Wilkie says we created Islamic State
AUSTRALIA'S political leaders have "blood on their hands", Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie says, laying the blame for the Lindt Café siege and the Bali bombing at the feet of the Howard Government.
The former intelligence analyst turned politician spoke out this morning in the wake of the British Chilcot Inquiry report, which found the United Kingdom's role in the second Iraq War was based on questionable intelligence.
That report, which follows similar inquiries in the United States and Australia, also found that not all options for a peaceful resolution in Iraq were exhausted before the UK entered into the war.
Mr Wilkie said this morning that the war had created the right environment for the Al Qaeda terrorist group to grow, and led to the creation of the so-called Islamic State.
He said the terrorism threat Australia now faced was a "direct result" of then-Prime Minister John Howard's decision in enter the Iraq War in 2003.
"Frankly, there are a number of political leaders who in my opinion have blood on their hands," he said.
"The Bali bombing of 2005 would not have occurred if we hadn't have joined in in the invasion of Iraq."
"The Lindt Cafe siege would not have occurred if we hadn't helped create the circumstances for the rise of Islamic State."
Mr Wilkie also said he would like to see Mr Howard and then-United States President George W Bush stand trial in an international court as those who accused the former leaders of "war crimes" had "a compelling case".
Mr Howard has not yet responded to Mr Wilkie's comments, but is expected to speak to reporters later today.