On this ANZAC Day we remember all Australians who were killed in war, those who were incarcerated and abused as prisoners of war and those who sustained physical and psychological injuries as a result of war.
We remember the many millions of civilian victims of war who have been killed, injured, raped and tortured.
We remember the trillions of dollars of vital infrastructure destroyed by war.
We also remember that war is not an accident. Wars are driven by powerful vested interests.
ANZAC was born during WWI. UK Prime Minister Asquith and his government committed the UK to war with Germany. Australian governments under Prime Ministers Andrew Fisher and Billy Hughes were both committed to supporting the UK. Australians began killing Germans and being killed by them in New Guinea in September 1914. Of the 340,000 Australians who fought in WWI, 60,000 were killed and more than 100,000 others sustained permanent physical and/or psychological injuries as a result of Fisher and Hughes committing Australia to a war that served Britain’s, not Australia’s, interests.
Since WWII, the USA has dragged Australia into several disastrous wars.
The US under Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford embroiled Australia in their foray into Vietnam from 1962 to 1973. Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies eagerly committed Australia to this war and introduced conscription. Prime Ministers Harold Holt and John McEwan happily kept Australia involved. Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam began under John Gorton and was completed during Gough Whitlam’s Prime Ministership.
More recently, US President George W Bush eagerly supported by Australian Prime Minister John Howard embroiled Australia in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
And now, Australia is again on the brink of being embroiled by the US in a war, this time against China. AUKUS and nuclear submarines will drag the Australian people into another disastrous war.
We must ask ourselves whose interests are served by these wars? Are the interests of the Australian people served by them? We know that many big corporations boom during war. Companies that manufacture planes, tanks, ships, weapons and ammunition benefit. Companies that mine iron ore and make steel benefit. Oil producers benefit. But how do these wars benefit Australian families and workers – people like you and me? Are we not being sacrificed?
If Australia was attacked militarily, we should defend ourselves. But if not, why should we send our young men and women to a war because the USA demands that we do, when there is no clear benefit to people of Australia?
Lest we forget. Lest we forget the death, destruction, misery and displacement of war. We say, never again.
IPAN National Co-Ordinating Committee – 25 April, 2023