There is a very disturbing irony in the fact that we mark the tragedy of Iraq at the same time as the Australian Government signs us up to yet another venture into future conflicts under the new AUKUS Banner.
It is timely then for Australian citizens to ask-What have we learned? Where is the AUKUS Impact statement?
Many of us predicted the devastation of the U.S invasion of Iraq. I well remember the huge marches against the Iraq War in cities around the world, yet our warnings went unheeded.
What are the social and economic impacts of that illegal war?
- 100,000 or more civilian deaths
- 4 million displaced Iraq citizens
- 5 million Iraq orphans
- Iraq women’s loss of secular freedom
- One third population living in poverty.
- Devastation of Iraq’s economy and infrastructure
- Rise of militant Islam creating greater Middle East instability
U.S citizens too were affected with more than 4,000 service personnel killed.
Oil prices increases of 2003-2009 decreased U.S income by $ 274 billion and the U.S Senate estimated the Iraq War price tag cost every U.S citizen $6,300.
The costs to the Australian economy were more than $5 billion.
Veteran Affairs reported 243 returning personnel suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and predicted numbers would increase as veterans age.
Australia’s participation in the Iraq War was assessed as “Inconsequential and timid even and did not boost our credibility as an ally” by former Australian Senator Jim Molan.
It seems Australian Governments are incapable of learning the lessons of history. AUKUS is the legacy of a desperate former prime minister who did not even consult his cabinet about this long-term commitment to unknown overseas wars.
Therefore, we need many Australian voices to demand that social and economic costings be prepared BEFORE such military agreements are made.
After the celebratory fanfares and enthusiastic handshakes of leaders it is the people who suffer the real consequences of such enthusiasm for war.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Australia