Howard has told the Australian people that he will never apologise or back down from his reasons for sending Australia into war against Iraq. But for a person like Howard, who has no interest in what people today think of him and who can brush aside criticism with just a few arrogant words, particularly in matters relating to Iraq, there is one weak spot that will eventually cause him to regret his role in the fiasco of Iraq. That weak spot is his high regard for Australian history. His rhetoric is littered with references to history, especially when he talks of Australian and Western values and the Australian/US alliance. And, of course, he really loves to wind up the Aussie iconic historical images clock when Anzac Day pays yearly homage to our fallen and surviving heroes. Howard hopes in the future he will feature prominently as the war leader of those who served in his war as they march in future parades of remembrance. How could we forget, especially after such a daring flight into the “battle” itself on Anzac Day 2004?
Howard is deluding himself if he believes that historians will laud him as a great Australian statesman and war leader. When the history of the monumental events of the first few years of this century is written, its conclusions about Prime Minister John Howard’s role will only be denigrating and, considering his love of Australian history, the consequent humiliation is the one penalty he will find unendurable.
History will not be kind to Howard. He will be known as the lying Prime Minister. Sure, there are many who support him despite his lies, and even because of them, but that’s only while he is still Prime Minister. Once his time is finished as PM and, presumably, politics, it will be time for the historians to step in and make their judgements. All the facades of political correctness and respect historians usually show for an incumbent PM will be removed and he will be exposed for what he really is, particularly as those around him begin to tell their stories in a rush to disassociate themselves from Howard’s role in a history that is daily depleting him, and them, of any integrity that they have left.
When the Howard government is defeated at the next election, there should be an all-encompassing, no holds barred royal commission into the government’s role in Australian and world affairs since 2001. If any wrong-doing is discovered then criminal proceedings should be initiated. Of course, Howard is far too arrogant to actually concede any wrong-doing and no proceedings against him will cause him any misgivings over his responsibility for the role Australia has played in the completely illegal Iraq war. But how history judges him? That will very much concern him. It is the ultimate punishment for one who has used Australia’s historical past to try and create a niche in Australian history for himself.