Anti War: Back to Basics


This March marks the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Everyday we see the result; bombings, killings, torture and other atrocities. There are no reliable estimates for those who have died but most put the figure at 100,000 or higher. It’s clear that the invasion didn’t help the people of Iraq and it is equally clear that the occupation is making the situation worse.Ireland continues to support this occupation by allowing the United States to transfer soldiers and war materials through Shannon. It has also been revealed that planes the CIA used to carry prisoners to countries where they will be tortured have used Shannon and Baldonnel many times.

The majority of Irish people opposed the invasion of Iraq and our government’s complicity in it. 150,000 of us marched to oppose the war but, as usual, Bertie ignored us. He told us that he knew best, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that the US government wouldn’t invade a country just to steal its oil and control the region. Again, as usual, he was on the side of big business.

On March the 18th there will protests around the country to allow us to voice our opposition. It’s important that those of us who oppose the occupation march but we also need to ask ourselves if it’s the best way to make our voices heard and help the people of Iraq. It’s no use calling on the government to do the right thing. It’s clear that they’re more interested in keeping the rich, at home and abroad, happy than in listening to the people they’re supposed to represent.

Those of us who oppose the war should be realistic and concentrate our energies at the point where we can have most effect. In Ireland this means tackling our complicity in the war by stopping the U.S military from using our airports. In 2003 a series of direct actions took place in Shannon. They ranged from activists destroying a US warplane to others pulling down the security fence and runway occupations. This led to 3 out of 4 US military contractors pulling out of Shannon for a short period.

There is not much point in just marching and petitioning the movenment. It is only through returning the focus to Shannon and building a strong and active movement against the state’s complicity in the war that we can win. This won’t be easy. It will be a long hard struggle and one in which we need to be willing to use different tactics. But it’s a struggle that we need to embrace if we are serious about ending the occupation and helping the progressive and secular forces in Iraq.

From Workers Solidarity 91, March/April 2006
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