Sly, Cunning Bastards

Wow, everyone really must miss me. Ben Fowler’s hitting my hot buttons too!

Ben writes:

Australians here, amongst others might be aware that our beloved PM has recently gotten some flak over intelligence he and his conservative cronies used to gatecrash the war in Iraq.

The problem with this is that Ben’s not talking about the simplest and most valid justification for removing the Hussein regime from Iraq: humanitarian concerns. The stories now being reported about Iraqi prisons, or mass graves or genocide. I have no idea how anyone can seriously claim that the war in Iraq was unjustified given the results we’re unearthing.

And then there are the issues of intelligence failure. Why weren’t we horrified by the inhumane regime we were about to oust, irrespective of the threat to national security? The answer to that is easy — self censorship and propaganda pretending to be objective reporting by our major networks — see “The News We Kept To Ourselves”.

That’s not to say that what we got before the war was the best justification for war. It’s difficult to put someone else’s life on the line to make things better for a stranger; and that’s what going to war for humanitarian reasons means. Putting your own life on the line, sure. Putting soldiers’ lives on the line to defend their country, sure. Helping remove a vicious, murderous, tyrant from power over a country of some twenty million, without any loss of life on our own behalf? Priceless.

But it was the risk of weapons of mass destruction that Mr Howard used to justify the war, and Iraq’s potential terrorist links (either presently or in the future) that justified the risk to our soldiers. And since we’ve had freedom of movement in Iraq, we’ve found mobile labs whose only plausible purpose is apparently weapons development, buried instructions for building nuclear devices, and all sorts of interesting documents. In light of what we now know, is the claim that Iraq was likely to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists particularly implausible? Certainly there seems to be plenty of evidence to support such a claim, even if not enough to make it irrefutable.

Ben writes:

While I admit a decent measure of contempt for his politics, I’m in dumbstruck awe of his ability to survive and prosper despite having run out of any sort of moral or economic credibility years ago.

It’s interesting that steadfastly holding to his principles in spite of a great degree of criticism to involving Australia in a war that resulted in the liberation of more people than live in Australia, with minimal casualties on both sides of the equation, no refugee crisis, and that appears to be acting as a catalyst for good in the rest of the Middle East (you’ve heard of the protests in Iran right? and the removal of US troops from Saudi Arabia?), in response to all of that, Mr Howard has lost any sort of moral credibility. Meanwhile, in spite of weathering the dot-com burst, and worrying economic situations in the US and Europe and Asia, and managing to sustain economic growth and keep unemployment dropping, Mr Howard has also lost any sort of economic credibility.

Clearly Lady Luck must be an unabashed right-winger to continue smiling on us so, since our circumstances are obviously contrary to the skill and convictions of our parliamentary leaders.

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