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Issue #1739      July 13, 2016

Iraq and beyond

The world’s people demanded peace

Beginning in January 2003, from Washington to Tokyo, from Melbourne to Moscow, across Europe and the Middle East, in Asia and Latin America there was one common demand coming from the streets and public opinion polls – NO WAR ON IRAQ!

Sydney 2003 – Howard echoed the strategic plan of the United States when attempting to justify a war against Iraq.

One of the largest demonstrations took place in Washington demanding “No blood for oil”. In Paris 200,000 people demonstrated.

A poll commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald revealed an overwhelming rejection of war by the Australian people. Only six percent supported an American first strike. A massive 30 percent were opposed to a war under any circumstances. In a poll conducted by the ABC in which over 17,900 responded, 88 percent answered “No” to the question: “Do you believe there is a case for war against Iraq?”

Despite the worldwide calls for peace, the warmongers of Washington, London and Canberra did not drop their war plans. Australia’s then Minister of Defence, Robert Hill, bluntly declared, when confronted with the massive opposition revealed by the NewsPoll, that Australia would be taking part.

The dispatch of aircraft and SAS troops to the Middle East and the hosting of US navy vessels in WA confirmed that the Howard government had decided to take part in the monstrous, unwanted and illegal war. Statements by leading government figures from Prime Minister John Howard down that no decision has been made was the first lie.

The most bellicose statements were being made by US President George W Bush and British PM Tony Blair, indicating their desperation to get a war going as quickly as possible in the face of the growing and already mass opposition. Blair emerged as one of the most unconscionable warmongers, claiming that war can be launched by the US and Britain without UN Security Council endorsement.

He declared that once the world had dealt with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, other recalcitrant states such as North Korea would be next. “We must send a signal to the rest of the world that this trade [in arms] will not be tolerated”, he said.

In the dirty game of war preparations, some of the UN weapons inspectors and, in particular, Hans Blix and the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, El Baradei, also revealed themselves as tools of the warmongers prepared to provide “evidence” of Iraqi non-compliance and, thereby, unleash a new terrible war.

At the same time the governments of France, Russia and China, which collectively had the power to stop the US and British war plans in the UN Security Council, were playing backroom games.

Clear statements of principle and opposition to the warmongers, on the side of the people of the world, were required. They were not forthcoming.

Stop war before it starts

The Howard government was intent on launching Australia into an aggressive and illegal war against another member of the United Nations, an act of invasion; a monstrous, illegal and immoral war waged by the most powerful military force in the world against a small power that has already been largely disarmed. It was a war to impose the occupation of an independent nation by others for many years to come. It would be a war bringing immense death and destruction to the people of Iraq.

Essentially, Britain, the US and Australia carried out a pre-emptive strike without the approval of the United Nations. Such an action was not only a violation of the Charter of the United Nations but ripped up long-established norms of international relations, endangering the very existence of the United Nations.

It would be a war in disregard of the strong opposition of the majority of the people in Australia and Britain.

In criminal disregard of the future of the people of the world both the US and Britain refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons. The Voice of America propaganda broadcaster declared that US “war plans are laid out for the complete annihilation of Iraq via conventional weapons, or if needed, via nuclear weapons”. Tony Blair also refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

Such actions constituted war crimes and should be taken up by the International Criminal Court. Bush, Blair, Howard and others responsible for this monstrous violation of international law should be arraigned and tried for their crimes.

Howard echoed the strategic plan of the United States when attempting to justify a war against Iraq. He claimed that if Iraq was not disarmed (as though it wasn’t already disarmed) other “rogue states” would be encouraged to accumulate weapons of mass destruction and use then against the US, ignoring the fact that the US has more weapons of mass destruction than all other countries put together.

Howard clearly supported the concept of a continuing war against other states – Iran, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, Syria. And then the bigger powers – Russia, China, India, Pakistan. Iraq was the beginning of “endless war”.

Australia was and is already deeply enmeshed in the long-range plans of the United States for world domination. The sending of Australian troops to Iraq was not the “miniscule” or “token” involvement that some in the media at the time suggested.

The US spy station at Pine Gap that was directly involved in the preparations for war against Iraq and other countries made a very significant contribution. This is probably more important to the US’s war plans than even the sending of troops. An increasing number of US warships are now making use of Cockburn Sound (in WA) and other Australian ports. US forces are at present steadily taking over Australia’s north. Australian territory has been turned into a bombing range by US warplanes.

Next article – Guns in America and the Military-Industrial Complex

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