Hopper condemns war of occupation in Iraq

April 20, 2005

Pip Hinman, Sydney

Nearly 100 people attended a local peace group meeting at the Marrickville Town Hall on April 11 to hear Stephen Hopper, Andrew Wilkie and Sam Iskander talk about the Iraq war and what could be done to stop it.

Hopper, Mamdouh Habib's lawyer, noted the importance of meetings like these to keep the opposition to the war going. He harked back to the campaign against the Vietnam War, saying that it took a long time to build up the opposition. Then, he said, what started as a small peasant army turned into a huge political force and eventually defeated the enemy. He predicted that the same would happen in Iraq.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are "wars of occupation, not wars against terrorism", Hopper said. He called for the "true terrorists" — the ones who reside in Washington, London and Canberra — "the people who pull the levers" to be indicted for war crimes and imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

Iskander, an ALP local councillor, made a less-than-convincing case for people to put their trust in the United Nations, citing the resolutions calling on Israel to leave Palestine, which have been vetoed by Israel and the US, as evidence that the UN could be made democratic.

Wilkie, formerly of the Office of National Assessments and now a high-profile member of the Greens who contested PM John Howard's seat of Bennelong at the last elections, cited polls that showed ongoing opposition to the war in Iraq and the Australian government's additional troop deployment. He made a good case for why the protests against the war should continue, saying that the protracted guerrilla war would continue as long as the occupation did.

Wilkie said that this war "had fuelled global terrorism" and "increased the likelihood of terror attacks". He added that the world faced two security threats; the first being climate change, and the second, weapons of mass destruction, singling out nuclear weapons as the main potential destructive force. Discussing the US government's refusal to ratify the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, he said that allowing a select few to have nuclear weapons while disallowing others, was bizarre and made the world a less safe place.

From Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005.
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