IAWM BULLETIN 05 OCTOBER 2011
IAWM BULLETIN 05 OCTOBER 2011
PROTEST THIS THURSDAY 06 OCTOBER, 5-7PM AT DAIL EAREANN.
END THIS SENSELESS WAR NOW – STOP THE DRONE MURDERS
IRISH TROOPS OUT OF ISAF – US TROOPS OUT OF SHANNON
JUSTICE FOR THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ and PALESTINE
The Irish Anti war Movement (IAWM) will hold a protest this Thursday evening at Dail Eireann from 5-7pm to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the US led invasion of Afghanistan. The purpose of this protest is to remember the dead victims of the Bush / Blair wars. These wars are now being continued by Obama and Cameron with the general acquiescence of the previous and current Irish Government. Ireland has seven Irish soldiers serving in ISAF in Afghanistan and has also facilitated millions of US troops and flights involved in illegal rendition at Shannon Airport for the last ten years.
In October 2001 the preposterously named “Operation Enduring Freedom” was launched by the US army on one of the poorest countries in the world ostensibly to track down Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 terror attacks. It was instead the beginning of an endless brutal war that soon stretched to Iraq, Palestine (via Israel) and threatened also to spread to Iran and Syria. It has brought nothing but death, destruction and immense suffering to hundreds of thousands of civilians. Thousands of soldiers have also been killed and wounded. It has not made the world a safer place – in fact the exact opposite has occurred.
Violence is at its worst in Afghanistan since the start of the war ten years ago. There were record civilian casualties and high levels of foreign troop deaths in the first six months of this year including the shooting down of a Chinook helicopter that killed 38 US soldiers, the highest single loss of life suffered by foreign forces in ten years of war.
The US army carries out extra judicial killings at will including of its own citizens
Obama’s recent escalation of spreading the war to Pakistan has further seriously destabilized that country. Brian Cloughy of Counterpunch noted recently that suicide bombings in Pakistan were virtually unknown ten years ago. Now they are commonplace with 50 bombings last year that killed over 1100 people and 500 killed so far this year. He also noted that as many as 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the last ten years. The US drone attacks along the border area that mainly kill civilians, the pressurization of the Pakistani military to clear out the border zone of ‘militants and terrorists’ and the incursion by US navy seals to assassinate Bin Laden in Abbottabad has created serious stress within the army between the younger officers and the old guard that could lead to a revolt. As Tariq Ali has noted “a quick NATO exit from Afghanistan is the only basis to stabilise Pakistan”.
The Obama escalation has included that most cowardly form of warfare – attacks by Drone airplanes or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have led to thousands of civilians being incinerated or horribly wounded causing huge suffering and anger among the populations of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ted Rall, writing in Al Jazeera in July 2011, noted that: “US drone strikes in Pakistan have risen from one a year in 2004 to one every four days under President Obama. Despite all the evidence of civilian deaths, the US insists drone strikes are ‘the most accurate weapon in history”. Press accounts document between 1,400 and 2,300 extrajudicial killings by allied forces, mostly in the Tribal Areas adjacent to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. According to media reports cited by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, American drones killed at least 957 Pakistanis in 134 airstrikes during the year 2010 alone. Wikipedia puts the figures killed for Pakistan alone in 2010 as 993 with 457 killed this year so far. Daniel Byman from the US Brookings Institute suggests that drone strikes may kill "10 or so civilians" for every militant killed. Others put this figure as high as 25. Though final figures are unclear it is well known that drone attacks have killed innumerable numbers of women and children and have wiped out several wedding parties.
This war is unjust, immoral, futile and unwinnable. It has cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars that could be used for job creation programmes. Many top-level military officials have admitted that the war is unwinnable. Yet the US refuses to openly admit this or to announce a withdrawal because this would signal defeat. So the carnage continues, including extrajudicial killings of its own citizens by US forces as witnessed this week. The new US commander of the occupation in Afghanistan, General John Allen, said recently: "We’re actually going to be here for a long time" so the Afghani and Pakistani people have more terror to look forward to.
Public opinion polls in the US and Britain have shown the unpopularity of the war with a huge majority of British people polled calling for the troops to be brought home.
Ireland should lead the way and call for this futile war to end now.
The IAWM calls on the Irish Government to withdraw the seven troops from ISAF, to end the US Military and rendition flights stopover at Shannon airport and to publicly call on the US and British Governments to end this senseless war now.
Come and join our demonstration this Thursday evening 5-7pm at Dáil Eireann.
Michael Youlton, Co Chair Steering Committee, IAWM – Tel. 086 815 9487
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM – Tel. 087 6472737
Daryl Southern, National Coordinator, IAWM – Tel. 085 277 6505