I noticed the recent furore in virtual circles and in some media over Amnesty's inclusion of the Howard government in the company of world leaders thriving on fear and division.
The worry was that AI had over egged the cake by lumping Howard in with Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir. Whilst Howard cannot be compared with these leaders in terms of the misery and repression they have wrought in their own countries, it should be remembered that Australia's involvement in the invasion of Iraq has resulted in terrible loss of civilian life and massive upheaval for countless thousands of Iraqi refugees and IDPs. There is a strong legal argument that the Iraq military actions and associated human rights violations will be condemned as war crimes.
The cost of the human tragedy for those impacted directly, the further destabilization of the Middle East and the ongoing threat to world security emanating from the botched occupation puts Howard in the current pantheon of leaders responsible for gross human rights violations. His appalling record on treatment of refugees and indigenous people at home is just part of the picture when it comes to this Prime Minister's human rights record.