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Crikey says: Parliament must debate airstrikes on IS

The foreign cartel gunning for our ISPs. Keane on the Iraq War re-run. Insiders claim ABC budget cuts are far worse than expected. True depths of Tinkler skulduggery revealed. Keating autobio on the cards? Mike Carlton: Israeli ceasefire means Hamas wins. Senior SBS staff boned. Razer mourns the death of bad taste. Why uni vice-chancellors are siding with Pyne. Stilgherrian on the latest NBN modelling. And nature calls for Palmer during press conference.

What will be the basis in international law for any Australian participation in airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria? What evidence will the government provide, beyond rhetoric about the barbarity of IS, that intervention will make Australians safer? Will our intelligence agencies be allowed to provide adequate detail of their assessment of what impact Australia’s participation will have? And, most of all, will our Parliament debate Australia’s role in such an intervention?

Members of Congress in the United States — from both sides — have already demanded that the expansion of the United States mission in relation to IS be debated and authorised by Congress. “We all share concerns about the Islamic State’s brutal tactics and further destabilization of the region,” the group wrote. “But current military operations now underway in Iraq appear to be beyond the scope of these limited purposes, and even greater expansion is under discussion. These are serious matters that require congressional debate and a vote on whether to authorize them.”

Indeed. Parliament must be permitted to discuss any involvement by Australia in attacks on Islamic State militants, and whether they are in Australia’s national interest. At this point, there is no evidence that IS presents a threat to Australia, despite the relentless hype about its barbarity. If the government has evidence otherwise, let’s see it, and Parliament can debate whether it is sufficient to justify committing Australian forces back into the Middle East.

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  • 1
    Tamas Calderwood
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    IS’s barbarity is more than just “hype”. Those severed heads and cold blooded executions are real.

  • 2
    ianjohnno
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    So were the WMDs, Mr Calderwood.

  • 3
    mdsmedia
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    ianjohnno, Are you seriously doubting the 10s of thousands of Iraqis, mostly Christians, evacuated from Mosul? I think there’s probably a little more to the evidence than there was for WMD.

  • 4
    John Hamer
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    totally agree with the points made by Tamas Calderwood and mdsmedia. Crikey’s editorial is total drivel. To label the actions of the Islamic State as rhetoric and relentless hype is an insult. Australia should adopt the same basis in international law that the Islamic State follows. Or is Crikey suggesting that Australia should ignore the IS invasion of Syria in the hope that it will go away. Dream on! Do not insult subscribers or you will find many will become former subscribers.

  • 5
    ianjohnno
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    What I saying is that, on past performance, the US, UK and our own government can not be trusted. There was lots of “plausible” evidence for WMDs and many of us fell for it.

    If the reports are correct, then we helped cause it so we must help, but I will require evidence from reputable sources if such entities still exist.

  • 6
    Zeke
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    ianjohnno@5

    We” did not help cause the problems in Iraq at all. It was all the doing of John Howard who bypassed parliament, called the 1 million Australians marching to stop the Iraq invasion “rabble” and went ahead with the invasion on the basis of a dire security threat to the world from Saddam Hussein’s “WMD”.

    Tamas: I don’t see our Super Hornets scrambling to bomb Israel for their brutality toward the Palestinian people trapped in Gaza. Apparently, “cold-bloodedness” is in the eye of the beholder. One journalist losing his head gets you all steamed up, but a thousand Palestinians, including children killed by Israeli weaponry does nothing for you. “The Israelis are only protecting themselves”… yep, sounds like something familiar… from around the 1940s…

    I see our glorious team leader badmouthing Russia for its help provided to Ukrainian separatists, but no badmouthing of the USA for bombing Iraq and Syria, after previously providing Syrian rebels (now called the “Islamic State”) with military support.

    The Australian people have nothing at all to do with the dog’s breakfast in Iraq. If Abbott wants to play the military ruler then he can pay for the invasion himself, under a “team Australia” boxing kangaroo flag.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We’ve helped invade Iraq twice, and the result is suicide bombings in Iraq on a massive scale and the rise of fundamentalists trying to redress the false balance left in place by the “Coalition of the Willing”, favouring the Kurds and Shiites and against the Sunnies.

    If you want to stop radicalizing Australians then stop bombing and invading the countries where they’ve still got relatives. It’s not rocket science. Perhaps our politicians should also stop using “terrorism” and its related hysterical themes to avoid difficult domestic political problems.

    I’ve got more chance of slipping over and dying in my own bathroom than of dying in a terrorist attack. Billions of our hard earned tax dollars are used up on this stupidity. How many more of our military personnel are going to suffer PTSD, physical injuries or worse, just so Abbott can try to bury his domestic political woes?

    I live not very far from one of our RAAF bases and the activity in the last months has been unprecedented. They’ve been planning this for some time.

  • 7
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Parliament must debate airstrikes on IS. If the past coalition form is any guide Australian voting sheeple, don’t count on it.

  • 8
    CML
    Posted Thursday, 28 August 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Bravo! Crikey. We should keep out of this bloody mess, which is yet another religious war that has been going on since the 7th century. There will be NO end to this fracas, just as in the past. So what is the point exactly?
    In answer to the four questions posed in the first paragraph of this article: NONE, NONE, NO & NO!! Neither we, nor the parliament, will be given ANY say in the decision. The present government has already said it is the prerogative of the PM and the executive.
    Time to take to the streets again? Not that it did us much good last time!!

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