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Posted by Come on Castlebar what are YOU Doing on February 16, 2003 at 15:07:00:
In Reply to: Protest on the Mall posted by FTC3 on February 15, 2003 at 09:55:57:
Strong support for "Westport Against War" campaign launch
He said a pre-emptive strike on lraq at the present time would be immoral, unjust and downright foolish. Such eminent world leaders as Pope John Paul, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu and Archbishop Rowan Williams, Head of the Anglican Church, together with many others, had expressed their opposition to the threatened war. Dr. Cowley said there was no possible way a war could take place to ‘take out’ Saddam Hussein, without also causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Sanctions had already caused the deaths of thousands, if not millions, in Iraq and these tragic figures would be multiplied by war.
‘Everybody has a role to play in trying to avert this awful catastrophe’, he said. In the course of his address to the meeting, Fr. MacGréil said "The horrific weapons of mass destruction about to be used against Iraq, e.g., ‘daisy cutters’, ‘stealth bombers’, ‘incendiary bombs’, etc. by the US and Britain makes their call for disarmament very hypocritical. Of course, we all want Iraq to disarm but so must the US, Britain and other major powers get rid of their weapons of mass destruction. You will ask how are we to stop small states from internal and inter-state violence? The obvious answer is to work for international equality and peace. Is it not obscene to see the build up of aggressive aircraft carriers, fleets of expensive aircraft and armoured vehicles close to the Persian Gulf, while nearby in North-Central Africa we have up to twenty-six million people in danger of starvation? If those weaponry were "turned into ploughshares" we would be sowing seeds of lasting peace.
Peace Movement is Pro-US People
The impression given abroad by the powerful media and by certain politicians is that it is anti-American to oppose the pre-emptive war against Iraq, and to protest against permission for military-carrying planes to re-fuel in Shannon. The best interests of the people of the US are not served by belligerent posturing of a politico-military-industrial elite and by the waging of war. We in the peace movement are for the true good of the people of the United States.
Think of the poor Muslim peoples of the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia and elsewhere, and how they will react to a brutal bombing war in Iraq. Over a century ago, Great Britain was imposing its will across the Globe supported by the so-called ‘gun-boat diplomacy’. We know the misery and hatred that is created even in the American Colonies, in India, in Ireland and elsewhere. Are we now watching a re-run of super-power colonisation? Are we also seeing attempts to control the supply of oil and liquid gas for the benefit of the Developed World? Is Britain’s acquiescence and that of some of the European countries determined by their desire of greater control of energy sources? It is a very fundamentalist brand of Christianity which would be prepared to support and rationalise such a ‘chosen race’ morality! Morality has to be universal.
Role of the UN Weakened
The role of the United Nations has been greatly undermined by the current carry on. What happened to the 12,000-page report submitted by Iraq to the UN late last year? The US commandeered it and censored its circulation. This showed the inordinate influence of the US over the UN. This has undermined the credibility of the United Nations. Why did Ireland not protest over such super-power arrogance? Also, the continuous intrusion by the media and the US on the work of inspectors has interfered with the peace process in Iraq in the opinion of many.
Control of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Returning to the control of arms of mass destruction, should we not ask the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, Israel, etc., to account for their lethal arsenals? I would like to see an international movement against so-called conventional weapons of mass destruction such as those used in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq (in 1991), etc. It may have been a mistake for the peace movement to focus exclusively on nuclear disarmament without adding other weapons of mass destruction."
He added that the basic Christian message was to fight evil with good. The tried and tested good methods for resolving socio-political problems were through negotiation, generosity of gesture and the removal of the need for despotism.
"The United Nations provides a structure for negotiation, if left free to do so. Generosity of gesture should reverse the sanctions that have been in place against Iraq for the past twelve years and that have caused countless deaths. The people of the Western World, with its super-power dominance, must rise and persuade their leaders of the need for a radical change in foreign policy and posture. Westport has a role to play in that process as is evident from the large attendance here tonight", he said.