Analyst vilified for war stance
March 12, 2003
A SENIOR intelligence analyst who quit in protest at Australia's role in a potential war against Iraq today said he had already been vilified for his stand.
Senior analyst Andrew Wilkie resigned from the Office of National Assessments (ONA
), the office which advises Prime Minister John Howard on international issues of importance to Australia.
Mr Wilkie, a former army officer, says a war against Iraq would be bad policy and that Australia's position is based on incomplete information.
Today he said vilification for his stance had already begun.
But he said while his action would hurt ONA
, he stood by his comments.
"I think it's (vilification) already started, in some ways," he told ABC Radio.
's statement to the media yesterday I think has tried to play down my access to information on the Iraq issue, as I would have expected them to do.
"And I would have expected that sort of management of the issue to continue within government. It's going to hurt ONA
a lot, and I regret that.
"But I think there some issues that are bigger than those sorts of concerns."
director-general Kim Jones yesterday told reporters Mr Wilkie was a member of ONA
's Transnational Issues Branch and normally worked on illegal immigration issues.
Mr Jones also said it was not the role of ONA
to give policy advice to the Government.
Mr Wilkie today said Iraq did not pose a security threat to any country, its military was weak and its weapons of mass destruction program disjointed and contained.
The Iraq problem was unrelated to the war on terror, he said.
While Iraq was a rogue state, the Iraq problem was more related to US domestic politics and US credibility, he said.
"It may well be that we have to go to war against Iraq eventually but we should be exploring better inspections and so on," he said.
"What worries me is that a war, an invasion, is the option that's most likely to prompt Saddam to do exactly what we're trying to prevent."
War could prompt recklessness from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Mr Wilkie said.
"A war is what is most likely to force him to act recklessly, to possibly use weapons of mass destruction himself and to possibly play a terrorism card."
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Mr Wilkie had done the right thing by resigning but he said he disagreed with the analyst.