18 March 2003

a melancholy duty
Well, it's done. The troops have their orders. Iraq's diplomats have been told to leave the country. Australia goes to war to enforce the will of the UN against the will of the UN. Howard's statement to the house of representatives is barely worth reading, it adds nothing new to his previous position. The legal advice to the Australian government strangely repeats the exact arguments used by the British attorney-general. It's deeply weird that the coalition of the killing is now relying on UNSC Resolution 687 and 678 still being in force when those resolutions have not been mentioned until now, hours before the bombs start hitting.

Menzies in 1939:
"Fellow Australians,
It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of a persistence by Germany and her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement.

Great Britain and France with the cooperation of the British Dominions have struggled to avoid this tragedy. They have, as I firmly believe, been patient. They have kept the door of negotiation open. They have given no cause for aggression.

But in the result their efforts have failed and we are therefore, as a great family of nations, involved in a struggle which we must at all costs win and which we believe in our hearts we will win."

It would have been nice if something had changed in 63 years apart from the great and powerful friends who decide war and peace for us. Unlike 1939 this war is aggression, plain and simple. Its only intellectual justification is the nonsense about dominoes of mass destruction streaming from Blair, Bush and Howard. And all it took for Australia to make war on Iraq was a phone call from Washington. Howard should just have published the transcript of the Bush phone call.

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