The Iraq War

2 July 2012

The contrast to Britain's collective soul-searching over the Iraq War through the Chilcott Inquiry could not be more stark than in Australia, writes Professor Ben Saul.

In an article in ABC's The Drum, Professor Saul writes that here in Australia the war has long been forgotten.

"Since the withdrawal of Australian troops, there is an unspoken bipartisan agreement to bury the inconvenient past.

"There are no calls for an inquiry.

"As one Australian journalist said to me, Iraq is no longer a story.

"An Australian inquiry should examine the decision-making that led us to war, including the intelligence assessments, political and strategic calculations, and legal arguments.

"A particular focus should be whether any Australian government officials committed the international crime of aggression- that is, waging an illegal war against peace.

"It may be recalled that after the Nuremberg trials, we executed Nazi war leaders for the crime of aggression.

An inquiry is also an opportunity to look forward, to improve our decision-making about future wars.

"For instance, when waging war is an executive prerogative as in Australia, with no role for Parliament, there is precious little to hold back a government bent on the war path.

"This can be our salvation when the nation is faced by a supreme emergency threatening its shores."

View the entire article - Iraq war: burying the inconvenient past - ABC's The Drum