2012 Call for an Iraq War Inquiry
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a humanitarian, legal, political and strategic disaster. It has left a trail of death and destruction and millions of refugees. It has undermined the role of international law and strengthened terrorism.
Australia’s role in the war raised very serious questions of government honesty and accountability. If we do not learn lessons from this episode, we are at grave risk of engaging in equally ill-founded wars in the future.
There are many unanswered questions in relation to Australia’s decision to go to war. They include:
- What was the Government’s decision-making process and timing that led to our participation in the invasion?
- What were the objectives, and how was success to be defined?
- How did the Government reconcile conflicting intelligence assessments?
- How did the Government attempt to satisfy itself of the legality of the invasion?
- Which of the many NGO predictions of widespread and severe civilian suffering, including by children, did the Government consider? If none, why not?
- To what extent were the statements made to the Parliament and the public consistent with all the available relevant assessments?
Australian troops are entrusted to help safeguard our security. Any suspicion that their lives, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, have been placed in jeopardy on the basis of anything other than the most robust and rigorous decision making process, cannot be ignored.
Both the UK and the Netherlands have initiated official inquiries into their own involvement in the war; Australia has not. Nearly a decade after the war commenced, it is time we did so.
We call for an independent inquiry into the decisions that led to Australia invading Iraq, to draw out what lessons can be learned for the future, and a review of the war powers of the government.