Friday, March 17, 2006

Graphic Footage Iraq Massacres

Graphic footage of a series of massacres has been uncovered in Iraq, with the victims Shiites from a predominantly Sunni area. Commentators Hugh White and Paul Monk discuss the broader implications of the massacre vision and the general situation in Iraq.

Transcript

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New evidence of sectarian massacres in Iraq

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: Well joining us now to discuss the broader implications of the massacre vision we've just seen, and the general situation in Iraq, are Hugh White, a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute and Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University and the author and commentator Paul Monk, Managing director of Austhink Consulting. Thanks to both of you for being there. Now, you've both seen the footage and Paul's McGeough's coverage of it. One immediate question that arises three years on, do Australia, the US and Britain share any responsibility, as the invading power, for the sort of chaos that's led to these kinds of massacres? I'll start with you, if I can, Hugh White.

HUGH WHITE, STRATEGIC STUDIES, ANU: Well I think you have to say we do, the coalition does bear a significant responsibility for the situation in Iraq. It's not that removing Saddam wasn't obviously a very good thing to do, but to have undertaken that move without being in a position to ensure a transition more smoothly to some sort of stable democracy or even any form of government that could deliver a better quality of life to the people of Iraq, was, I think, a rash and irresponsible thing to do.

TONY JONES: Paul Monk, what do you think, rash and irresponsible?

PAUL MONK, AUTHOR & COMMENTATOR: I think what was a little rash was the way in which the war was conducted without sufficient planning for a subsequent occupation. Just to the extent that it was anticipated that Saddam would be overthrown, it was incumbent on the coalition to think very carefully, both about what provisional Iraqi authority they would put in place and how would they maintain order. And my greatest sense of dismay very early on was that there was evident policy disarray in Washington about those issues. We're paying the costs of that now.

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abc.net.au

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