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No evidence to justify war on Iraq

No evidence to justify war on Iraq

Peace Action Wellington is deeply disturbed by the chilling "State of the Union" address delivered by president George Bush the day before yesterday.

"George Bush has now announced what many have known for a long time", said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Grant Brookes.

"He intends to invade Iraq regardless of the findings of UN weapons inspectors and irrespective of world opinion. But the more Bush threatens war, the more determined we are to stop him."

In his address, Bush put forward his best reasons for why an attack was justified. He claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction which were a threat to the region, and that he may use these in terrorist attacks against the United States itself.

But his "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction was largely a mixture of misquoted UN documents, four year-old reports which were discredited long ago, "estimates" by US security sources and the testimony of three supposed "Iraqi defectors".

His main link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida consisted of an imaginary "what if" scenario.

The heads of the weapons inspection programme and the International Atomic Energy Agency told the UN this week they have found no "smoking gun".

"We have, to date, found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the elimination of the programme in the 1990s", said IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei.

Bush accused Iraq in his speech of hiding documents on these alleged weapons from the UN inspectors. This is the man who has just overseen the removal of 9,000 pages of Iraq's 12,000 page report to the UN.

Bush also promised "liberation" for the people of Iraq, including the provision of food and medicines.

"If George Bush was really so concerned about getting medicines to the Iraqi people", asked Grant Brookes, "then how come he has maintained the sanctions regime banning the import of even the most basic pharmaceuticals?"

"Helen Clark's response to Bush's speech in the Checkpoint programme, when she said that a unilateral US attack would be 'distressing' but that 'we must be realistic', is completely unsatisfactory", he said.

Millions of people around the world are expected to take to the streets against war on February 15. Peace Action Wellington urges all opponents of Bush's war here to rally at Glover Park at 12 noon for a march to Midland Park.

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