June 2003 #1

Truth and Morality in the Aftermath of War

In the last 18 months we've been treated to the appalling spectacle of the World Trade centre collapse, the terror inflicted on innocent men, women and children just off our Northern shores and have watched our political masters send our troops into wars against nations that were no threat to us. Yet as time goes by it seems those who raised doubts about the veracity of the justifications offered for war and terror on the high seas may be about to witness the vindication of their claims.

You will recall that in the immediate aftermath of the S11 events, we, along with our British and US brothers and sisters, were told that we were now living in an age of terrorism (but we already new that, except it was our terror and we dare not name it as such). The response of the hawks was to invoke the spectre of "perpetual war" against an invisible enemy that would strike anywhere, anytime and without warning.

Following the (still yet to be proved) links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, the US president declared to the "civilised" nations, "You are either with us, or against us". Following this declaration of war the US prepared to launch its attack on Iraq and called its "coalition of the willing" together. Britain and Australia jumped on board, even though the vast majority of their citizens opposed the declaration of war.

As time grew closer to the invasion, we were told, repeatedly, that Saddam had amassed huge stockpiles of "weapons of mass destruction" and that if Iraq was not invaded and the tyrant overthrown, these weapons would rain terror across the globe.

However we now find, in the startling admission by White House hawk, avowed Zionist and Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz that the propaganda about WMD's was ramped up because it was the "one reason [for going to war] everyone could agree on". This excuse was, as olfowitz puts it, a bureaucratic response to the impasse created by Collin Powell and his British counterpart, Jack Straw's, initial reluctance to accept the intelligence, which we now find was as flawed as they suspected. Wolfowitz's comments came hot on the heels of his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, admitting that WMD's will probably never be found.

In other words, after the US has recalled it first batch of military weapons inspectors who failed to find anything of even remote interest and after the
so-called "mobile lab" has been exposed as a crude attempt to bolster justification for the war, there was never any substance to the justifications our so called leaders offered as reasons for going to war.

At present in both the US and Britain there is growing disquiet as those brave enough to speak out call for congressional and parliamentary investigations into the pretexts for war. Furthermore, some in Britain are calling for a full investigation of their force's use of illegal cluster bombs during the war. After citing chapter and verse the Geneva Conventions and swearing that British forces would never use illegal weapons or tactics, the British Armed Forces minister, Adam Ingram, has now admitted that the illegal weapons were used in civilian areas.

In the US, Secretary of State Powell attempts to defend his ham fisted efforts to convince the world of the need for war by stating that he didn't make anything up and that all his information was from the intelligence community who, he says, he wanted to make sure were "comfortable" with everything he would say in public.

And this returns us to home.

Remember a little more that 18 months ago when pictures were held up by the then Defense Minister Peter Reith who declared - here is the proof that children were thrown overboard. Remember Foreign Minister Alexander Downer declaring that 'we don't want people like that here'. And remember John Howard telling us that unless we wanted them here, and on our terms, no one was welcome in OUR country. 

We know now what many suspected even then, that the evidence produced was false, just like most of Tony Blair's "dossier" has been proved to be either gross exaggerations or just plain wrong. Both of these campaigns were concocted as a propaganda exercises, devised to exaggerate the threat and stifle debate.

We now find Blair, Bush, Howard, Downer, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Ingram and their minions are being exposed for what they are - liars and cheats.

Remember when Howard, Crean and, god help us, Beasley were queuing up to greet the troops on their return? Why weren't our media asking for details of what targets our troops and air force destroyed? Surely, given the British revelations, its about time we found out if our troops were ordered to target civilian areas. It is not enough for us as a so-called "civil" society, to allow our political leaders to obfuscate and hide from us what our troops did while in Iraq.

While the media was happy to show pictures of crying wives and happy children glad to welcome their men folk home from battle (was I the only one to miss seeing any female troop reunited with the husbands or boyfriends?) and as they hyped up the "triumph" of their return, why did they not ask the questions that needed to be asked? Why are the media so timid and afraid to question what is spoon fed to them? Why is our media so afraid to ask questions of morality and humanity?

As calls come for investigations into the intelligence networks and communications processes that allowed our leaders to be fooled and that prompted our media to declare a war on peace, we must, as a community, demand a full investigation, not only into the intelligence aspects of the war, but also of the roles our armed forces played in that war.

As we saw with the inquiry into the children overboard affair, the moral aspects of the debate were quarantined from examination. There was no discussion of substance about the moral aspects of the political process nor the moral responsibility we should demand from our political leaders as they rule over us.

I fear that there will be inquiries in the US, Britain and here. I fear it because once the terms of reference are sealed, there will not be any focus on
morality, humanity or truth. Rather the inquiries will be over-run with endless "facts" on who said what to whom, at what time and when. In other words, those calling for the sacking of the men and women who misled us, will be offered, perhaps, a few minor scalps while those like Wolfowitz and his fellow Zionists like Richard Perle, our own leaders like Downer and Howard and other liars like Blair and Bush will be exonerated or so distanced from the lies and deceit as to portray them as the innocent conveyors of bad information passed on to them and accepted in good

As our ruling party continues to justify the illegal detention and incarceration of asylum seekers and remains arrogant and aloof, those who oppose their inhumane policies must redouble their efforts to overthrow the corrupt and vile regimes that have grown up around us.

A man of peace was once asked, "what is truth?" His reply was silence as he stood before his inquisitor, condemned as an innocent man. While his silence was an appropriate response to his situation, and indeed can be a powerful strategic manoeuvre, for those who are still free and able to speak out, to remain silent is to betray and deny our own and our fellow traveller's humanity.

Unless we speak out now and demand truth from our leaders, silence will be the only response from those voices we fail to acknowledge as coming from those who suffer due to our lack of will.