[LINK] OT: Howards anti-terrorist mailout

Bill D'Arcy billd@lisp.com.au
Tue, 11 Feb 2003 13:03:46 +1100 (EST)

Middle East/World
Tuesday - 11 February 2003
Ex-Australian Defense Chief Joins Campaign against Iraq War

A former defense chief joined other prominent Australians in the anti-war
campaign Monday, accusing Prime Minister John Howard of being prepared to
sacrifice young lives for political gain. Retired Major-General Alan
Stretton (80) also warned that committing troops to the war on Iraq could
make Australia a military target. Stretton, who commanded Australian troops
in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, had a statement read on his behalf as part of
the "Walk Against the War Coalition", which opposes a conflict with Iraq.
The campaign already has the support of former prime minister Malcolm
Fraser. "Our prime minister must be stopped in sacrificing our young
Australian lives for what he originally thought would be short-term
political gains," Stretton said.

Australia would reap none of the benefits of war but could become a victim
of Iraqi aggression if it joined a US-led attack. "Australia will not be
given any say on the control of Iraqi oil, Australia is currently under no
threat from Iraq but an attack on Iraq will only raise the likelihood of
that," he said. Australia has committed about 2,000 defense personnel to
the Gulf to prepare for war, although Howard maintains he has made no final
decision on committing them to combat. Stretton also lambasted US Secretary
of State Colin Powellıs presentation to the UN Security Council last week,
saying his evidence to justify an attack was "most unconvincing and
certainly does not provide any excuse to embark on a war in the Middle
Don't get involved in Iraq: general

AUSTRALIA had no place getting involved in a war against Iraq, a former
defence chief has said.

Retired Major General Alan Stretton today said the looming war in Iraq was
an American diversion to cover up its mistakes in Afghanistan last year.

He said American troops had killed thousands of innocent civilians in
Afghanistan and destroyed infrastructure.

"I frankly can't understand why we would be getting involved in a war in
Iraq," he told the Nine Network.

"Australia is not under any threat, it is an American-led war in order to
cover up their mistakes in Afghanistan and to switch American public views
on another front."

Major General Stretton said whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass
destruction was no excuse to launch military strikes that would kill
innocent civilians.

"That doesn't give us a right to go and declare war and send our troops to
get involved in a war in the Middle East when we don't know what the
consequences are going to be," he said.

"This war is not going to be like Desert Storm where indeed the Americans
massacred the Iraqi army.

"The Iraqi army will not stand and fight on the plains, they'll be
withdrawing to the city and that's going to be a different kind of warfare
and it could be quite prolonged."

He said America possessed the greatest weapons of mass destruction and
inspectors should focus their efforts there.