Radio National broadcasts Iraq war debate

Issue 

BY
HEIDI GILL

CANBERRA — Six hundred people turned out on the evening of February
4 to watch a public debate in Old Parliament House entitled “Should Australia
go to war in Iraq?”.

Chaired by Radio National's Late Night Live host Phillip Adams,
the debate was broadcast over two evenings on Late Night Live. Speakers
in the debate were Oscar-winning actress Judy Davis, Archbishop for Canberra
and Goulburn Frank Carroll, Australian National University Arab and Islamic
studies centre director Professor Amin Saikal, Australian Strategic Policy
Institute analyst Aldo Borgu and Brad Haynes, former adviser to foreign
minister Alexander Downer.

Borgu argued that the number of Iraqi civilian casualties would depend
upon whether or not “they accept the United States ... as a liberating
influence".

Haynes claimed that “the greatest thing the UN could do to stop war
would actually be to back a resolution authorising the use of force”

The audience cheered and clapped loudly in response to the anti-war
arguments put forward by Davis, Carroll and Saikal.

Countering the claims made by Borgu and Haynes that Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein was hiding an arsenal of biological weapons, Davis asked:
“Why did [US President George] Bush reject, within a few months of being
elected as president ... an international accord to enforce the 1972 treaty
banning germ warfare? Why did he do that, and why should we trust him —
a man who would do that?"

Carroll argued that “there must be proportion between the evil of war
and the evil to be eliminated”, adding: “I am not convinced that to take
pre-emptive action against Iraq at the moment would be a just war... I
don't think the case is proven to the point that would justify a war being
undertaken."

Saikal, referring to a recent UN study that claims up to half a million
Iraqis may be injured in a new US-led war, said he didn't think “any war
can be justified when the cost is as high as that”.

From Green Left Weekly, February 12, 2003.

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