Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Ridding Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and its regime will almost certainly require military force

By Des Moore - posted Tuesday, 29 October 2002

Bali has led many to urge Australia to forget about Iraq and to concentrate on terrorism as being more immediate and closer to home. But this is bad advice.

First, it supposes Iraq and terrorism pose quite different threats. But they don’t.

True, we have no evidence that Saddam is deeply involved in directing international terrorism. But he is encouraging these activities – notably in Israel, by making large payments to families of suicide homicides.


More fundamentally, Iraq matters because the Middle East is the centre of international terrorism; because until the Middle East is radically changed terrorism will continue and because the place to begin that change is Iraq, for its own benefit and for the effect on other Middle East countries.

Change almost certainly cannot be initiated without using outside force to unseat Saddam. But this will not be enough by itself. Outside efforts will continue to be needed to attempt to make governments in the area democratic and more sensible economically.

Middle East governments are so stuck in the rut of their ways that an outside push will be necessary; and that would best be provided in the first instance by forced regime change in Iraq.

Second, the advice to forget Iraq supposes that our attention span and our means are not up to dealing with two large matters simultaneously. But that is nonsense, because our means of dealing with the two are not the same.

Ridding Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and its regime will almost certainly require military force. But military force is not appropriate in dealing with terrorism, except in Afghanistan-type circumstances where the terrorists effectively took over the government.

That is certainly not the case in Indonesia. Bali requires us not to draw on our military means but to beef up our non-military means such as domestic resolve, laws, intelligence, police, better coordination at home, more cooperation abroad.


So we cannot forget about Iraq and the probable need to use military force against it. Should Australia join in that use of force?

Some argue against it on claimed principle, saying force should not be used in any circumstance, or only with UN Security Council authorization – since to act without that would be to return to the Law of the Jungle.

But the member states of the UN make their decisions in self-defined national interests. In any case, sufficient "authority" already exists in previous Council resolutions, and will probably soon be strengthened by yet another.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

An edited version of this article was first published in The Age on 17 October 2002.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Des Moore is Director, Institute for Private Enterprise and a former Deputy Secretary, Treasury. He authored Schooling Victorians, 1992, Institute of Public Affairs as part of the Project Victoria series which contributed to the educational and other reforms instituted by the Kennett Government. The views are his own.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Des Moore
Related Links
Economic Strategy Institute
Photo of Des Moore
Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy