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Butler Inquiry.



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MEDIA RELEASE

KEVIN RUDD M.P.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security

BUTLER INQUIRY

Like the US Senate Intelligence Committee report, the Butler Inquiry has concluded there were no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons at the time Australia and its allies went to war in Iraq.

All Australians should remember what John Howard said about this before the war:

“The Australian government knows that Iraq still has chemical and biological weapons and that Iraq wants to develop nuclear weapons” (4 February 2003).

The Australian people should remember that Howard said this was his single basis for going to war - and that removing Saddam Hussein was not a sufficient reason:

“Well I would have to accept that if Iraq had genuinely disarmed, I couldn’t justify on its own a military invasion of Iraq to change the regime” (13 March 2003).

Now both Howard and Downer are being loose with the truth yet again on the reasons for going to war - claiming that regime change was the valid reason all along.

If the Americans and the British now accept there were no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, why is it so hard for Howard and Downer to simply admit they misled the Australian people on the reasons for going to

war?

If Howard believes he can get away with this one, what will he believe he can get away with next time - should he be re-elected for another three years?

Howard has developed a habit of being loose with the truth on national security. Loose with the truth on Tampa; Children Overboard; WMD; the link he sought to create between Iraq and the war against terrorism; and on his Government’s pre-war statements on there being no post-war role for the Australian military in Iraq.

Ends. 15 July 2004

Media contact: Alister Jordan 0417 605 823