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Letter to Phil Goff

8 November 2001

Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Parliament Buildings,


Dear Mr Goff,

I heard you speak in Parliament today saying," I don't recall anyone protesting against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan' ... Just thought I'd jog your memory, and let you know that at that time, Peace Movement Aotearoa organisation held a street march in Queen St , Auckland to protest the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. I participated in this event and have some photos if you're interested.

But your comments sounded like you were trying to denigrate people who are opposed to this US-led bombing campaign on Afghanistan , because they come from a position of being "pro-communist" or "pro-Soviet" or "far left socialists" or whatever. I was disappointed to hear you speak in such a manner, Mr Goff, because it sounded like something out of the "cold war" days.

There is a large and growing body of mainstream citizenry who are very disturbed by the actions of the so-called " War on terrorism" and a large and growing cross-section of New Zealanders who are opposed to NZ's rush to send military support to a very dubious, dumb, dangerous and downright illegal war.

Dubious? The sales pitch for this war, to catch the mastermind terrorist Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive" , doesn't make sense upon examination of the facts surrounding the heinious terrorist attacks on America. The terrorists who planned and supported these terrible crimes against humanity must be found and punished by an International criminal justice system. But many believe that this military reponse will only kill thousands more innocent people, inflame anti-US hatred, and escalate the problem of terrorism rather than "fix" it. Many people I come across believe that a less retributive and more measured response would be an ultimately more effective response to the threat of international terrorism, which is complex and not simplistic.

Now the rationale for the war has morphed into getting rid of the (brutal) Taliban regime. We all agree that the Taliban regime, proteges of the US at the time of the Russian occupation, is one of the most despicable and brutal regimes. But even seasoned military strategists are saying that the 3000+ bombs that have rained down on Afghanistan since October 7th, will not achieve that military goal easily, and who says the so-called "Northern Alliance" that the US wants to install are any less brutal and despotic? From all accounts, they are of the same ilk, but might be more sympathetic to US oil-pipeline ambitions.

Why is this war dangerous? The use of anti-personel cluster bombs, uranium tipped missiles, bunker busting bombs, carpet bombing amounts to an orgy of vengeful destruction that has killed many innocent people, damaged Red Cross food warehouses, destroyed hospitals. The bombing campaign has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians who are fleeing in terror only to face the terror of minus 27degree winter weather with no shelter or food. The magnitude of the human misery is on a colossal scale, and our nation is shamefully supporting the US bombing campaign, which has made the refugee crisis worse.

Yes, some food-aid may be reaching some of the lucky ones, but while sending one Hercules plane, a medical team etc is commendable, it doesn't put a rosy glow on the fact that this government has pledged our SAS troops to support the US war. It is estimated that seven and a half million people are on the brink of starvation, as you know Mr Goff, and as we a nation with a history of an ability to think for ourselves, and to be compassionate, we must withdraw our support for the US war OF terror on Afghanistan.

Did we go and bomb Paris when the French government committed and act of state terrorism in Auckland harbour?

Did the British go and obliterate Belfast because they were "harbouring" IRA terrorists?

Do we have the right to go and bomb all the despotic, brutal regimes in the world now, as , quoting you today in Parliament, " that is the only way to get rid of them".

Did we rain down bombs on the cruel apartheid regime of South Africa in order to "get rid of it"?

Should the US now bomb its own (well documented) terrorist training camps whose graduates have committed atrocities and assasinations in South America (also well documented)?

Mr Goff, please think again.

And I hope we didn't rush to support the US bombing campaign just to receive "free trade" favours. That is how it appeared from the publicity surrounding the APEC meeting.

And that is no moral position at all.

I do not support our sending of SAS troops to this war, and I join thousands of others in the call for a withdrawal of all military support.

I do support every humanitarian effort we as a small nation can make to assist the perilous situation of the Afghani refugees. I do support an international effort to eliminate terrorism by a just and legal means, which includes an international effort to change the conditions that give rise to terrorist movements in the first place.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie McKee.

Index page on Response to attacks in US


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