Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Australian PM speaks out against Iraq War/Invasion

via ChinaView

Australian PM criticizes former gov't over Iraq commitment

CANBERRA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday attacked the previous government for committing Australia to the Iraq war.

Making a ministerial statement before parliament's question time, Rudd said the Labor Party had never supported the Howard government's decision to go to war back in March 2003.

Former prime minister John Howard had at the time presented four reasons for going to war: to prevent further terrorist attacks, to stop Iraq giving weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to terrorists, to prevent other rogue states giving WMD to terrorists and to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

But Rudd said on every count the Labor rejected these arguments, as further terrorist attacks have not been prevented, no evidence of a link between WMD and the former Iraqi regime and terrorists have been found, the actions of rogue states have not been moderated, nor have the humanitarian crisis in Iraq been removed

Rudd said the manner in which the decision to go to war had been made was of utmost concern.

Australia must never repeat the same mistakes it made when it became involved in the conflict, Rudd said.

"The decision to go to war was taken without a full and proper assessment by the (Howard) government of its consequences," he said.

The decision to go to war had had a number of consequences for the nation, including a great financial cost, which Rudd put at more than 2.3 billion dollars (2.19 billion U.S. dollars).

He also said the decision to invade Iraq without the United Nations approval had set a dangerous precedent and had undermined the international system