John not listening 

One Man's Web > Politics and Ethics > Iraq War > John not listening
March 7 2003

On Feb 12 Ian McPhederan posted the story "Retired defence chief hits `madness'"

Former Chief of Defence Admiral Alan Beaumont accused the Government of "madness" in pursuing war against Iraq.  He said there was no justification for war without UN backing and little justification with it. Beaumant claimed he had discussed the war with "about 30 former top brass" reporting "No one I know supports the Government's position, not one." 
The Australian defence chief during the Gulf War, General Peter Gration, warned war without the UN could lead to a breakdown of the world order and Returned Services League national president, retired Major General Peter Phillips, said: "Without UN backing we shouldn't be going." The RSL usually seems pretty gung ho on these things, and tends to be  socially conservative like the PM.... maybe John ought to listen when all the professionals are so cool (to put it mildly) on the idea of going to war!

This was reported in the Advertiser Website on Feb 12 2003. In today's Advertiser a month later, and on the News Website John Howard is headlined as saying we could attack Iraq without the UN

Patrick Walters and Roy Eccleston report he has "dismissed the need for a second UN resolution despite growing international dissent over US determination to topple Saddam Hussein." They report China, France, Russia and Germany all reject military action.  He claims the war would be "legal even without UN backing."  This reminds Jan of the schoolyard kids lining up behind the bully, despite the school rules.  We all know that even if the bully sorted some real shit of a kid, the teachers never sanctioned that behaviour.  The ends do not justify departing from the established order.  And that's even if the bully is not out to steal the kid's oil, sorry, lunchbox

Howard says,  "Let me make it very clear to this parliament that this Government will never act in breach of international law.  I want to make it clear that any action we take will be action we regard as being consistent with international law."

Jan think that is doublespeak for "we will define international law to suit us, so we can keep sucking up to Uncle Sam."

Leader of the House, Tony Abbot promised that "This parliament will have a vote before Australian forces go into action in Iraq, if it comes to that."  Will Labor have the guts to stand up to them, and are there enough Liberals who have guts and conscience to cross the floor and stay out of the madness?  One imagines Howard will not try this in the Senate, where he would be outvoted.

Meanwhile, the people still beg to differ with John.  The major regional city of Wollongong
(News link live 7/3/2003) has decided to defect to France in protest. An alliance of the city council, employers and unions- now that is a broad base plans to appeal to the Consul General of France to allow its municipality to 'defect' in protest at the Federal Government's Iraq stance .

A Wollongong delegation  including no less than the Lord Mayor Alex Darling, is making the request of the Consul General of France in Sydney next Tuesday. He is reported as saying 
"I believe one of the most effective things we can do is to initiate an urgent campaign of faxes, emails and other expressions of support ... to urge France to exercise their veto."

And Jan, along with other Australians wonders about Canada.  With the longest unarmed border in the world with, yes, the USA, Canada seems to have no need to suck up to the world's superpower.  On the ABC's World Today program  John Highfield (link live 7/3/2003) commented "Even as we've been hearing today of John Howard Government support for the Bush administration and its policy on Iraq, across the northern border of the United States, in Canada, there the government has a very different position. The Canadian government is much closer to the European position, firmly against military action unless there's United Nations backing for it." Canadians are much more like us Aussies than the Yanks.  We have a similar heritage.  So why is little Johnny so keen to be a junior American when the Canadians have found no need to kowtow to their neighbour?Nicholson Cartoon (c) Nicholson, used by permission

Meanwhile, back in Adelaide, 7,000 students left school and marched against the war.  They stated the obvious, "Of course this is not supporting Saddam Hussein," something John doesn't want to hear.  My 16 year old son went back to school, and arrived at work hours later still stoked.  Kid's aren't as staid as us oldies.  Not much of this "No war, No war" chanting for them, he reported.  "Howard's a wanker, Howard's a wanker!" was the cry.  And "Howard's a fuck-wit."  And Jan wonders if out of the mouth of teenagers there might not come the truth!

Use of Nicholson's cartoons is free in a non
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