"Warfare is the way of deception." - Sun-Tzu
On 18 March 2003 John Howard announced that Australia would join the United States and Britain in a preemptive war to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.
Two days later, in an address to the nation, the prime minister said: "We are determined to ... deprive Iraq of its ... chemical and biological weapons, which even in minute quantities are capable of causing death and destruction on a mammoth scale." The decision by the US, Britain and Australia to invade Iraq without United Nations support was deeply divisive and triggered major public demonstrations overseas and across Australia. It was the first time Australian troops had gone overseas without bipartisan political support. But the Australian government's decision was no surprise. For almost a year, Howard and his ministers had spoken openly about possible war, and Australian troops had already joined the massive US-British military build-up in the Middle East under forward-deployment plans foreshadowed by Howard in January.