On the Iraq war

James Burke writes: Re. “Put Bush, Blair and Howard in the dock for democracy’s sake” (yesterday). Bravo to your call for accountability over Iraq. But you omitted to mention that when the US, UK and Australia launched that “war of choice”, we were already at war in Afghanistan, against the terrorists of Al Qaeda and the Taliban regime which sheltered them. From 2002 onwards, Iraq diverted both resources and attention from Afghanistan. 41 Australian soldiers have died in the Afghanistan deployment. all but one of them since the Iraq invasion. If the Iraq invasion hadn’t happened, would those soldiers still be alive? I’m yet to hear that question asked of John Howard, let alone answered.

Ignaz Amrein writes: As much as I passionately disagree with Bernard Keane on many occasions, I am absolutely, positively on the same page with him this time. It is about time that politicians have to take responsibility for decisions that kill and harm thousands of people. They are there to farewell and welcome back soldiers going to and returning from battle. They are attending funerals of soldiers killed in battle, but, where are they when soldiers are laid to rest who killed themselves because they could not cope with their experiences participating in wars they led them into. They are cowards, because cowards don’t take responsibility for their actions! They don’t deserve any respect!

John Richardson writes: In casting about for a modern definition of “accountability”, Bernard Keane wonders: “If there’s no holding to account for an act of mass murder costing hundreds of thousands of lives, resulting from deliberate falsehood and wilful misjudgement, one that has cost the West trillions in resources, one that continues to claim the lives of Iraqis and Syrians, former Western military personnel, and Western civilians, then what accountability exists at all for political elites?”. Is Bernard really the only person in the universe who doesn’t know the answer to that question?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey