Monday, 13 July 2009

End this futile war now

Stop the War Coalition Monday 13th July 2009 Letter to Gordon Brown MP, delivered at emergency Troops Out Now demonstration, Downing Street, Monday 13 July, 5-7pm:

Dear Prime Minister,

The tragic deaths of 15 British soldiers in just over one week, including three who were barely 18 years old, has highlighted the need for British troops to be withdrawn from an unwinnable and unjustified war.

The argument that British troops are in Afghanistan to bring stability, security and democracy is simply refuted by the facts. The lesson of history is clear. The Afghan people have always resisted any attempt to invade or occupy their country. All attempts to do so over the past 150 years have only brought horrific levels of death and destruction, both to the Afghan people and the invading armies.

Why, if British troops are in Afghanistan to protect the Afghan people have civilian casualties - the majority of which have been inflicted by the NATO forces - doubled in the past year? Why, if democracy is the purpose of the invasion, is Britain supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai, which colludes with warlords and tribal leaders who many Afghans regard as no better than the Taliban? Why, if reconstruction of Afghanistan is a central aim for the British invention, is more than double being spent on military intervention than has been allocated for rebuilding the country? Escalating the military intervention, as is now planned can only bring more devastation and destruction to the country’s infrastructure. Why, if defending women’s rights is an aim of British policy, do so many women say that their condition is worse than before the invasion in 2001, as highlighted by Afghan campaigners for women's rights such as Joya Malalai, who is an MP in the Afghan parliament?

The argument that British national security is the main purpose for the British deployment is an inversion of reality. The terrorist acts and threats that Britain has experienced have been home-grown and directly linked to Britain's aggressive foreign policy, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in the government’s tolerance of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land. This war has all the characteristics of the Vietnam war. The same spurious claims were made that this was fought to defend national security. The longer this argument was used to justify the war, the more the conflict escalated, leading to millions of people needlessly losing their lives. That lesson must now be applied to Afghanistan. Any hope for stability and reconstruction must begin with the removal of all foreign troops. The latest ICM opinion poll shows that 56 per cent of the British public want all British troops withdrawn by the end of 2009. We urge the British government to end now this futile war which, if continued, will only mean more wasted lives of British soldiers, countless deaths of Afghan civilians and further devastation of a country that has suffered from decades of war and occupation.

Yours sincerely,

Stop the War Coalition

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