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Iraq War 20th Anniversary – Kellie Merritt

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A message from Kellie Merritt – widow of Flight Lt Paul Pardoel, killed on operational duty in Iraq in 2005. Kellie is a social worker and anti-war campaigner.

It has been 18 years since my last conversation with my husband Paul. Just after his resignation from the airforce and on his last deployment to Iraq he was blown to bits. His ravaged body along with members of his crew, falling from the sky and landing along the Tigress river far from home. The stench of brutality of war, heightened by the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in their own homes, evidence of war on every doorstep, in their soil and in their children’s bodies, should be horrific to us all.

And yet…

When it comes to war, the ALP, now in government, have strayed from principled democratic leadership and not veered off the path to war the coalition set us on. On this path well trodden by previous governments, war is reduced to a ritualistic entitlement. Prerogative power turns war, something that should be a grave and collective decision into an isolated and inevitable one. All the trappings flow…

The $368 billion promised to acquire and construct nuclear submarines, is not debated but announced. The biggest expansion  of the Australian military since the Vietnam War, isn’t questioned. We are told it is necessary. The ALP are captured and captivated by the maddening logic that to avoid war, we must prepare for one.

“Like all executives before us, lets milk this sacrificial war cow for the benefit of our American and weapon manufacturing masters and hope there’ll be something in it for us. After all it’s our prerogative. To hell with with lessons, reforms, democracy, sovereignty and the lives of others”

We see your dissonance, what a miserable lesson and legacy.

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