Canadian and Quebec day of action against the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan

Michael Lessard..., Mercredi, Janvier 17, 2007 - 14:48

On the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq
March 17th 2007 :
We demand the end of the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan !

On 10 January 2007, George W. Bush made the announcement that the US would send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. A few weeks earlier, Stephen Harper was insisting that members of NATO should provide more combat troops in Afghanistan. This is the same dead-end recipe to “win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi and Afghan people! The Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la guerre reject these war policies and call on the people of Quebec and Canada to participate in a Canada-wide day of action, on March 17th, against the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Iraq

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th 2001, while launching its “war on terror" and invading Afghanistan, the Bush administration was already intent on occupying Iraq. After twelve years of merciless sanctions which had killed more than one million people in Iraq, four years of occupation, false promises of democracy and reconstruction have only resulted in more deaths and devastation, and plunged the country into a civil war.

In October 2006, the medical journal The Lancet estimated that 655,000 people had died in Iraq following the invasion. Oil production, electricity production, and the accessibility of drinkable water are all at lower levels presently as compared to four years ago, under sanctions! According to the estimates of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), out of a total population of 26 million, 2 million Iraqis have fled to neighbouring countries and an additional 1.7 million are internally displaced persons: While many of them were displaced before 2003, increasing numbers of Iraqis are now fleeing escalating sectarian, ethnic and generalised violence. In 2006 alone, UNHCR estimates that nearly 500,000 Iraqis fled to other areas inside the country and that 40,000 to 50,000 continue to flee their homes every month.

In Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, a country which was already ravaged by 30 years of war, the situation is also very bleak after more than five years of ‘allied’ military occupation. According to Human Rights Watch, more than half of the Members of Parliament elected in September 2005 are linked to armed groups, guilty of past human rights violations; the illegal growing and processing of poppies has again become the main economic activity of the country (Afghanistan provides more than 90% of world heroin). According to Amnesty International, thousands of Afghans have been tortured by the US army or armed Afghan groups under its control. According to the UNHCR, there are still more than 3,000,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, and approximately 120,000 internally displaced in Afghanistan. Finally, according to WOMANKIND Worldwide, after five years and contrary to media-fed illusions, it is imperative that the media, donor governments, international organisations and the Afghan government acknowledge the lack of progress in the domain of women’s rights and immediately take action in key areas of education, the legal system, security services, healthcare, and livelihoods to transform paper rights to rights in practice.

Wars of conquest of the US Empire and its allies

The Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la guerre refuse to buy the deceitful message of the “war on terror" and so-called support of the Iraqi and Afghan peoples towards democracy and reconstruction in their countries. What we are dealing with is foreign control imposed by force led by the United States government and supported by Canadian economic and political elites to secure control of the resources of the Middle East and Central Asia. This is clearly indicated not only by the results achieved, but also by comparing the level of expenses committed by our countries. Thus, on 10 January 2007, while announcing a one billion dollar programme to sustain employment in Iraq, President Bush is about to request 100 billion dollars to pursue his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!

In Canada, the simultaneous announcements by ministers Peter McKay and Josée Verner of projects totalling about 20 million dollars in Afghanistan –10 million to pay police salaries, 8.8 millions for landmine removal and 1.9 million to stimulate community development in Kandahar – are mere crumbs when one remembers that Canada wastes more than one billion dollars per year to continue its war in that country...

END the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BRING Canadian and US troops home immediately.
REJECT the Canada-US military partnership.

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