Iraq != Sudan

Mr Howard responds to Annan’s statement that the Iraq war is illegal (question for the press – I’d really, really like to see that flawed “advice” Mr Howard has received about the war. Everything I have seen clearly identifies the war as a breach of international law – so, stop letting him off with an unchallenged defence!).

Mr Howard doesn’t just disagree, he then goes on to compare the lack of consensus surrounding resolutions pertaining to Iraq with those being discussed regarding Sudan. IMO, this is a disgusting comparison.

The opposition and lack of consensus regarding waging war on Iraq was a reflection of disagreement about the best way to deal with a specific, non-immediate, threat for which there were many possible solutions (despite claims by the coalition partners to the contrary, there was no credible evidence that there was an imminent threat at the time – read Andrew Wilkie’s book for more on that particular front).

The biggest threat to the Iraqi people at the time (and the only imminent threat was to the Iraqi people), reponsible for an estimated 5000 deaths a month, were the UN imposed sanctions – criticised by former UN officials Richard Butler and Hans von Sponek at the time as being ineffective in their aim and devastating on the civilian population.

In Sudan there is a demonstrated threat with clear consequences and clear evidence of the government being responsible (at best their involvement is only partial). Action to protect innocent lives is required – this is not a declaration of war on a sovereign state – it is a temporary intervention to stem the massive loss of life. Calls for a prompt response are centered around putting the lives of innocent civilians ahead of politics.

The Iraq war even failed this most narrow of tests – over 12,000 innocent people have died in the Iraq war and the instability created by a poorly executed mission, far from accomplished, threatens even more. Up to four times more than the innocent civilians killed on September 11, 2001 (an atrocity that the people of Iraq, nor Saddam, had nothing to do with). Meanwhile, estimates that tens of thousands will die in Sudan, failing immediate intervention, are being made.

It is a sick gesture from the Prime Minister. I hope that Labor will roundly condemn it, but I fear that will be left to the Greens and the Democrats. Shame, Mr Howard. Shame.

(For those non-techy readers “!=” is programming for “does not equal”)