Today Parliament voted huge increases in spending on war. The budget for Afghanistan has been increased by 48% and Iraq by 52% over the estimates given only 3 months ago. Costs are doubled compared to the last financial year.
You might have thought with the reduction of UK troops in Iraq that costs would have been reduced too. But not a bit of it. They have ballooned from £955m in the winter estimate to £1,449m in the latest figures. When indirect costs of the operation are included the Iraq bill alone comes in at £1,648 million for the year.
And has the MoD explained what is going on with all this money? It appears not. Surely this is not good enough? We need to be told why billions are being diverted from public services to fight an unwanted and unnecessary war.
But far more terrible is the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are an estimated 655,000 dead in Iraq alone. Each death is a tragedy – such unbearable sorrow inflicted on each bereaved family. And don’t forget the millions of refugees, the wounded and displaced, the frightened children.
That is why I will be marching in London again this Saturday. We cannot sit idly by and watch these terrible things happen in our name. We cannot become immune to the degraded war policies of our government. We have to assert our humanity, fight the immorality of the war and occupation. Enough of the blood-letting and profiteering. Our government must have the courage to bring the troops home. Come with us this Saturday.