Veterans Group to Gillard, “No more lies, respect soldiers' lives!”
12 July 2010
Stand Fast, a group of veterans and former military personnel who oppose the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, has asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard to stop misleading the people of Australia
and to come clean about the war in Afghanistan. The group's comments are in response to
Gillard's use of the death of another Australian soldier in Afghanistan to peddle false
justifications for Australian involvement in this unpopular war.
Stand Fast spokesperson and East Timor veteran, Hamish Chitts said, “Gillard told the media on
Saturday that her government keeps troops in Afghanistan because Afghanistan has been a safe
haven for terrorists who have reaped acts of violence against Australians in 9/11 and in Bali.
This is an outright lie, a lie that shows the contempt that Gillard, and her colleagues from both
sides of parliament, have for the troops that they send and keep in Afghanistan. This lie of
making the world safer is completely shattered in light of the fact that the Afgan and U.S.
Governments are spending a lot of money in bribes and offers of government positions to the
very same terrorists Gillard claims to making us safe from.”
On March 26 the Newsweek website reported that in relation to official efforts to court Al Qaeda
allies Hezb-i-Islami many U.S. national-security professionals, especially in the intelligence field,
said they're disgusted to think of cutting deals with people who have so much blood on their
hands. A June 21 U.S. Congressional report titled Warlord Inc., Extortion and Corruption
Along the U.S. Supply Chain revealed the U.S. military was paying tens of millions of dollars to
warlords, corrupt officials and the Taliban to allow safe passage of its supply convoys. “There is
no way that Gillard could not know these facts, the safety argument is a lie and should be
challenged whenever anyone from the Government utters it,” Chitts said.
“While Gillard seems to be reluctant to give any credible reasons for keeping Australian troops
in harm's way the war continues to escalate,” Chitts said. Of the 17 Australian soldiers who
have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, 6 have died in just over a month. As well as deaths
there are many physical and psychological injuries occurring to Australian, U.S. and allied troops
every day. The biggest brunt however is being borne by Afghanistan's civilians. Last Thursday
6 more civilians were killed by coalition artillery in the Jani Khel district in Eastern Afghanistan.
On July 3 in the village of Amin Kalacheh 2 civilians were killed by troops looking for a Taliban
commander . More than 33,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
“Gillard has said she believes Australians, whilst mourning these losses and are very upset about
the news of another soldier's death, will understand her government's continuing determination.
This is another lie to make people who oppose this war think they are in a minority. Recent
polls show 61% of people in this country want Australian troops out of Afghanistan,” Chitts said.
Chitts said, “Faced with a government that resorts to deliberate misinformation to try and sell
us this unjustifiable war it is up to us, the anti-war majority, to do everything in our power to
protest this slaughter and to fight with all our might to bring the troops home now.”
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