Thecuriousmail’s Weblog

The Big Lie is no longer believed: most people now do not trust politicians, or have faith in the political process.

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on September 12, 2017

john howard

Trust in politicians and faith in the political process in western-style democracies is at historic lows,  and still trending downward.

I am concerned here with the circumstances of Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war. Certain dates and facts are indisputable: what Howard was told, and when he was told it; when and what Howard said publicly to the Australian people.
If these facts were presented in a trial in a court of law, I am certain the judge would think Howard was either delusional,  or a perjurer, such is the contradiction between what actually occurred, and what Howard said occurred.
What then for trust in politicians and faith in the political process,  when the prime minister of Australia can so clearly mislead the Australian people? And Howard has escaped punishment, has never been held fully accountable for his lies, and will continue to be rewarded with generous taxpayer-funded benefits and privileges.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians marched against the war, but they were ignored, and he continued to lie. Tho the deception was not by Howard alone; senior members of the government parroted the lies (despite knowing the truth), and the Opposition too supported Howard without reservation. As trust and faith continue to decline from already low levels, a point will be reached where the people will decisively act in favour of change. The lies, secrecy and incompetence of politicians,   the inability of the political process to reflect the people’s will, no expeditious mechanism for the citizen to challenge political  lies, distortion and over-reach, and a judiciary acquiescent to the demands of the elite and the maintenance of the status quo, these things will result in a change unresistable.
Below is a reprint from The Independent Australia.

John Howard’s continued lies about the reasons for invading Iraq in the face of the scathing Chilcot Report remind us of his deep dishonesty and poor judgement, writes editor Sandi Keane.

BACK IN 2004, the “who can you trust” slogan was effective. It won Howard the election. Such was George W. Bush’s admiration, he stole the line for his own campaign.

But Howard and trust parted company when we found out Australia had invaded Iraq in 2003 on the basis of a lie. He had exaggerated the threat of Sadam Hussein. There were no weapons of mass destruction. This information was known to the U.S., Britain and Australia almost two years before the Coalition of the Willing’s invasion of Iraq (see below).

After the release of the Chilcot Report, Britain is now confronting its ties to the United States as one of the Coalition of the Only Too Willing that cost British lives. A contrite Tony Blair responded by saying:

“I express more sorrow, regret and apology that you can ever know or believe”

whilst maintaining he’d made the right decision

But unlike even Tony Blair, Howard says he has no regrets about Iraq. Australians are unlikely to ever see him apologise. It isn’t within his “little man” character to ever apologise for his dishonesty and poor judgement. His failure to repent is a character flaw. Jumping on the Bush bandwagon and “shirt-fronting” Saddam Hussein from the safety of his Canberra bunker would have given Howard the chance to shake off his little man image and become the people’s hero. As I will later demonstate in this article, by way of evidence, his memoir ‘Lazarus Rising’ is full of boastful flights of fancy (like claiming to be East Timor’s “liberating hero”) and is, as such, a litany of lies.

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Invasion in April 2013, Howard gave an Iraq retrospective lecture for the the Lowy Institute. He seized the moral high ground in true Pecksniffian style, labelling claims about flawed intelligence as “notorious” meriting the most “emphatic rejection”.

Following the Chilcot Inquiry showing that the intelligence was, indeed, “flawed” and the invasion a “strategic blunder”, Howard remains unrepentant. How unsurprising for a man of his weak character.

The anniversary turned the spotlight back on the allies and this shameful chapter in our history. Peter Hartcher’s ‘Blind allies of mass destruction’ in the Sydney Morning Herald accused Howard, Bush and Blair of collaborating in a war built on a lie that cost the lives of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

Lazarus Rising — Howard’s truth-dodging memoir, best described as “Lazarus Lying

Political memoirs offer a chance to “fess up” and clear the slate as a salute to historical accuracy, not to mention accountability — a last chance to make good. But, sadly, this was not the case in John Howard’s, self-serving, truth-dodging memoir, Lazarus Rising.

The prime minister was in Washington at the time of 9/11. He knew President Bush was looking to fit Saddam Hussein up when he instructed his intelligence aids to come back with a link in spite of U.S. intelligence having dismissed Saddam’s possession of WMDs years before.

In Lazarus Rising (p 427), Howard tries to justify that it was

‘…right to act on a reasonably entertained belief that Iraq did possess WMDs (p 425) by claiming that concern about WMDs was “soundly based in fact.’

Untrue. Fully two years before the invasion of Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, declaredin Cairo of Saddam Hussein:

“He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”

Furthermore, five months after Powell’s speech, the National Security Adviser, Condaleeza Rice, in an interview on national U.S. television put the lie to the US government’s own propaganda when she declared:

“Saddam has been disarmed and his military forces have not been rebuilt.”

Unlike John Howard, Colin Powell has publicly confessed his shame at having supported the lie about WMDs.

As revealed by The Age back in 2004, Australia’s primary military agency, the Defence Intelligence Organisation,also rejected claims that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction”.

Our military and diplomatic elders call for truth on the invasion of Iraq

On 8 August, 2004, a statement by a concerned group of former service chiefs and Australian diplomats was published in The Sydney Morning Herald calling for “honest, considered and balanced foreign and security policies”.

Following exposure of the lie about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”, former diplomat, Richard Woolcott, helped co-ordinate the group of 43 former service chiefs and diplomats who called for more honesty in government.

Woolcott told Independent Australia in an interview for my article ‘John Howard: Lazarus Lying’ that central to the group’s concerns was the lack of honesty in Howard’s statement in March 2003 that his policy was ‘the disarmament of Iraq, not the removal of Saddam Hussein’, and that ‘if Saddam got rid of his weapons of mass destruction he could remain in power.’

The U.S., Britain and Denmark have all conducted inquiries into the Iraq invasion, but not Australia.  Will John Howard be man enough to hang his head in shame? Don’t hold your breath!

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