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30 July 2002
National defence spokesman Richard Worth, in a Press Release has accused the Prime Minister Helen Clark of "overseeing for electioneering purposes a 'cover-up' of the security situation for New Zealanders in Iraq."
He wrote, "The Australian Government has urged its nationals this week to either leave or avoid visiting that country as the US prepares to widen its war on terrorism in the region.
"We have seen no such warning from Ms Clark."
Wellington Quakers have a different perspective.
We ask everyone to remember that the Australian government, in spite of widespread international condemnations of such attacks, is one of the few who give support to US plans to invade Iraq.
Given the latest news from Iraq, there could well be danger to NZ visitors in the immediate future.
However, more important than concerns for the safety of NZ citizens visiting Iraq, are concerns for Iraqi people should the United States strike again.
It is important to recognise the Coalition attacks of 1991, and the subsequent sanctions, as war crimes and crimes against peace, and to put maximum effort into preventing more such.
The Iraqi people have been the recipients of terrible injustice already, for which NZ is in part responsible through its support of the embargo.
To shift the focus onto a danger to visitors to Iraq is to shift it away from the very dire needs of the Iraqi people and our responsibilities to them.
With regard to the United States "war on terrorism", we need to recognise, and to point out to the United States, that it is just such barbarous unilateral actions as being proposed by the Bush administration that have led to the United States being the recipients of terror attacks.
The security situation in the Middle East mentioned by Richard Worth, will become immeasurably worse if the United States is allowed to attack Iraq.
Remember that Mr.Bush has threatened the first use of nuclear weapons against Iraq. We ask all New Zealanders to consider the possible consequences of such an action against an Arab state.