Stop the War Coalition Speech – Afghanisatan

Friends, I would like to thank you for attending this evening and inviting me to speak to the Stop the War Coalition, especially in such esteemed company and campaigners as my colleagues upon the podium tonight.

Compared to some of you here, I am a comparative newbie – elected this Summer as the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, but you will be very familiar with the party I represent and my predecessor, a certain Adam Price.

It was Adam, you may remember, who launched the campaign to impeach Tony Blair over his lies to Parliament in justifying the Iraq War, an imperial war for oil that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

My party, of course, is Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales. We have a strong pacifist tradition within our party, and one of our central defence policies is the creation of a Peace Academy, but even amongst those who are not strict pacifists there is a strong belief in international law.

We were a party that voted against incursion into Iraq and a party that, as far back as 2001, was unanimous in our concern about the consequences of our involvement in Afghanistan – our four MPs being a quarter of those registering their doubts in that very first vote.

It has been clear to myself and my party that the continued changing of nature of the war in Afghanistan puts everybody at risk. A war fought with no realistic timeframe, no clear cut conditions that define victory or defeat is a war without end.

Yet that is where we are, with spin doctors regularly changing our objectives to make it look as if the surges and incursions are being successful in changing the hearts and minds of Afghans, or winning the war on the ground.

Clearly, neither is true.

My party has long called for withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan from this unwinnable war – a standpoint with which I’m sure everybody here will agree.

But these are not just wars fought thousands of miles from home, they impact upon us here as well.

In my own constituency, I have expressed concern about the testing of unmanned drones making flights above Welsh airspace, while the decisions about the Strategic Security and Defence Review are of great import in determining our future foreign policy

As this review takes place, it is important that we send a clear message to the Conservative and Lib Dem administration that these imperial wars were not fought in our name, should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible and that we should never again enter into such alliances without the full support of our international partners around the world and international law.

Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr.

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