The Guardian February 26, 2003


Editorial:

Some immediate tasks of the peace movement

The huge turnout at the peace marches in Australian cities and towns and 
throughout the world exceeded everyone's expectations. The question now is 
how to keep up the momentum and build the movement to even higher levels. 
The war agenda of Bush, Blair and Howard has not yet been halted although 
the call has gone out loudly: stop the war before it starts.

Many suburban and community peace groups are planning and carrying out a 
variety of activities. This is a very important development. Public 
meetings, peace picnics, letter writing, leafleting, talking to neighbours 
and the many other activities are happening on a daily basis. And there are 
plans for protests to take place immediately if a war were to be launched.

The peace movement is being strengthened greatly as more and more trade 
unions come into the struggle. Some unions have decided to call stoppages 
should the US and Britain launch a war. Trade unions had a strong presence 
at the February 16 rallies and marches. Some unions have simply opposed a 
non-UN sanctioned war; others have strongly condemned any war on Iraq and 
are actively striving to inform their members about the dangers of such a 
war. 

At the same time the mass media and chief advocates of war have kept up 
their flow of propaganda trying to justify a pre-emptive strike, an 
invasion of Iraq, the setting up of a US military dictatorship and the 
seizure of Iraqi oilfields. It is clear that the US has plans to redraw the 
political map of the Middle East to serve the interests of its oil 
corporations.

Enormous pressure is being applied to other states to fall into line at the 
United Nations.

There are those who accept the charade that a UN Security Council 
resolution endorsing war would make invasion and war acceptable, that 
wearing blue berets would make it moral. The conduct and consequences of 
such a war would be the same whether conducted in the name of the UN or the 
US.

The peace movement has perhaps only days or a few short weeks left to 
prevent war, and in that time one of its most important tasks is to ensure 
that the UN Security Council does not take this course.

It is also necessary to expose the lies and hypocrisy of those who talk of 
the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction while ignoring the huge 
arsenals of such weapons accumulated and being used by the US, Britain, 
Israel and a number of other countries. The weapons inspectors have found 
nothing in more than three months of searching, a fact that the warmongers 
also play down.

At the same time as hiding the truth, Howard and the media do all they can 
to discredit the peace movement. One of the latest attempts is to accuse 
peace demonstrators of giving support to the Saddam Hussein regime. This 
needs to be countered. The demonstrators are marching against war  in 
support of the Iraqi people, hundreds of thousands of whom are likely to be 
killed.

The demonstrators support giving the people of Iraq the right to decide 
freely what sort of government they should have. This is the sovereign 
right of all countries. The occupation of Iraq will not bring freedom or 
democracy but a military dictatorship and the imposition of a puppet 
regime.

Howard's claim to be pursuing peace is a lie. Howard and his allies are 
desperate to implement a military attack on Iraq.

Britain, Australia and the US are attempting to implement the long held 
policies of imperialism  occupation, control and exploitation of the 
resources and labour of a country and the imposition of a puppet 
government.

If the voice of the worldwide peace movement is disregarded by the 
Australian and other governments, (which is now the case), these 
governments will have to be thrown out of office. They will have to be 
replaced by governments that work for peaceful solutions to international 
conflicts and give priority to the interests of the people, not the 
corporations as the present governments are doing.
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