Despite dubious claims by Nick Cohen and Labour Friends of Iraq that The Stop the War Coalition supports murders in Iraq the StWC made it clear that when they said Iraqis had the right to resist occupation by “all means necessary” they were not including terrorist attacks on civilians, mass murder or assassinations of unarmed non-combatants as legitimate means. I was at their last AGM in June 2006 when a motion calling for the StWC to support the Iraqi resistance was voted against by around 10 to 1. Views vary on whether attacks on coalition forces in Iraq are justified. Some (particularly some Iraqi) members of the StWC believe it is as the UN Charter and international law give occupied countries the right to resist occupation. Personally I am opposed to any violence unless it is in self-defence or the defence of others and there are no other options. I don't always agree with other members of the StWC. I can't clap if a speaker calls for "victory to the Iraqi resistance" because that would be to support attacks on our own troops who have been lied to and sent to a war that should never have been started. I frequently disagree with people who justify anything and everything on the basis of "anti-Imperialism". However the StWC and many people not members of it are united on one thing - that we want to begin the withdrawal of our troops to bring them home safely from the impossible situation they face in Iraq immediately before any more of them are killed or mistakenly kill civilians.
The Stop the War Coalition’s position then is the same as the UN’s position as defined by then Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2005 – the right to resist occupation exists but “the right to resist occupation cannot include a right to deliberately kill and maim civilians. Legitimate causes cannot be advanced by illegitimate means.”(1)
“Labour Friends of Iraq”’s claim that the StWC backs the Iraqi resistance or supports attacks on coalition troops is simply false. The StWC does not call for any kind of violence against anyone – it calls for the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq.
Any other position would be not only wrong but impossible since the Military Families against the War are part of the StWC. These are people like Rose Gentle and Reg Keys - lost their children who were British soldiers sent to Iraq based on a lie and without proper equipment. These are not people who would support attacks on our troops - and these men and women are greatly respected in the StWC
Nick Cohen might also wish to note that his claim that the StWC supports the murderers of Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl is doubly untrue since not only does the StWC condemn those murders but the Bush administration's accounts of both mens' deaths are contracdicted by the evidence as both men’s relatives have pointed out. .
copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007
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Sources & Footnotes
(1) = UN Press Release SG/SM/9776 23/03/2005 ‘SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ARAB STATES TO TAKE LEAD IN UNITING WORLD AGAINST TERRORISM, IN ADDRESS TO ALGIERSSUMMIT, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sgsm9776.doc.htm