In 2004 Prime Minister, John Howard, has said that he takes total responsibility
for Australia's decision to join the war. However as the the Chilcot Inquiry
has shown the decision to invade Iraq was most certainly a breach of international criminal law and and specifically a crime against peace
. Now all this is evident, Howard has the temerity to claim
"I am sorry for the wounds or injuries that anybody suffered".
In what way is this "total responsibility" or apology going to be shown? In the world of political double-speak, "total responsibility" means "no responsibility", and a generic apology to everyone means a specific apology to nobody. Is John Howard, in any way, going to make restitution to the families of the hundreds of thousands
who have been violently killed as a result of the invasion, and for the subsequent rise of global conflict and terrorism related to that invasion, even if on a pro-rata basis? Will he visit these families and make a personal apology? Or will he, as he continues to do, defend the decision to engage in the invasion.
No restoration is possible when the atrocity is so great. Ideally, following the Chilcot Inquiry, there should be an extension of the powers of the International Criminal Court to include Crimes of Aggression
which, although defined, the ICC has no power to exercise its jurisdiction. If that was the case, the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard - along with an assembled group of motley if powerful cronies - would spend some time at The Hague answering a few difficult questions. In the meantime however, there is a clear and demonstrated need for an Australian (and US) investigation equivalent to the Chilcot Inquiry, with equally broad terms of reference and inquiry, to determine Australia's role and decision-making in this tragedy - because that would be the responsible
thing to do.