The Guardian March 5, 2003


Alternatives to war on Iraq

by Richard Titelius (Abridged)

Over 200 people attended a forum on Alternatives to War at the Subiaco 
Palms Community Centre (WA) on Saturday, February 22. While expressing 
horror at the imminent spectre of war and the casualties it inevitably 
brings, they addressed the question of alternatives to war. Greens WA State 
Member of Parliament Dee Margetts chaired the meeting.

Ben Carter lecturer on international law at the University of Notre Dame 
University believed the parties to the dispute had not fully explored all 
the mechanisms for negotiation, conciliation and mediation.

The US was cajoling the UN for its own purposes which would, in the long 
term, weaken the UN and undermine its credibility. He said that some 
actions of the US would constitute acts of terrorism.

Dr Grauaug called for the weapons inspectors to continue their job. He 
suggested a rewards system. For the first level of compliance there should 
be the removal of restrictions on medical supplies, followed by a lifting 
of the oil embargo and so on.

Quaker and writer Adrian Glamorgan said that it was far cheaper to address 
the causes of global inequalities and human misery than to fight an 
expensive and destructive war.

We need to control the trade in weapons and abolish nuclear weapons. When 
criticising scientists who work on the technology of war, Adrian Glamorgan 
quoted the passage from the old Testament (Isaiah 2:4) which says, "they 
shall beat swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; nation 
shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any 
more".

He asserted that it was less a war about oil than a war about the Americans 
wanting to be the centre of international affairs and influencing the way 
the whole world is run.

Dee Margetts suggested that Howard's fawning to the US was based on his 
pursuit of a bilateral free trade agreement with the US.

A free trade agreement will benefit only the few rich and powerful who own 
the factors of production in these two countries, and not the majority of 
Australians who will stand to lose many industries and the jobs that go 
with them, she said.

The forum gave an uplifting message from the usual, "war is inevitable and 
there is nothing you can do about it" mantra coming from the mass media.

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