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To: New Zealand's Minister of Defence, Hon Gerry Brownlee

Don't send our troops to Iraq

Don't send our troops to Iraq

Parliament will soon be deciding whether to send troops to support the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. History has repeatedly shown us that military force does not stop these organisations (1). In fact most of the time it seems to make things worse, not only for the country in which the fighting happens, but also for the rest of the world.

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Sydney have left us scared and confused. The last thing we want is to contribute to an escalation of global terror. We need to look at options besides sending troops to address this issue.

Please do not send our troops to Iraq.

(1) Rand Corporation (2008). How terrorist groups end: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG741-1.pdf.

Why is this important?

For more than 30 years (1) NZ has been fighting fire with fire. We keep sending troops to fight in the Middle East and it has only succeeded in bringing more death and destruction, not only to the innocent people in those countries, but more recently, to our friends and families closer to home.

A 2008 report (2) found that only 8% of terrorist groups, since 1968, have ended their activities as a result of military force. In fact, more terrorist groups ended due to completing their goals (10%) than as a result of military force! So the question is, what are we hoping to achieve by sending Kiwi troops to Iraq and Syria?

So far all we’ve heard is that joining the fight is the “price of the club” (3). In the 1980s, allowing United States ships to dock in our country was also the ‘price of the club’. But then we stood up. New Zealanders decided to be nuclear free despite our obligations under the ANZUS treaty (4). We knew nuclear weapons made the world a more dangerous place and we took action.

As a New Zealander, I am proud of what we did then and throughout our history we have always been a nation that has done what is right. I believe that we need to continue this trend.

Parliament will be debating sending troops to Iraq soon. We need to stand up and say "no more fighting". We need to let our government know that we are done supporting wars which make this world a more dangerous place to live in. We need to let them know that we do not support sending our troops to Iraq.

(1) Tucker, S. C. (2010). The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts. ABC CLIO: Santa Barbara, CA.
(2) Rand Corporation (2008). How terrorist groups end: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG741-1.pdf.
(3) NZ Herald (2015). Prime Minister John Key: Isis fight 'price of the club'. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11389202.
(4) New Zealand bans nuclear material (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZUS#New_Zealand_bans_nuclear_material.


Reasons for signing

  • Follow the leads starting with:Kay Griggs, US Marine wife tells all" posted 9 March 2011. The arms manufacturers, arms dealers, drug lords and banking lords do not want peace in the Middle East. There's no profit in peace. (Just as with the food and drug industries there's no profit in good health.) .
  • Because we shouldn't be fighting against them lunarics
  • Coz I'm cool 😎

Updates

2015-02-18 13:07:46 +1300

Brian Rudman's piece on the Herald today wonderfully deconstructs some of the war-mongering talk of some politicians and, indirectly, the media. The Herald has been on the fear-mongering band wagon again today with a series of articles regarding the Middle East, one of which is titled "Fears grow over..". We can expect more of this leading up to the decision, which is due next week.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11403607

2015-02-12 12:18:01 +1300

Former Iraqi Prime Minister and current foreign minister Dr Ibrahim al-Ja'afari is on his way to NZ to talk to our government regarding troop deployment. "Al-Jaafari served as Prime Minister of Iraq’s transitional government from April 2005 to May 2006. He presided over the marked rise of sectarian violence and the insurgency in Iraq and his term in office was one of the bloodiest periods in Iraq since 2003. Al-Jaafari was seen as incapable of stemming the rise in sectarian and insurgent violence; many viewed his government as complicit in the sectarian cleansing" - See more at: http://www.understandingwar.org/reference/fact-sheet-ibrahim-al-jaafari

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11400340

2015-02-10 17:26:22 +1300

It seems that our Defence Force feels troop deployment to Iraq is inevitable based on this article in the Herald this afternoon. There were signs earlier this year that this training was taking place, and the government denied it at the time so this just makes that official.

Regarding the actual deployment Gerry Brownlee says "this does not pre-empt any cabinet decisions" meaning we still have time to influence this key decision. Also John Key mentioned a decision could be made around the end of this month so watch this space!

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11399652

2015-02-10 07:36:43 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2015-02-09 14:51:16 +1300

Opinion writer Andrea Vance questions the government's stance on Iraq. She makes some good points around why we wouldn't want to go but never really calls for other options. She seems to be reinforcing the false two-way choice between fighting and doing nothing. There are other options, like addressing some of the deeper social, financial, and political issues which help cause conflicts like this. It's time our government started to look into and talk about them.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/65916914/andrea-vance-think-twice-before-joining-new-iraq-war

2015-02-09 13:18:08 +1300

Former US secretary general Kofi Annan has blamed the US invasion of Iraq in helping create the Islamic State threat.

“I was against this invasion and my fears have been founded. The break-up of the Iraqi forces poured hundreds if not thousands of disgruntled soldiers and police officers onto the streets,”

http://rt.com/news/230387-us-iraq-islamic-state/

2015-02-04 16:37:04 +1300

500 signatures reached

2015-02-04 14:37:26 +1300

Our Prime Minister's comments regarding this issue yesterday were disappointing to say the least. "It's when, not if, for New Zealand troop deployment against Isis" http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11395503 . While he is correct that something has to be done, the fact that no alternative options are on the table seems like the government is not trying to take a lead on this issue.

Our PM says "Are we really saying that New Zealand, a country that stands up for what's right and fair, is going to be one of the few countries in the developed world that is going to do absolutely nothing? I don't think most New Zealanders would support that view" and he is absolutely correct, most NZers would not support doing nothing. But the current option of sending troops - even in a non-combatant troop training role - is going to make the issue worse, as it always does.

Your voice here lets our government know that we want constructive options, not more violence.

2015-01-29 22:16:47 +1300

100 signatures reached

2015-01-29 17:54:13 +1300

50 signatures reached

2015-01-29 17:07:54 +1300

25 signatures reached

2015-01-29 15:53:05 +1300

10 signatures reached