26 June 2013 - It takes a particular kind of courage for people in public life to admit that they got something wrong, even after their error is publicly obvious. All three leaders who planned and executed the 2003 invasion of Iraq said at the time that they would take ultimate responsibility for the war, but none of them did. For ten years, neither George W. Bush, Tony Blair, nor John Howard has said they were wrong, let alone admitted that life for many Iraqis is nastier and shorter than before the 2003 invasion.
Their claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons didn't stand up in 2003, and they don't now. What Howard and Alexander Downer said publicly didn't accurately reflect what they were told by the Defence InteIligence Organisation and the Office of National Assessments. This was reconfirmed in April by a former secretary of the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee, Margaret Swieringa.
Yet Howard believed Saddam Hussein had WMD, apparently because Bush and Blair did. Having unilaterally invoked ANZUS after 9/11, he was determined to support Bush's 'war on terror' even in defiance of the Security Council and international law. So Australians would fight, kill, and die, not for what the government knew, but for what three leaders believed, and for Howard's interpretation of ANZUS .
If they now accepted the evidence, Bush, Blair and Howard could deploy the streaker's defence and say it seemed like a good idea at the time. Instead, Bush is silent, Blair says it was right to eliminate Saddam Hussein, and Howard ducks responsibility, telling Sydney's Lowy Institute on 9 April that the intelligence agencies got key assessments wrong. read more>>>