Former conservative Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (who, by the by, has long been an admirer of Ayn Rand), together with former Secretary of the Australian Commonwealth Department for Defence, Paul Barratt, and former Australian Defence Forces Chief, General Peter Gration, has called for a public inquiry regarding the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. As I noted at the time, what was truly remarkable was the complete unwillingness of any of the principal decision-makers – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair or Howard – to publicly justify their decision, a decision taken before August 2002, until very late in the day. So severe was this reticence on John Howard’s part that the Australian Senate – for the first and so far only time in its history – passed a censure motion against the Prime Minister for his refusal to explain or justify his decision. It seems that Fraser, Barratt, Gration, et al., are still waiting for those particular dogs to bark.
As I said at the time, there could be good and compelling reasons for a Government to not publicly justify a military decision. If so, one would have expected the principals at least to explain the reasons for their reticence to other friendly Governments, even if only in private. It is noteworthy then to recall Joschka Fischer’s public beration of Donald Rumsfeld: “You have to make the case!” (video here). Even the German Foreign Minister, it seems, could not be trusted by the decision-makers with either an explanation of the invasion decision or an explanation as to why no explanation could be given. After all this time of dogs still quiet, one is led increasingly to the conclusion that the real reason for the decision was something that ill-behooved or shamed the decision-makers.