Parliament split on going to war: Remember 2003?

As calls increase for reform of the flawed process by which Australian troops can be sent to war, and in particular for parliamentary debate and vote before ADF deployments to armed conflict, some standard arguments against such decision-making by parliament continue to be offered. They remain unconvincing. The latest articulation of these arguments was made on 30 June 2017 by Dr Anthony Bergin during his lecture entitled “Parliament and national security: Challenges and opportunities,” in the Senate Occasional Lecture Series.

Pleasingly, Dr Bergin acknowledged that parliamentarians are under-utilised in matters of national security, and he contributed useful ideas, especially …

AWPR media briefings released ahead of 12th anniversary of invasion of Iraq

Released in the lead up to the 12th anniversary of the war on Iraq in March 2015

the new media briefing kit from Australians for War Powers Reform offers seven papers on issues of importance when considering the question of reforming Australia’s war powers.

The media briefing kit includes:

  • WAR POWERS REFORM: why it’s needed and why now

    This paper argues that under present arrangements, committing the Australian Defence Force to international armed conflict (currently the prerogative of the Executive) is far too easy for such a grave and far-reaching matter

    Read More >

  • AUSTRALIA’S PROCESS FOR GOING TO WAR

Here we go again: Tony Abbott’s Iraq adventure

The following is the text of a presentation by CIWI President Paul Barratt to the Sydney Chapter of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, on the evening of Tuesday 10 February 2015.

BEGINS

Here we go again.

Australia is once more embarked upon military operations in the Middle East, again at the behest of the United States, and again without a clear definition of what the aims are or what we might hope to achieve.

Australia’s stance in relation to this conflict shifted so rapidly – from air-dropping humanitarian supplies to delivering arms and then positioning Special Forces on the …

Ramesh Thakur on the Chutzpah of the Iraq War Neocons and Fellow Travellers

On 25 June 2014 Professor Ramesh Thakur of the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy contributed a piece on the above subject to the Australian Institute of International Affairs’ online journal Australian Outlook.

He begins:

Two years ago, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu condemned the ‘immorality’ of the Iraq invasion: ‘in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague’. Like the …

Iraq invasion, Iraq War, John Howard, War Powers

This morning Sunday 13 April 2013 CIWI President Paul Barratt participated in a panel discussion on the ABC Radio National program “Outsiders”, a segment of its morning current affairs program Sunday Extra.

The host was Jonathan Green, and the other participants were:

– Trisha Jha, active student feminist and past candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party in the ACT

– Nick Feik, Chief Executive of The Monthly’s SlowTV.

Our subjects were

– Former Prime Minister John Howard’s recent address to the Lowy Institute about his Government’s decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq

– The recently announced to …

Paul Barratt on the Iraq Invasion, March 2003

 

From the dwindling number of people who still think that the March 2003 invasion of Iraq was a good idea, there is beginning to emerge a self-justifying little spin line that the critics of the war are taking advantage of “20/20 hindsight”. Mainstream media outlets that are either lazy or happy to excuse their failings in relation to their own analysis and reportage are more than willing, as they have been for more than a decade, to facilitate this approach to exculpation.

So in the interests of getting my own position on the record (again), I reproduce below the …