No war against Iraq
This year marks the 57th commemoration of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, 1945 the US dropped the first A-bomb on Hiroshima just a few weeks before the war in the Pacific came to an end. Over 100,000 people of the city, which was not a military target, were incinerated in the fireball that destroyed the whole city. On August 9, 1945 a second A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The target of the bomb was the Mitsubishi ship yards in that city but the bomber missed the target. A further 75,000 people were incinerated. Nagasaki was the centre of Christianity in Japan at the time but this fact did not deter the "Christian", US President, Harry Truman. These war crimes ushered in the age of nuclear weapons which have threatened the world ever since. It was argued at the time that the dropping of these bombs shortened the war. The fact is that the war was already virtually over. Many regard the dropping of these bombs as unnecessary and the first act of World War III. Only a few years later Winston Churchill urged the US, which still had a monopoly of atomic weapons to use them against the Soviet Union. But the popularity of the Soviet Union was so high, following its decisive role in defeating the Nazi armies, that this proved to be impossible. However, the policies of the US and British leaders ushered in the Cold War and years of international tension. By the mid-1950s the US monopoly of atomic weapons was broken when the Soviet Union also tested its first nuclear weapon. A huge peace movement, strongly supported by the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, came into existence in the 1950s demanding that nuclear weapon tests be banned — such as the British tests at Maralinga and on Monte Belo Island off the coast of Western Australia. The worldwide demand became so strong that governments were forced to ban atmospheric and above ground tests and, eventually, underground tests as well. However, nuclear weapons were not eliminated and there followed a steady accumulation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by a number of states — the US, the USSR, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and others. In 1972, after long negotiations the US and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) which limited and somewhat reduced the number of nuclear weapons held by these two countries. This is the treaty that was unilaterally torn up by President George W Bush this year. This act is a major step back into the nuclear nightmare. With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990 the US leadership achieved an objective for which they had worked for incessantly ever since the victory of the Russian socialist revolution in 1917. This development did not make the world a safer or more peaceful place. The United States and Britain, in particular, believed that the way had been opened for them to regain their former colonial possessions and dominate the whole world. The dogs of war and aggression had again been unleashed. The Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, the aggression and destruction of Yugoslavia in 2000 and now the war against Afghanistan are all part of this aggression and are steps towards the long-held US objective of world domination. In addition to world domination their aim is to secure capitalism's position into the future. The present railings against Iraq and other relatively small states concerning their possible development of weapons of mass destruction are not only being used as the excuse for war, but cover up the fact that the US has by far the biggest armoury of such weapons and is also the biggest seller of such arms to other countries. To our disgrace the Howard Government is an enthusiastic participant in the war plans of the United States. The Australian Government is playing the role of lap-dog not only in the hope of collecting some crumbs from the American table but also because the Howard Government is a willing supporter of war and is preparing Australia's military forces and the Australian people for a world-wide role as deputy sheriff wherever the US calls. The US plans have been long in preparation. There are US military bases in over 100 countries. Once they have moved in they never move out unless forced out by massive popular opposition to their presence. The issue of sovereignty is also being misused. While the Australian Government has invoked the need to protect its sovereignty when it comes to admitting refugees, it has no regard to the sovereignty of Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea and all the other countries that are being threatened, bullied and pressured to do whatever is in the interests of the US. In refusing to support the formation of the International Criminal Court the US also invoked its sovereignty — no-one was to be allowed to charge US war criminals. The Charter of the United Nations is also being disregarded in the present war preparations. The war against Yugoslavia showed that the US is prepared to tear up the United Nations Charter and disregard UN procedures. The US remains above the UN and international law when it comes to enforcing its war plans. The world-wide peace movements have a number of achievements to their credit. 1. The banning of atmospheric, above ground and underground nuclear weapon tests; 2. The conclusion of the ABM treaty; 3. The limitation of nuclear weapons; 4. Conventions on biological and chemical weapons; 5. stopping the war in Vietnam; 6. Popularisation of the objectives of the peace movement. However, the active strength of the peace movements has declined in the last decade. There is a false belief that the breakup of the Soviet Union meant the end of the Cold War and that the nuclear clock had been wound back. The reality is that there is a real danger of a major war in the Middle East that might not be confined to Iraq. What country or countries would be next? Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, China? All of these countries have been "named" by the present warmongering US leaders. It is urgent that the peace movement of Australia be rebuilt and that the Howard Government's plans to involve Australia in yet another US war be opposed just as the dirty war against the Vietnam was opposed. NO war against Iraq! Keep Australia safe and out of war! Close Pine Gap! No nukes in space! Strengthen the United Nations! NO to US world domination!