‘As I watch the bombs fall and people die for the ego attachment insanity of a nuclear backed he-man horse-riding caricature cowboy tin-pot el-presidento leader, I shy away from the television and radio, half in grief and half in self-preservation’.
‘There are children dying in the streets and we seem powerless to stop it – raising our voices or adorning our letterhead with flags seems so pathetic, it is almost petty.
‘Our marching in the street, our voiced concerns were struck down by the barking squawking of nationalism and racism and fear. They have won and I am sickened to my bones.
‘Does any rational person actually believe the excuses being rendered for the invasion of this sovereign country?
How many civilians will be murdered? Will there be war crimes trials? How can we allow them to remain on the Security Council?
‘What will this country look like when the invasion is over – win, lose or draw?
‘Flattened. Tower block shells. Blood drenched. Traumatised. Refugees flood neighbours, next neighbours, and even dribble here. Will we house them and draw them to our national bosom? History will judge them for the marauding resource-hungry invaders they undoubtedly are.
‘At their heart they do not care about democracy – this is an invasion for greed and power and domestic consumption in an effort to right some imaginary wrong. Who do you think you are Mr President – Winston Churchill? Damn you to Hell.’
Can you guess when I wrote these words? Why are they written in inverted commas and italics?
Answer: I wrote them in my diary on March 5, 2003, two days after the invasion commenced.
The country was Iraq, the President was Bush.
And, no – the pathetic excuses of hidden weapons of mass destruction were proved wrong – as we knew they would be. A smokescreen literally and figuratively, only marginally more sophisticated than Putin’s claims of Nazis and fascists in Ukraine.
And how many civilians were killed when the coalition of the willing invaded the sovereign country of Iraq? Well, the historians bicker – but around 500,000 – likely higher. The number in Ukraine, so far, is about one per cent of that. And let’s not forget the thousands of coalition soldiers killed, and tens of thousands who later suicided.
And for what?
A basket-case country then and a basket-case country now.
And which countries were the actual invaders in the coalition of the willing? Only four – United States, United Kingdom, Poland and (yep, you guessed it), Australia.
And make no bones, this was an invasion without Security Council approval and was thus unlawful.
And no, there were no war crimes trials because – well just because. This is the West, and we are like, immune somehow, and oil is oil, and besides, we won.
George Bush Jnr is almost a national treasure when he should be in a cell next to Putin. Howard and Blair could share sweeper duty. And of course, the USA and UK are both still on the (in)Security Council.
And yes, the refugees came from Iraq and we did not welcome them with open arms and equanimity. Not like the Ukrainians. But then we have always preferred our refugees European and Christian. Meh.
So let us not self-righteously call out the Russians as though we would not stoop to such murderous intent.
Less than 20 years ago, we were committing the same mortal sin.
The only possible difference is that Iraq was despotic, and Ukraine democratic. But since when does being a dictatorial sovereign country entitle invasion?
That’s a bit of international law that I must have missed.
Of course two wrongs don’t make a right, but I find the conservative side of politics and their mates in the media sickening in their hypocrisy.
All their tut tutting and finger waving just reeks.
To read John Howard brazenly call the Russian invasion ‘criminal’ made me want to throw my chair through the television.
It beggars belief.
And so I did throw my chair through the television. Sorry!
And not one journo called him out on that. Perhaps because so much of the mainstream media were cheerleaders for the invasion as well.
Topically, one of the loudest and clearest voices against the Iraq war and our involvement was Anthony Albanese. And who was he joined by – irony of ironies?
Prior to the invasion the Russian leader issued a press release widely reported: ‘President Vladimir Putin today called for a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis and said a US military attack would have the “gravest consequences”.’
Of course, I condemn the Ukrainian invasion. It is appalling.
Every life lost is an utter tragedy. Bad Mad Vlad.
But as Jesus said (and when quoting the Bible my vote is always for the King James Version where the language is so beautiful):
‘Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye’.
Well, there are blinding beams galore on the international stage of sanctimony and piety when it comes to Ukraine.
David Heilpern is an author, a retired magistrate and practising lawyer.