Australia still has hundreds of troops in Iraq 18 years after the 2003 invasion and more than 12 years after the Kevin Rudd government supposedly ended the country’s combat role in the country.
The ongoing foreign occupation is so unpopular that even Iraq’s puppet parliament voted last year that foreign troops should leave. The US and Australian governments ignored that decision.
So much for “bringing democracy” to Iraq!
There is no indication that the new United States Joe Biden administration has any plans to dial back US militarism in the Middle East or anywhere else. In fact, the contrary is the case.
In February, NATO made the decision to expand troop numbers in Iraq almost ten-fold, from 500 to between 4000 – 5000.
Much was made of the January “reduction” of troop numbers in Afghanistan while Donald Trump was still president. It suited Trump’s propaganda spin to make it appear that the Afghanistan war was winding down.
In fact, while US troop numbers decreased to 2500, the number of paid mercenaries increased to almost 18,000. And these numbers don’t include troops from Australia and other US allies.
This is the same theatre of war where “elite” Australian soldiers have been found to have committed war crimes. No doubt the official findings are only the tip of the iceberg.
This year will be the 20th anniversary of the illegal Afghanistan invasion and March 19 will mark 18 years since the most recent Iraq invasion.
In both cases, the anti-war movement — which Green Left was part of — correctly argued that invasion and occupation would bring neither justice nor peace to the region.
Both wars were mounted on explicit lies by the US, British and Australian governments.
Against the liars, Green Left told the truth.
We were proud to support the January 15 – 16 protests in 2003 — then the largest demonstration in world history.
And we were proud to support other protests such as when Dave Burgess and Will Saunders painted “No War” on the Sydney Opera House.
That’s why we’re honoured today when activists like Burgess pay tribute to Green Left on our 30th anniversary.
“Green Left and everyone involved with it provided extraordinary personal support to myself and Will after the Opera House graffiti,” Burgess said in his message of support.
Green Left “always made sure the state’s attempts to dispose of us were in the limelight” and also helped “ensure there was a big presence whenever we were in court or needed help”.
It is important to pay tribute to the anti-war movement which did put some constraints on the imperialist war drive.
However, as we know, the job hasn’t ended. We need to push for a complete withdrawal of all foreign troops (including Australian troops) from Iraq and Afghanistan.
And we also need to push for an end to the US-Australia military alliance which remains a force for imperial plunder.
Australians and peoples all over the world will be better off the more we can restrain the rabid Australian war machine.
Green Left pledges to continue this fight but we need your support. Please book a ticket now to our 30th anniversary celebration, make a donation or become a supporter today.