A world of difference between war and peace

The Green Party is urging Helen Clark to maintain the integrity with which she has opposed the US-British invasion of Iraq.

“We note with some unease the comments of Helen Clark that there is ‘no division’ with London and Washington over their illegal invasion of Iraq,” said Keith Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“Does she seriously agree with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that our stance on Iraq represents only a ‘small difference in emphasis’ to that of Britain and the US?

“For the people of Iraq the war that has been visited on them is not a ‘small difference’. Nor is the continuing American and British occupation of their land.

“The Greens are all in favour of good relations between New Zealand and Britain and America. But the mark of real friendship is that you can take each other to task, without fudging the issues.

“Helen Clark shouldn’t play the issues down by saying that there was only a disagreement on the ‘means’ to disarm Iraq.

“That buys into Tony Blair’s lie that Iraq definitely had weapons of mass destruction. The UN weapons inspectors never discovered them and the occupation troops haven’t come up with any, either.

“Surely Helen Clark can see now that the war had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction,” Keith Locke said. “It was about America and Britain’s desire to exercise greater political and economic influence over the Middle East.

“George Bush’s new threats against Syria and Iran should have alerted her to that reality, as should the scramble by American firms to get construction and oil contracts in Iraq.

“New Zealand is respected for its antiwar stand, as Helen Clark found when she visited other European countries. We must not soften it now.”