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 …

ANZUS minus NZ, again?

Tony Abbott’s visit to New Zealand on 26 February was carefully coordinated with John Key’s announcement of a Kiwi military deployment to Iraq. At 143 ‘combat-trainers’ it wasn’t as large as the 3500 troops the Australian Prime Minister had proposed on 21 February. But for a while it seemed the New Zealanders had upstaged us by having the agreement of the Baghdad government to their presence on the ground.

Now we discover that the NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully has gone to Iraq, just as Julie Bishop did in October 2014, to try to secure a Status of Forces …

STATEMENT on the death of Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH

Death of Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH

On this 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry/Australians for War Powers Reform expresses its deep sorrow at the news of the passing of Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH.

Mr Fraser was a foundation member of our movement, having attended in early 2012 a meeting in Melbourne which convened to consider how we might best campaign for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the decision-making process that led to Australia’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the relocation …

Describing ISIL as a “Death Cult” is a ploy to dumb us down.

Prime Minister Abbott’s constant reference to ISIL as a “Death Cult” is a gross over-simplification of a complex conflict in the Arab world. It is intended to exploit the gullibility of a great many Australians who take little interest in and have little understanding of that part of the world as they do not see it as affecting their personal interests, let alone that of the nation.

By deepening Australia’s military involvement in Iraq – which demonstrates that this government has learnt nothing from recent history – Australia is aligning with one dubious side over others in what is clearly …

Creepy Mission

So to no-one’s surprise, the Prime Minister says we are now in the ‘next phase’ of the fight against whatever it’s called. ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh, you name it, has recently become a ‘death cult which is reaching out to us here in this country’. So the Martin Place siege proves the death cult is here among us, and hence that we are defending Australia.

In fact, it is an opportunistic minority Sunni assault on the Shia government of Iraq, a country divided in three by ancient religious differences and modern power politics.

What interest has Australia (or New Zealand) …

Media release: No Clear Mission – No SOFA?

MEDIA RELEASE

WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH, 2015

No clear mission – no SOFA?

Following Prime Minister Abbott’s announcement of additional troops for Iraq, Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) have expressed serious concern at the lack of clearly articulated goals that will be met by the deployments.   While the PM has denied any ‘mission creep’, this is exactly what is happening, with our role in Iraq having evolved significantly since August-September last year.

AWPR President and former Defence Department head Paul Barratt said,

“Step by step Australia is being drawn into a vicious sectarian war of enormous complexity, with no apparent …

The importance of monitoring civilian losses

In late 2002, US journalist Helen Thomas strongly opposed the impending invasion of Iraq. Unlike many of her colleagues, whom she regarded as having a groupthink or “herd mentality”, she asked tough questions, considered by the herd as unpatriotic, at presidential press conferences. On one occasion in exasperation she asked White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer,

“Ari, why does the president want to kill thousands of people?”  The reply came: “Why are you saying that, Helen?   They have a dictator! They have no say in their country!”

The notion that people unfortunate enough to be born under the rule of a …

Are we again on the brink of further “Mission Creep” in Iraq?

In his 2015 State of the Union address President Obama noted that Iraq War No 3 (not his term) “will take time”, meaning there is no end in sight. But what is it that  will take time? What would be its end? Does anyone have any realistic idea about that given that a militant cancer is spreading throughout the Middle East?

The US has recently committed a further 3,000 troops to Iraq though officially their ‘combat roles’ are confined to air strikes in Iraq and Syria. It is not hard to envisage that before the US can reduce troop levels …