"None of these men had to die," said Andrew Wilkie. "To the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones to recent wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, I do extend my heartfelt sympthathies, and I grieve for your loss," Gerry Georgatos
The Tasmanian Independent Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie is right when he said John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have "blood on their hands" after the deaths of five Australian soldiers recently, however the bloodied mutilated souls of these three leaders of our nation are not limited in their culpability to the deaths of these five young soldiers, however to every death in Afghanistan and Iraq since colliding Australia into a manufactured war zone, now for more than a decade.
Related Swan Island Peace Convergence 2012
Andrew Wilkie, and as similarly argue the Australian Greens, has renewed the call for an immediate withdrawal from the war. Mr Wilkie quite rightly said, demonstrating moral leadership of the type that the Prime Minister and her predecessors are not capable of, that these Diggers had died unnecessarily in a war that is neither in the national interest, or in any person's interest.
He was condemned by cowardly and nescient rebukes from the frontbenches of the ALP and the Coalition with their shallow indignation reminiscent of the type of muddled-mindedness that allowed parliamentarians to justify, and remain party to and complicit, the White Australia Policy and the Stolen Generations, and contemporarily with the Emergency Response Action and Stronger Futures, and of course with the murderous invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan which have decimated these two nations.
Mr Wilkie is a former soldier and intelligence officer turned whistleblower after he exposed what many right-minded Australians and others around the world already suspected that there were no WMDs in Iraq and that our various agencies and those in our highest offices knew this. He exposed and informed the Australian consciousness as to the real reasons and urges to invade Iraq and hence unravelled the rampant abuse of our investiture of goodwill and trust in the highest offices and agencies in this nation.
In 2003 Andrew Wilkie resigned from his position in the Office of National Assessments, an Australian intelligence agency, over concerns that intelligence was being misrepresented and compromised for political purposes in manifesting and fabricating the case for Australia's involvement to and in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which has shattered Iraqi society, under the John Howard government.
I often argue that our ability to discover the truth is outstripped by our capacity to manifest deceit.
In 2004, Wilkie published 'Axis of Deceit', an account of the reasons for his ethical stance, resignation and subsequent decisions to speak out. He said that the various agencies and the Government were putting out claims for which reports they had provided no evidence for these claims.
"These five soliders who died in Afghanistan this week died unnecessarily and Howard, Rudd and Gillard all have blood on their hands," said Mr Wilkie.
In August 2007 the Coalition leaked a silly story about Kevin Rudd going into a strip club some years back and Australian Greens leader Bob Brown responded to it by signifying what should matter on the Australian political landscape, "Four years ago Kevin Rudd got drunk and took himself into a strip club. Four years ago John Howard, sober, took Australia into the Iraq war. I think the electorate can judge which one did the more harm."
As of 20 August 2012, there have been 2,998 deaths of from the Coalition forces since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. There are now more than 3,000 deaths.
The Project on Defense Alternatives estimated that in a 3-month period between October 7, 2001 and January 1, 2002, at least 1,000-1,300 civilians were directly killed by the U.S.-led aerial bombing campaign, and that by mid-January 2002, at least 3,200 more Afghans had died of "starvation, exposure, associated illnesses, or injury sustained while in flight from war zones", as a result of the U.S. war and airstrikes.
In the first half of 2011, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan again brought yet higher numbers of civilian deaths as violence intensified and security spiralled downward. According to UNAMA/AIHRC figures, 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed in the first six months of 2011, another 15% jump over the same period in 2010. UNAMA/AIHRC attributed 1,167 of those deaths as having been caused by anti-government elements, up 28% from the same period in 2010 and representing 79.8% of the civilian deaths. UNAMA/AIHRC attributed 207 Afghan civilian deaths as having been caused by U.S.-led military forces, down 9% from the same period in 2010 and representing 14.2% of the civilian deaths. In 6% of the civilian deaths, UNAMA and AIHRC were unable to clearly attribute the cause to any one side.
For the whole year of 2011, the United Nations reported that the civilian death toll numbered 3,021, a record high. In addition, 4,507 Afghans were wounded. According to other sources the actual number of civilian casualties may be five times as large as the number that the UN gives.
At least 132,000 civilians have died from 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study by Brown university. And that is a conservative estimate.
No one can say with certainty how many civilians have died in these wars but it is without question that however many more or less far too many have died needless deaths when it could have been otherwise and society unfold its changes, peaceful discourse rather than violence, and especially en masse violence which is like wild fires.
