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The attacks on the U.S. on September 11th 2001 brought violent death on a scale that is all too familiar in many developing countries. The initial reaction of shock and horror, and a questioning of US foreign policy, unfortunately soon gave way to the more familiar beating of the drums of war. War in Afghanistan and the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden was quickly followed by the targeting of Iraq and another war which began in March 2003.

The Irish Government's role throughout has been appalling, consisting of the unsolicited handing over of landing facilities at Shannon Airport, first to the war in Afghanistan and later for the war in Iraq, a war that doesn't even have the approval of the UN Security Council. The Dáil debate which followed the commencement of war in Iraq, produced some of the most shameful statements ever heard in Dáil Éireann. The Tainiste Mary Harney said 'The US and Britain are our closest friends who have helped us work for peace over terrorism in our own country … we trust them as friends.' Does this trust extend to the killing of four young sisters between the age of 2 and 9 in a bombing raid on Iraq on March 25th? Does the 'pursuit of peace' extend to the killing and wounding of at least fifteen civilians in a market in Baghdad? It is ironic to the point of tragedy that the Irish government perceives complicity in an illegal and unjustifiable war, involving the killing of innocent civilians, as appropriate repayment for support of the peace process in Ireland.

The Taoiseach added that 'the US and Britain {are} Ireland's partners in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, working with us to bring peace to our island. They are our biggest trading partners, they are the biggest foreign investors in our economy.' Such shameful placing of crude self-interest above the lives of the Iraqi people marks an all time low in political discourse in Ireland. The Taoiseach's sordid attempt to use the peace process and investments as excuses for facilitating an illegal war is cynical in the extreme.

This is a bleak moment in world history as the Bush administration supported by Britain attempts to shape the Middle East in its own image and likeness through use of bombs, bullets and propaganda. The makers of war and the makers of weapons of war are jubilant. Mr. Bush has asked for an additional $ 75 billion (on top of a US military budget already in excess of $ 300 billion annually) to execute this disastrous war.

As Irish people we are shamed that our government has bought into the lies and propaganda of the US/UK axis because of cowardice and sickening self-interest.

Joe Murray
Afri Coordinator


134 Phibsborough Road,
Dublin 7,

Tel. 01 8827581 / 8827563
Fax. 01 8827576 Email: afri@iol.ie


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