Australian Elections 2007: The Iraq Issue

22 Nov

Getup has launched an online petition campaign demanding the government to come up with an independent Iraq policy which should include a “clearly defined exit strategy for Australia in Iraq”.

Hans Blix, who was the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981-97, and who reiterated that Iraq does not possess any Weapons of Mass Destruction before the invasion, also blogged on the NGO’s website. He commented that there is a need for a withdrawal timetable and that potential presidents like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who adopted a vague position “is not productive”.

On the campaign site, the touching story of Samantha McMillan who lost her soldier husband in Iraq revealed the huge costs of the war – not just the lives lost but “society’s lack of awareness of the living casualties of war” such as post traumatic stress disorder suffered by the living soldiers and the emotional pain and stress that friends and close relatives of dead and living soldiers have to live with.

The various political parties in Australia have adopted different positions with regards to the issue of Iraq:

Labor

Labor will initiate a phased withdrawal of Australian troops, in consultation with the US and British allies that is consistent with the bipartisan recommendations of the US Baker Hamilton report. This means the party will “withdraw the 550 combat troops in southern Iraq – the Overwatch Battle Group.”

Greens

The Greens advocate immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq and Afghanistan while providing significant aid for Iraqi national reconstruction.

Democrats

The Australian Democrats will keep up the pressure for a withdrawal timetable of Australian troops from Iraq while providing economic and ongoing infrastructure assistance. The party believes “Iraq must be brought back fully within the framework of international law and the broader international community through the United Nations.”

Liberals

The Australian Liberals feel that Australian troops are doing an important and effective job in Iraq despite Hans Blix’s comment that the role played by Australian soldiers in Iraq is merely “symbolic” and “political”. In short, no concrete plans or timetable for withdrawal.

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One Response to “Australian Elections 2007: The Iraq Issue”

  1. Luke November 22, 2007 at 3:22 pm #

    The Democrats would also change the law so that Australia couldn’t go to war without the support of both houses of parliament.

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