War and peace

On Armistice Day, November 11, anti-war protesters marked the end of the war that was supposed to end all wars with "troops out" banners and placards outside the US consulate. Sydney Stop the War Coalition (STWC) is campaigning for all Australian troops to leave Iraq and Afghanistan.

At a Remembrance Day ceremony at the War Memorial in Canberra, PM Kevin Rudd hypocritically spoke of a new century of peace.

"We have all endured a most bloody century, but let us resolve afresh at the dawn of the new century ... that this might be a truly peaceful century", he said.

"How can we take the PM seriously when his government's policy is to keep almost a thousand troops in Iraq, and send even more troops to Afghanistan?", asked STWC's Alex Bainbridge.

"Many of the soldiers who returned from the imperial wars of last century were determinedly anti-war. The brave soldiers who oppose the imperial wars of today — Iraq and Afghanistan — have our support. Politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouth certainly do not."

"For those of us campaigning for an end to wars of aggression, Remembrance Day is a time to consider the many millions of civilians who perish in these wars", added Anna Samson, also from STWC.

Most passers-by, including many sporting poppies, were sympathetic to the silent protesters. Samson said that anti-war activists would continue to pressure Rudd to withdraw the troops, to pay war reparations to the Iraqi people, to remove the private military contractors and to promote local control over reconstruction. She added that Australia should take a stand against the US's undeclared policy of spreading the "war on terror" to neighbouring Syria and Pakistan.

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