Statement on Woolwich killing of a British soldier
Statement by Stop the War Coalition and CND
Supported by Cage Prisoners
The attack in Woolwich on 22 May was horrific. There can be no justification for a murderous attack on an individual soldier in the streets of London. It must have been awful too for the local people who witnessed it.
The Woolwich attack, carried out by two men now shot and wounded and under arrest in hospital, appears to represent a phenomenon that was pointed out nearly a decade ago by the security services in Britain: that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would lead to a growing threat of terrorism in Britain. Many of us have long predicted that these sorts of attacks would happen because of the war on terror.
The men claimed that the killing of the soldier was in response to the killing of Muslims by British soldiers in other countries. One said that the government did not care for people and should get the troops out.
The response from the government has been to declare this a major terrorist incident. We do not yet know whether they had wider connections or whether this was a one off incident.
But the government response fails to deal with the political causes underlying such attacks. There were no such cases in Britain before the start of the ‘war on terror’ in 2001, which led to the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The consequences of those wars have been devastating for the people of those countries and further afield. Up to a million died in Iraq and 4 million were made refugees. Tens of thousands have died in Afghanistan. Fighting still continues and in Iraq looks like descending into civil war in some parts of the country.
The balance sheet of the last decade and more would demonstrate that the war on terror has been a failure in its own terms. It has not prevented terrorism but caused it to spread.
It has also led to a rise in Islamophobia in Britain and elsewhere. The invasion and occupation of mainly Muslim countries abroad has to lead to the dehumanising of the victims of the wars. Racists like the EDL turned up in Woolwich to try to further foster Islamophobia.
We call on all everyone to resist any racist backlash as a result of this attack.
We also call on the government to recognise the damage done by these wars and to change its foreign policy accordingly.
Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Moazzam Begg Outreach Director, CagePrisoners