to children to extract confessions from parents. It is a terrible catalogue of inflicting human misery on a people who deserve much better.
This week, the Times of London detailed the use of a human shredding machine as a vehicle for putting to death critics of Saddam Hussein. This is the man, this is the apparatus of terror we are dealing with.

Excerpt from Federal Labor Opposition Leader Simon Crean’s Address to the National Press Club, 20 March 2003:

As I speak, we are a nation on the brink of war.
A war we should not be in.
A war to which 2000 of our fighting men and women were committed many months ago but were told about last Tuesday.
A war to which we are one of only four countries prepared to join the U.S. in putting troops on the ground, despite claims of a coalition of up to thirty.
A war which, for the first time in our history, Australia has joined as an aggressor.
Not because we are directly threatened.
Not because the UN has determined it.
But because the U.S. asked us to.
A war our troops will engage in when Commander Tommy Franks of the United States gives the order.
A war which exposes them to great risk.
A war which will cause great humanitarian damage to innocent men, women and children in Iraq.
A war unnecessary to achieve the disarmament of Iraq because there remained an alternate way.
Saddam Hussein must be disarmed, but this is not the way.
I speak to you today, not only as Labor leader and Leader of the Opposition, but on behalf of millions of Australians who share opposition to this war….

John Howard in the House of Representatives at a later date:

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