United opposition to military intervention in Iraq

June 27, 2014

The statement below was released by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), supported the Sydney Stop the War Coalition, on June 26.


Anti-war and peace groups from across the nation are uniting to urge the Australian government not to involve itself in any further military action in Iraq. The groups insist that Australia should resist any pressure it might be under to follow the US’s lead – in the way that it did in 2003.

Nick Deane, acting as spokesperson for IPAN, said: “The invasion of Iraq by the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in 2003 was, at best, a terrible mistake and quite possibly a war crime. The US, Britain and Australia colluded in the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed and was about to use ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Iraq posed no threat to the invaders.
“The invasion and the years of occupation that followed destabilized the country and exacerbated existing sectarian divisions. It was the prime cause of the sectarian violence that we see in Iraq today.

“Iraqis have been paying with their lives ever since the invasion. In addition to the current violence, a generation has been born with an unacceptably high percentage of severe birth defects for which no-one has been held to account. No effort has been made to clean up the pollution and lethal waste left behind by military operations. Other consequences include the deaths and displacement of millions of civilians; the privatization of the country's resources and the installation of a puppet government.

“As political leaders at the time, Tony Blair, George Bush and John Howard have yet to be brought to account. Meanwhile Blair, at least, is again calling for Western intervention.

“We must not allow our nation to repeat the mistakes of 2003. We have no business interfering. If we were to intervene or join others in intervening, we would only be making a bad situation even worse.”

Peace groups in Australia agree with the statement from US war veteran which said in part: “When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the formerly secular country was destabilized. The United States and the Department of Defense intentionally created and agitated sectarian divisions that would not have otherwise existed. The result of this is what we see today, and Iraqi civilians are paying for it.”

Deane said: “Far from installing democracy, the invasion in 2003 simply replaced one brutal and repressive regime with another that was more conciliatory to the West.

“The people of Iraq must be allowed to settle their disputes free of outside, military intervention. Self-determination is absolutely necessary for, and fundamental to, any lasting solutions.

“The events of 2003, and their horrific consequences for the people of Iraq, also illustrate the need for Australia to develop an independent foreign policy, which would not support military intervention. Instead, it could send engineers and others to assist in the physical re-construction of the country. Australia would best contribute to peace in the world by first asserting itself as truly independent.”

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