The Guardian 2 March, 2005

Editorial

More lies to justify troops in Iraq

At the very time a number of other countries are withdrawing their armed forces from the Iraq quagmire, the Howard government is heading in the opposite direction. Its decision to send another 450-strong military contingent to Iraq shows that it will do anything to rescue itself and its US and British allies from eventual defeat.

Having enthusiastically launched into war on the lying claims about weapons of mass destruction, the gang of three Bush, Blair and Howard hope that the continued use of military force will somehow ultimately lead them to a successful solution.

There are other considerations behind the Howard Government's latest decision. The Australian contingent's official task is to protect an unarmed Japanese contingent already in Iraq. This contingent has been protected by Dutch troops who are about to go home.

The conservative Japanese government is attempting to overcome Japan's Constitution which forbids the despatch of Japanese troops overseas. It has used the task of rebuilding Iraq as a means to get Japanese boots on the ground in an overseas country. The ultimate objective of the Japanese government is to tear up the constitutional restrictions so that it can take part in the new Asian wars that the US is already planning against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and, eventually, against China.

Howard is neglecting the reasons for Japan's constitutional stance the wish of the peoples of Asia and the Japanese themselves that the suffering caused by that country's militarists during WW2 should never be repeated. Howard is keen for the current Japanese government to throw off these restraints. That is one reason why he has rushed to replace the Dutch troops with the Australian contingent. He fears that if the Japanese contingent is not protected it will be forced to pull out of Iraq and he is obviously willing to put Australian lives on the line to ensure that they do not.

This is one reason for sending troops that the Howard government has not told the Australian people.

Furthermore, it was originally claimed that the request for the troops came from the Japanese themselves whereas the truth is that it was initially raised by the British government and only later by the Japanese. More lies! Howard's claim that the US leaders were not involved also passes belief given that the US military are in command of the Iraqi war operation.

The government's decision also repudiates the clear statements made before the election by Howard personally that no additional Australian troops would be sent to Iraq. Another lie!.

Howard in his most recent announcement failed to rule out the possibility of sending even more troops which indicates that there are other, even more serious, considerations being discussed behind closed doors. His statement suggested that there was another reason behind the deployment: "it is very important that the opportunity of democracy not only in Iraq but also in other parts of the Middle East be seized and consolidated".

The US and Israel are preparing for air strikes against Iran's nuclear power installations. Bush's soft soap while in Europe recently was an attempt to line up European countries behind these plans. According to former US marine and UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, the US and Israel are planning an aerial attack on Iran in June of this year using as their excuse, the unproven accusation that Iran is planning the production of nuclear weapons.

Scott Ritter said that the war plans had already been submitted to President Bush and approved. His claim follows a report made some months ago by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker that "the next strategic target [is] Iran".

The Howard government will once again line up to support the US's future military adventures and drag Australia further into an extremely dangerous situation that could lead to nuclear war as the US leaders pursue their goal of world domination.

In March important demonstrations will take place in many countries against the war in Iraq and to mark Palm Sunday in Australia. They must again make a resounding call to "Stop the War", "Bring Australian Troops Home", "US Aggressors Out!", "End the Occupation", "Independence for Iraq".

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