"WHAT IS THE REAL DEATH TOLL IN IRAQ?"
The Americans learned one lesson from Vietnam: don't count the civilian dead. As a result, no one knows how many Iraqis have been killed in the five years since the invasion. Estimates put the toll at between 100,000 and one million, and now a bitter war of numbers is raging. Jonathan Steele and Suzanne Goldenberg reported: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/19/iraq
The ethical compass, the unfolding human rights and social justice languageS, bona fide commonsense call out for the withdrawal of military forces from Iraq, and for the Australian Government to stand as an example to other nations, example being our only immortality, and demonstrate impeccable moral leadership, and withdraw military forces and to stop flexing muscle, and rather to just put out ones hand, and without any gun.
We will only advance the cause of any myriad bright social justice vocabulary by a coalescing of humanity, not by vendetta, rapacious self interest and exploitation, not by military might, not my imposts and rather and not unwisely by kindness, patience, duty to one another. We can work through conflicts with friendly relationships, and by walking alongside the other and not all over the other.
Australia is wrong to be part of any invasionary force in Afganistan, Iraq, anywhere - First Do No Harm.
The New York Times - March 11, 2012 - US Sergeant murders 16 civilians - The killings on Sunday took place in the Panjwai district.
PANJWAI, Afghanistan — Stalking from home to home, a United States Army sergeant methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children, in a rural stretch of southern Afghanistan early on Sunday, igniting fears of a new wave of anti-American hostility, Afghan and American officials said.
Residents of three villages in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province described a terrifying string of attacks in which the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. The man gathered 11 bodies, including those of 4 girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.
SWAN ISLAND PEACE CONVERGENCE 2012 - "Bring all the troops home"
Iraq had no WMDs: the final verdict
President Bush says there were no WMDs
President Bush admits no WMDs in Iraq
CIA's final report: No WMDs in Iraq
Iraq and Afghanistan wars have killed 132,000 reports says
It has got worse in Afghanistan - civilian casualties rise
What is the real death count in Iraq?
Andrew Wilkie challenges government on Whistleblower Bill
Iraqi children amputees without wheelchairs
We need to help, not maim and kill
Some try to remedy what others do but the gap is widening
Riyadh sends 327 childrens wheelchairs to Iraq
Uruknet: Victims of war - Iraqi children and families - Depleted uranium and trauma
"Most children amputees in non-OECD ( Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ) countries are victims of wars - evil scourges flourished by bullets, explosives, bombs, land mines and missiles. During this last decade the Provinces of Basra and Al Muthanna in Iraq challenged Angola for the highest proportion to total population of child amputees. Basra and Al Muthanna have unheralded levels of cancer since Chernobyl due to many radioactive sites from depleted uranium after the war.
Riyadh described to me much of the devastation of Basra and its effects on its humanity. I do not forget
Riyadh’s description of a little Iraqi child dragging himself across a street in their hometown. The withered deadened-like stump of his right leg creating a painful trail in the dusty street. The child’s parents could not afford a wheelchair even if they were available.
Riyadh and I teamed up through "Students without Borders" to send as many wheelchairs as we could to the
Iraqi towns of Najaf, Samawa and Ramadi. During 2008 we had planned on getting 200 wheelchairs however Riyadh secured 327 new children’s wheelchairs generously donated by Wangara manufacturer "Wheelchairs for Kids". However there began a long saga. No shipping country would transport the wheelchairs to the Basra port. It was deemed too dangerous. Woodside donated funds for the transport and Senator Chris Evans assisted by approaching the Australian Defence Forces. The volunteers at Wheelchairs for Kids gave of their time on a Saturday and packed the wheelchairs for transport.
The wheelchairs were divided up between the three towns. Riyadh’s home town Najaf and Samawa are predominately Shi’ite and the town of Ramadi is majorly Sunni. Riyadh wanted this gesture to bring the two peoples together as had been his world prior to the war. Riyadh once said to me " Till this war was started on us in Iraq, no one ever asked me whether I am Sunni or Shi’ite. Never."
The local Sunni hospital in Ramadi distributed 100 wheelchairs and the community did view Riyadh’s gesture as one of goodwill and every reason for reconciliation.
Riyadh has said "Wheelchairs must be provided to every child that needs one in Iraq irrespective of their religion and ethnicity".