Mr Dobell is no doubt aware that when Howard cut the bureaucracy out of the decision-making process on Iraq he was replicating what Menzies did on Vietnam.
In 1974, Whitlam instructed the Foreign Affairs Department to go through the documents and brief The National Times on how we got into Vietnam. I understand that Tange, then at Defence, advised his former colleagues to tell me nothing, but the departmental officer was meticulous in his brief. After the first instalment appeared in April 1975, Tange telephoned me to say that the bureaucracy was not involved in the decision to go to war. That is, it wasn’t his fault.
Evan Whitton received the Walkley Award for National Journalism five times and was Journalist of the Year 1983. He was editor of The National Times, chief reporter and European correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and reader in Journalism at the University of Queensland.