Australia admitted for the first time on Thursday that securing an oil supply is a key factor behind its involvement in the US-led war in Iraq.Well, you can at least admire the honesty, however belated:
Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said a review of Australia's defence strategy to be released Thursday concluded that maintaining "resource security" in the Middle East was a priority.
"The defence update we're releasing today sets out many priorities for Australia's defence and security, and resource security is one of them," Nelson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Obviously the Middle East itself, not only Iraq, but the entire region is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world.
"Australians and all of us need to think what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq," he said.
The centre-left opposition Labor Party, which wants to withdraw Australia's troops from Iraq, said the government's admission that the conflict was linked to oil contradicted its statements before the 2003 invasion.No wonder Howard is such good friends with Bush. They think and act exactly alike!
"When Mr Howard was asked back in 2003 whether this war had anything to do with oil, Mr Howard said in no way did it have anything to do with oil," Labor leader Kevin Rudd told reporters.
"This government simply makes it up as it goes along on Iraq."
Howard will release the biennial defence review, defining national defence policy, later Thursday.
Howard denied the war was linked to oil in an interview on February 2003, on the eve of the invasion.
"It's about the danger to Australia if countries like Iraq continue to have chemical and biological weapons, and those weapons get into the hands of international terrorists -- that fundamentally is what this is about," he said at the time.