Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expressing a willingness to have elements of the Australian Defence Force join with the United States in another intervention in Iraq – notwithstanding that neither the shape of that intervention nor its objective is known.
I would argue that the fact that we are considering going back into Iraq makes it all the more obvious that we need to learn the lessons from the previous invasion, the disastrous nature of which is not only almost universally acknowledged but demonstrated by the fact that some claim a need to go back in.
There should be no further resort to armed force by Australia until there has been a genuinely independent inquiry (in which the Royal Commissioners are appointed by a bipartisan process). If the Government believes that it should engage in force before the Royal Commission reports, it should be allowed to do so with the support of the House of Representatives PROVIDED that the new use of force is referred to the same Royal Commission and independent legal advice has been received that the use of force would be legal and that the government will accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ in any suit brought by any state questioning the legality of this new use of force.
If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past we will repeat them again - first as tragedy, then as farce.