The Guardian December 4, 2002


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." 

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