Unfortunately our Peace Protest Rally was washed out, but I kept the speech
We in Australia cannot excuse ourselves from responsibility for the devestation of Iraq by saying that it wasn’t our idea and that we were only following orders. We have plenty of blood on our hands, and now it falls to us to do what we can to make reparations, as we comply with what the people of Iraq have been asking us to do all along – namely, to go home!
It’s hard to believe that it’s now been five years since we joined in the violent assault on the people of Iraq – five years of lies, five years of violence, five years of shame.
Of course, we went into Iraq, not to destroy it, but to liberate it’s people – to destroy their weapons of mass destruction, to be sure, and to break their links with Al Qaeda, but primarily, if I remember, to free the people of Iraq from the terrible oppression under which they suffered.
But of course there were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no link with Al Qaeda, and instead of liberating the people of Iraq, we’ve helped to turn their country into such a living hell that it’s hard to conceive now how the nation is ever going to be able to fully recover.
We in Australia can try to excuse ourselves by saying that it wasn’t our idea and that we were only following orders as passed down to us by our big brother in the US, but we can’t really evade our responsibility so easily. We’ve done our share in the destruction. We have plenty of blood on our hands, and now it falls to us to do what we can to make reparations as best we can, as we comply with what the people of Iraq have been asking us to do all along – namely, to go home!
I know I’m only a pastor of one tiny church, but I think I speak for all Christian people at all times when I say, ‘we look for a better world of justice and love’. And we don’t expect our politicians to deliver that perfect world, truly full of love and peace, but neither does this mean that we can excuse them when they drag us into senseless acts of mass violence, motivated solely by greed and lust for power.
The role played by us and by our allies in devastating the nation of Iraq is a tragedy that cannot be undone or forgotten and that we cannot evade responsibility for, but we must now encourage our new Prime Minister to do what he can to rectify the terrible wrongs that were committed by his predecessor, and to do what he can to bring some level of healing to the nation of Iraq, and we know that the first step that he needs to take in this is to wind down our occupation of the country and to remove our troops.
It will not be an easy job, but again I think I can speak for all Christian people when I say that we will do our best to prayerfully support our Prime Minister as he takes up this difficult and unenviable but vital task. And I’d humbly ask that he get the process rolling as quickly as is conceivably possible.
An address prepared for the Iraq War Peace Protest. Sydney 2008