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Interview with Neil Mitchell, Foxtel
March 15, 2003
Chair Of Australian Accounting Standards Board
March 19, 2003
Interview with Neil Mitchell, Foxtel
March 15, 2003
Chair Of Australian Accounting Standards Board
March 19, 2003

Iraq; Arthur Howard



Doorstop Interview

Bunjilaka Centre, Melbourne Museum

Monday, 17 March 2003
9.35 am

SUBJECTS: Iraq; Arthur Howard


Mr Costello are you concerned at all that Australia will become in a Vietnam

type situation if war is declared tomorrow or Wednesday?


Well, the important thing of course is the disarming of Saddam Hussein with

weapons of mass destruction. And we call on the international community to unequivocally

support that. Australia of course will consider its response once the outcome

is known of the negotiations that are still taking place. But at the end of

the day you can’t trust dictators with weapons of mass destruction. And the

regime of Saddam Hussein has to be disarmed.


So you don’t believe that this is going to be a long protracted drawn out war?


Well look I am not talking about the tactics of war at this stage other than

to say that Saddam Hussein is somebody who we know from experience only responds

to force. The concessions that he has made to date are in response to the pre-deployment

by the Allies. And you won’t have a situation, I don’t believe, where you have

stability in the Middle-East until you have dictators disarmed of their weapons

of mass destruction.


How do you feel about the possibility that like Vietnam if there is a war in

Iraq there could be a high number of civilian casualties?


Well, there have been enormous civilian casualties in Iraq over the last ten

years. Hundreds of thousands, many, many hundreds of thousands of civilians

have been murdered by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Kurds have been murdered

with chemical and biological weapons. Disarming Saddam Hussein of weapons of

mass destruction is a way of protecting civilians and for all of those people

who have suffered is a way of bringing the potential casualties, they will be

victims of weapons of mass destruction, bringing potential casualties to an



Do you feel some concern that perhaps if Australians do go into this war and

come back, that they may be treated like some of the Vietnam Veterans were treated

when they came home?


Well, I think that Australians should respect all of their veterans whatever

the conflict. Today I am awarding a Certificate of Appreciation to a Vietnam

Veteran, who is being honoured, who is being honoured for his involvement on

behalf of the nation. And I think Australians of good sense and good intention

will honour veterans who have served their country in all of the conflicts whether

it be Vietnam or any other conflict. Our servicemen and women do a very difficult

and onerous job on behalf of our nation and we honour them. That is what this

morning has been all about.


Was the timing of today a bit of a political stunt given it looks like we’re

about to go to war with Iraq?


No I think that the Certificate of Appreciation to Arthur Howard has been organised

for a very long period of time. I don’t think there is any reason why you should

be cynical about that. He is a man who served his country. And we honour him.


Where do you think the Security Council will go now?


Well, the discussions will obviously continue in the Security Council and it

is important that the Security Council, in our view, makes it clear, that the

weapons of mass destruction held by Saddam Hussein must be given up. But at

the end of the day you have got to bring these talks to a conclusion. And I

expect that they will be brought to a conclusion some time this week.


Is it important for Mr Howard to be in the Azores this morning, or yesterday

I should say, to meet with President Bush?


Well he wasn’t.


I know. Should he have been there?


Oh no, the meeting was between the three countries that are sponsoring the

resolution in the UN Security Council. As you know Australia is not on the UN

Security Council. So we won’t be taking part in the deliberations in the Security

Council. We are in the General Assembly, where of course our Ambassador has

been putting Australia’s case. But this was a meeting between those that were

sponsoring the resolution in the Azores.