Over a year since the beginning of the Iraq war, and one thing plays on my mind. It's a three-way choice. Either...
I think the second option can be ruled out, not just because intelligence personnel are usually of some cognitive ability, but because of instances such as Australian Andrew Wilkie actually decrying the incorrect use of intelligence material BEFORE the Iraq war (Wilkie resigned in protest).
Either way, that leaves George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard, as leaders that are optionally manipulative and corrupt, or just plain stupid.
The pre-emptive war undertaken by the 'Coalition of the Willing' was an illegal invasion of a sovereign state. That is plain to see - no WMD, no terrorist threat, no harbouring of Al-Qaeda. If Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia had done it under the same pretext, it would have been roundly condemned. Just because it is the 'West' doing it, doesn't make it right.
Also, our pitiful attempts to validate our invasion by saying "they're much better off without Saddam Hussein" don't carry water. I'm sure the same applies to most 'leaders' in these depressing days. And try carrying that excuse to a father who has lost his whole family to a bombing.
We were wrong. Legally and morally so. Our leaders were the ones who took us to war. Whether that was through their corruption or stupidity matters not. US President Harry S. Truman famously had a plaque on his desk, "The Buck Stops Here". Ain't that the damn truth.
For me personally, I have no belief in the political opposition in Australia. I see them much the same as those in power, just of a slightly different tint. I can't say even whether they are competent to run the country. But this much is sure - I will not validate the incumbent for another term. To do so would be to say "you did okay", when it is a no-brainer that they did pretty damn awful.
I will not endorse being manipulated, and neither will I vote for a person who can't think for themselves, let alone a country. I may not be able to invoke change on my own, but I can at least satisfy myself that I haven't validated or supported wrong-doing.