Howard beats the pre-emptive war drum
Prime Minister Howard has been awaiting an opportunity to line Australia up behind President Bush's theory of pre-emptive strike. His chance came with the Bali bombing and now Howard argues that "any Australian Prime Minister" would order a pre-emptive strike against another country if there were no alternative to stopping an attack. As part of his campaign, Howard is calling for a revision of the United Nations Charter, which, if it were amended in the terms indicated by Howard and Bush, would usher in a period of worldwide anarchy, endless aggression and "pre-emptive" attacks against real or concocted "terrorist" threats. The mere suspicion that some group somewhere was plotting to undertake a terrorist attack would be sufficient to send in the SAS (who have replaced the marines as the modern imperial intervention force) and bomb the territory of a neighbouring state. No hard evidence would be required — just a suspicion. A very good example of this type of arrogant thinking has arisen from the car bombing of the Hotel in Mombassa. Without any evidence FBI and Israeli agents who have swarmed into Kenya to "investigate" the incident, immediately declared that some group from Somalia and Pakistan carried out the bombing. Are Israel and the US now going to launch a pre-emptive strike against these two countries? The statements by Howard and Defence Minister, Robert Hill, have brought immediate condemnation from Australia's Asian neighbours against which they are directed. Spokespersons from Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines have all spoken out in protest at the Australian Government's statements, declaring them to be in disregard of international law and the sovereignty of other nations. One Indonesian parliamentarian declared Howard's statement to be "very dangerous". Commenting to The Guardian, Peter Symon, CPA General Secretary said, "Once again the Howard Government, by tearing up international law and assuming its right to intervention into the territory of another nation, is isolating Australia from its nearest neighbours. "Howard is helping to create a world in which superior military force or the threat of force is becoming the absolute arbiter of international relations. The principle inscribed in the UN Charter that disputes be settled by negotiations is being thrown overboard. The sovereignty and independence of nations is disregarded. "Howard is showing unrestrained arrogance, backed up by what he regards as Australia's superior military resources. "This is a course that inevitably leads to war and far from eliminating resistance in the form of so-called 'terrorist' acts, will increase them many times over."