Australia's first service widow of the Iraq war has called for an inquiry into the nation's involvement in the 10-year conflict.
Kellie Merritt says Australian and American political leaders ''exaggerated, cherry-picked and manipulated'' intelligence to strengthen the case for invading Iraq in 2003.
Ms Merritt's husband, Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, a former member of the RAAF, died along with nine others when their British RAF Hercules transport plane was shot down by insurgents over Iraq's Tigris River eight years ago.
Restating her calls for an inquiry into Australia's involvement in the invasion and subsequent war, Ms Merritt said lessons should be learnt from the death of her husband and other military personnel and civilians killed in Iraq.
The attack that killed Flight Lieutenant Pardoel and nine British servicemen came as the first elections for the Iraqi National Assembly took place on January 30, 2005.
Ms Merritt accuses former officials including US vice-president Dick Cheney, UK prime minister Tony Blair and Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer of having ''dodged and reshaped the principles, rules and norms that limit and define the justifications for waging war''.
She said there was growing momentum for an official inquiry into Australia's involvement in the war and that former prime minister John Howard should be called to give extensive evidence in public hearings.
''I think for those of us who have lost so much, the redeeming aspects of an inquiry would be that their deaths would not be in vain,'' she said.
''There would be lessons learnt and information identified, particularly as countries such as the United States and Australia continue managing conflicts in the Middle East and on a global scale.''
The mother of three called for a wide-ranging inquiry to ''bear witness'' to the human cost of the war.