23 June 2008
A parade through Brisbane streets on June 28th marking the return of last Australian Battle Group from Southern Iraq is being falsely heralded as a withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq.
“Stand Fast, welcomes home the troops that have recently returned from Southern Iraq,” said Hamish Chitts, former Australian infantry soldier, East Timor veteran and founder of Stand Fast, a group of veterans and former military personnel who oppose the current wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We are glad that they are no longer being placed in harm’s way for the sake of oil and the interests of global corporations. Unfortunately this so called withdrawal is less than one third of the Australian military personnel currently in Iraq. The other two thirds will continue to remain in harms way supporting this unpopular and unjustifiable occupation.”
Chitts explained that “it is far from a withdrawal - it is a re-shuffling. Most of the troops who have recently returned will soon be used to bolster Australian military efforts to defend the corrupt puppet government of Afghanistan and U.S. government and business interests in that country.”
63% of Australians today are opposed to the war in Iraq and over 50% oppose the war Afghanistan. Chitts asked, “How can Kevin Rudd claim to be acting for democracy when a majority in this country want all the troops bought home? And it is not just democracy here that is being ignored; the majority of Iraqis and the majority of Afghanis don’t want foreign troops occupying their land. That’s why the people of Iraq and Afghanistan will keep resisting the occupation of their countries.”
“So while we welcome home these troops, we continue to condemn the criminal politicians who sent them to Iraq, who kept them there and are continuing to send troops to participate in the bloody US-led occupation. Those who truly support our troops should join our call to bring all the military personnel, from all the countries involved, home from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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