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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3973..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

the Australians for their superb management of the airport in Baghdad; also for their magnificent efforts at the facilities for training the new Iraqi army in Kirkuk and Mosul.

One of the under-signed, Hadi Kazwini, sent an email to the Australian troops in Iraq thanking them as his fellow-Australians for helping to liberate his country.

The fact that an RAAF Hercules flew the Iraqi Olympic athletes toward their destination in Greece is a source of pride for us all.

We are not attempting to make any political point by writing this statement. Since Iraq is part of the international community currently facing a threat from global terrorism, we would find it morally irresponsible not to be involved in critically analysing the issues the other 43 have raised in their statement.

We were not able to speak or write openly during the build-up to the war and tell our fellow Australians the truth about the disastrous conditions in Iraq because members of our families would have been immediately persecuted by the regime.

As for weapons of mass destruction, is it possible they could have been hastily destroyed or hidden? A very small amount can do a vast amount of damage. The former regime slaughtered 5000 Kurds in Halabja in 1988 by bombing the people with nerve gas in small quantities. Many more atrocities could have been committed if Saddam Hussein had remained in power.

It goes on to say, "We believe Hussein himself was the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction in Iraq-and fortunately he has been found. The regime thumbed its nose at UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to declare all its weapons of mass destruction."The letter continues:

Nor did Hussein comply with UN resolutions regarding human rights.

Years passed and the resolutions were never completely complied with and the threat remained very strong, as many of our Iraqi friends, who are senior scientists and now living in the West, are well aware.

It was enormously courageous of the allies to go into Iraq. By hesitating any longer and agreeing to the wishes of the UN, perhaps the situation would have become much more hazardous. Some action had to be taken because the former regime took little notice of the UN. Let us remember that there was hesitation before World War II, which led to the deaths of millions.

It goes on to say, "Would the leaders in the United States, Australia and Britain have taken their countries to war unless they thought there was a very serious threat from weapons of mass destruction?"The letter continues:

They would surely have been aware that if none were found there would have been a huge question mark over their credibility. We express our heartfelt gratitude to the members of the Australian forces and we wish for a safe return to their families and also to all who have supported the liberation of our country of origin.

We sincerely hope that the present conflicts in Najaf and southern Iraq will soon be resolved peacefully so that all Iraqis can live within a new system of law and order.

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