30 Apr 2009

Comment re troops leaving Iraq

I got asked for a response to reports today of British troops leaving Iraq - trouble is I didn't get message until late as work then in Randwick Woods with nearly 20 Woodcraft Folk aged 6 to 9 (wow are those bluebells wonderful there) then another meeting...

In haste I wrote the comments below - but I would have wanted to spend more time on it - the Green party were the only main party to wholly oppose the war in Iraq - yet we never could have imagined the nightmare it became - how we have let down so many including our own troops - the prewar planning and indeed execution have been nothing short of criminal negligence.

Let us hope this is a genuine move for peace and not as some commentators have said due to troops being needed in Afghanistan.

Here is what I sent: "I welcome the troops leaving Iraq and Obama's plans to also pull out. Many millions of us opposed this futile, costly, unjust and damaging war that contravened international law, damaged important links with the region and increased terrorist risks. It led to chaos, devastation and the deaths of up to 650,000 Iraqis. Many British, US and others have also lost their lives. Our Government failed us and our troops. If the war in Iraq has proven anything, it is the utter ineffectiveness of using military power to counter terrorism. Greens have joined others in calling for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to be tried for war crimes at the international court in the Hague.

"Western Governments must work towards tackling the root causes of conflict and violence. The war on terror can surely only ever be won when we replace a culture of fear with one of respect, engagement, vigilance and solidarity."

Journalist Robert Fisk said of the occupation: "One hundred and seventy-nine dead soldiers. For what? 179,000 dead Iraqis? Or is the real figure closer to a million? We don't know. And we don't care. We never cared about the Iraqis. That's why we don't know the figure. That's why we left Basra."

Peter Brierley, whose son Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley was killed in Iraq said:
"It was an illegal war. We were told we were going to find weapons of mass destruction but there were none. They have dragged the war out for 6 years. I have prayed for no other parent to suffer what we went though."

Meanwhile Gordon Brown declared, "Our task in Iraq is complete… it is a success story."

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