Tuesday 26 October 2010

Howard, out for a duck

"That's for the Iraqi dead, and that's for the Iraqi living," Peter Gray yelled as he hurled his two shoes at former Prime Minister John Howard on ABC's live Q&A show last night.

In the footsteps of Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George Bush in 2008, Peter Gray was enraged over the Liberal Government's decision to support the US and go to war in Iraq.

"How do you defend committing Australia to the Iraq war, in light of recent tolls of the civilian death toll seven years after the conflict," Peter Gray asked moments before the incident.

After the programme he said he didn't want to hurt Howard, but wanted his point hear loud and clear.

"I wanted to throw my shoes at John Howard and have the rest of the world see it, certainly," Gray has said. "I certainly didn't want to hurt the man but I certainly wanted to make my point known."

A female friend of Peter Gray's also left the studio and saying "You've got blood on your hands", before walking out of the studio.

However of more interest was the confrontation between David Hicks, who was locked up in Guantanamo Bay for five years when he asked Howard, via a video question, why he had been left so long in and about his military commission trial.

"Hi, I'm David Hicks. When you were Prime Minister you left me in Guantanamo Bay for five and half years. During that time I was detained without charge for a long time, I was denied a fair trial, I was tortured," Hicks said. "Do you believe that I was treated humanely and that the Military Commission was a fair system? Thank you."

Howard responded saying that it's a great country that allows this sort of exchange to occur.

"Having said that, can I simply say that I defend what my government did in relation to David Hicks," John Howard said. "I remind the viewers of this program that David Hicks did plead guilty to serious offences. David Hicks trained with the Taliban. And I think the idea that we should see him as a hero is very misguided. I defend what my government did in relation to Iraq, in relation to the military commissions. We put a lot of pressure on the Americans to accelerate the charges being brought against David Hicks."


Bryan Law said...

John Howard is an accomplished liar. Tony Jones and the Q&A team let him off the hook completely about Iraq, and particularly about the fabricated claims of WMD.

Howard consented and aided the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, and it would be just to see him stand trial for it.

A bit of shoe throwing underlines the contempt in which JH ought be held.

Michael P Moore said...

Syd Walker wrote a good follow-up to this story...

War Criminal Howard gets shoe treatment