Stand Fast Press release 22 April 2011 Australian based veterans group Stand Fast is calling on people to reject blind flag waving this ANZAC Day and to seriously question Australian support for the war in Afghanistan. The group stands against this war due to the impact on people living in Afghanistan, the price being paid by other foreign forces (especially the US) and the physical and psychological harm being done to Australian military personnel who people claim to be honouring on 25 April.
Stand Fast spokesperson and East Timor veteran Hamish Chitts said those who truly cared about the troops should join the call for their immediate withdrawal back to Australia.
“Are we supposed to seriously believe that the thousands of unarmed civilians being slaughtered in this occupation, that the Australian Government supports, have the capability or even the desire to attack countries like Australia,” Mr Chitts said.
The Karzai government in Kabul, with Washington’s knowledge and approval, provides government positions, business deals and cash to the same people who are supposed to pose a terrorist threat to ordinary Australians. The US has set up and funded an Afghan government department to offer sweeteners to people like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is on Washington’s “most wanted” terrorist list.
“This isn't about democracy either. The widely reported fraudulent elections in Afghanistan have shown that. If the people of Afghanistan were able to freely express there views, the majority would be in favour of the foreign troops leaving,” Mr Chitts said.
Unable to express these views more and more people are taking up arms against their occupation.
Along with civilians, soldiers are paying for these wars for economic and military global domination. Prior to 2001, the suicide rate in the US military was lower than that of the general US population; now, it is nearly double the national average and four times the average for veterans who have left the military. The Department of Veteran Affairs in Australia doesn't release statistics on these problems but increasing reports appear in the media about individual Australian soldiers damaged by these wars.
"This not only effects veterans but those around them, including their children and further down the track even their grandchildren," Mr Chitts said.
While the Australian Government pours millions into this war that does not make us safer the same government says it needs to cut funding to health and education and thousands remain devastated by natural disasters across the country. Cutting services poses a real threat to people pulling troops out of Afghanistan does not.
This ANZAC Day think seriously about the troops in Afghanistan. Support them by demanding that the government bring them home immediately.
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