From Associated Press:
Jun 2, 11:50 AM EDT
Australian prime minister warns against repeating mistakes of Iraq
By ROD McGUIRK
Associated Press Writer
In remarks to parliament on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which began Sunday, Rudd said the nation must learn from the errors of former Prime Minister John Howard, who sent 2,000 troops to support U.S. and British forces in the 2003 invasion.
“We must learn from Australia’s experience in the lead-up to going to war with Iraq and not repeat the same mistakes in the future,” Rudd said.
He criticized Howard’s government for going to war without accurate information or a full assessment of the consequences.
“Of most concern to this government was the manner in which the decision to go to war was made: the abuse of intelligence information, a failure to disclose to the Australian people the qualified nature of that intelligence,” Rudd said.
Before the invasion, Howard argued that Saddam Hussein had to be toppled to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. The weapons were not discovered and no definite links were established between Saddam and al-Qaida or other terror networks.
Rudd said Howard wrongly believed that Australia’s close alliance with the United States left him with no choice but to join the campaign in Iraq.
“This government does not believe that our alliance with the United States mandates automatic compliance with every element of the United States’ foreign policy,” Rudd told Parliament.
See also here.
Rudd has put his money … err … halfway where his mouth is by withdrawing about half of Australian soldiers from Iraq. However, how about the other half? How about Australian soldiers in Afghanistan?
Rudd and the Vietnam war: here.