The Guardian August 7, 2002


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!

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