Albert Palazzo is a Senior Research Fellow at the Land Warfare Studies Centre. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect those of the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.
Alison Broinowski misinterpreted the key point I made in my Interpreter post of 25 March on why Australia decided to join the US in going to war with Iraq in 2003. Except for its appearance in the title, my post makes no mention of ANZUS, nor did I write that Australia was obligated to participate because of ANZUS. Instead, my point was that its own interests motivated Australia in deciding on war — it was not by a knee-jerk response to its alliance with the US. Australia went into the war with its eyes wide open and in pursuit of its own policy objectives, which it achieved.
Perhaps Broinowski's misinterpretation was aided by the title under which the piece appeared: We went to Iraq for ANZUS. This headline was the editor's choice (sorry Sam); mine had been the less provocative Australia and Going to War with Iraq.
I also found Broinowski's post unsettling for another reason. I would not accept that it is necessary for US leaders to remind Australians that our security is our responsibility. I'd hope that Australia has sufficient maturity as a sovereign state and society to realise that on its own. Australia's relationship with the US is part of a considered national security policy based on the recognition and support of mutual interests. I'm yet to hear a more viable alternative to this arrangement.