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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 14 - 20  > Immediately withdraw SDF from Iraq!
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2007 March 14 - 20 [SDF]
editorial 

Immediately withdraw SDF from Iraq!

March 20, 2007
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. According to some estimates, this unjustifiable war has killed more than 200,000 Iraqis and created millions of refugees.

There is no doubt that U.S. President George W. Bush, who has been trying to control Iraq by military means, is to blame for this slaughter.

The Japanese government must also be held responsible for having supported the war and continuously giving support to U.S. military operations in Iraq by dispatching Japan’s Self-Defense Forces there.

Regarding President Bush’s new policy announced in January of increasing U.S. troops in Iraq with the aim of destroying the resistance, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at the House of Councilors Plenary Session on January 31 said, “I hope that the new policy will achieve good results.” He also expressed to U.S. Vice President Cheney his support for the new policy when they met in Tokyo in February.

In light of the fact that the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Iraq has become a major issue in the U.S. Congress and the fact that nations that have supported the U.S. Iraq policy are reducing or withdrawing their troops from Iraq one after another, Abe’s position stands out as extraordinary.

In return for the withdrawal of the Ground SDF from Iraq, the Air SDF last July expanded the area of its activities to Baghdad and continues to transport U.S. troops and military supplies.

Given the fact that 70 to 80 percent of the ASDF transport operations since last September have been used for the multinational forces, the ASDF activities are obviously contributing to U.S. combat operations in Iraq.

On October 26, 1990, the government expressed the view that SDF activities that are “integrated with [U.S. forces’] use of force” go against the Japanese Constitution.

The ASDF transport activities to Baghdad are also in violation of the special measures law on Iraq which restricts the area of SDF activities to “non combat” zones.

Despite this, the government is even seeking to extend the special measures law on Iraq, which is to expire in July, for two more years for the purpose of continuing the ASDF activities in support of U.S. forces in Iraq.

However, an opinion poll published by Asahi Shimbun on March 15 showed that 69 percent of respondents expressed opposition to the extension, and that 75 percent answered that the Iraq War “was wrong.”

Since it is evident that military force cannot solve the Iraqi issue, the government must give up on extending the special measures law and immediately withdraw the SDF from Iraq.
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