John Howard may well have done a number of excellent things for the people of his nation. At the apex of his popularity he certainly endeared himself to many. However his decision to throw in with George W. Bush during the initial invasion of Iraq was no favor to his people, and that will likely be the chief telling point in his legacy. Australia has long been a great friend to the United States, but the current situation should put Howard in mind of some wise words from Grendel.
It was not always like this, of course. On occasion, it's been worse.
Grendel - Chapter One
Howard was one of two significant national leaders who decided to back George W. Bush in his invasion of Iraq, a war which I opposed from before the beginning and still oppose now. While recent events have shown significant progress in that war torn country, it does not change the ugly beginning. Being around to clean up the milk on the floor does not abrogate the fact that you overturned the carton in the first place.
For a better long term analysis of the participation of both Blaire and Howard in the Iraq adventure, let us turn once again to Grendel, as he approached the Dragon to learn the meaning of reality.
It's extremely rash to extend conclusions from observation far beyond the scale of magnitude to which the observation was confined. For example, the apparent absence of change within a second of time tells nothing as to the change within a thousand years. Also, no appearance of change within a thousand years tells anything concerning what might happen in , say, a million years. We can extend this progression indefinitely; there is no absolute standard of magnitude. Any term in this progression is large compared to its predecessor and small compared to its successor.
Grendel - Chapter Five
Had Howard limited his enthusiasm to the internationally accepted need to handle the situation in Afghanistan, the world might have been a very different place. As it is, I feel that he will go down in history as one of the authors of the Iraq invasion, and I still hope that, if nothing else, the world will learn a lesson from it.