US anti-war vote welcomed

November 8, 2008

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition has described the US people's rejection of President George Bush's war policies and the election of Barack Obama as "historic".

"The last of the architects of the Iraq war is on his way out of office in circumstances where his policies have been rejected by the US electorate", said Alex Bainbridge, a spokesperson for the anti-war group, on November 5.

"[Former British Prime Minister] Tony Blair and [former Australian PM] John Howard have gone, and now Bush is in his last days in the Oval Office. It is clear that people across the world reject the policies that led to the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan."

However, Bainbridge noted that the US had conducted recent bombing raids on Syria and Pakistan. The Stop the War Coalition opposes this escalation of the "war on terror", and is calling on the Rudd Labor government to withdraw all Australian troops from the Middle East.

A lead story from the November 7 Sydney Morning Herald indicated that Obama is likely to ask Australia to contribute more troops to the war in Afghanistan. The first priority of the new US administration in relation to Australia will be to seek the government's help in "winning the war in Afghanistan", Jeffrey Bader, an advisor to Obama, told the SMH.

"Bush is gone, in part due to anti-war sentiment in the US. It wasn't a vote to entrench the US in an Afghanistan-Pakistan war", Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly. "The new US administration and the Rudd government must end the 'war on terror'. But we do know that for this to happen, the anti-war movement has to regroup and remobilise."

The Stop the War Coalition is holding an anti-war vigil outside the US consulate in Martin Place, Sydney, at 11am on November 11.

[To get active in the Stop the War Coalition, phone Alex on 0413 976 638 or visit .]

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