Andrew Wilkie isn't someone whose opinions can be lightly dismissed. It will be recalled that Wilkie is a former army lieutenant-colonel and senior Office of National Assessments intelligence analyst who resigned over the Iraq war. He made headlines at the time and remains a gad-fly for the Federal Government.
In an op-ed piece in The Age, Wilkie writes:
"Prime Minister John Howard said of the Bush Administration's plan to escalate the Iraq war that "an American or Western defeat in Iraq will be an unbelievable boost to terrorism, and if America is defeated in Iraq, it is hard to see how the longer-term fight against terrorism can be won".
But Howard's assessment is deeply flawed - and misleading - because it hinges on the assumption that Iraq is not lost already. The conflict obviously failed to achieve the original aim of reducing weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. So too it failed to achieve more recent justifications such as improving the humanitarian situation in Iraq and planting the seed of democracy in the Middle East. Nor has the war achieved the real reasons for its conduct, in particular to enhance United States power, control Iraq's oil, bolster Israel's security and bottle up Iran. Even the prospect for Iraq's fledgling Government is now parlous. From Australia's perspective, the war has certainly not made us safer."