PAP’s support for Iraq War was a grave error

November 21, 2015
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The SDP condemns the recent massacres in Paris, Beirut and Mali. Such wanton acts of violence have no place in a civilised world. We call on the global community to stand together and act in concert to eliminate the factors that cause the violence.

Closer to home, the recent warning by PM Lee Hsien Loong regarding the terrorist threats posed by ISIS is ironic, if not altogether hypocritical, given the situation that led to the group emerging in the first place.$CUT$

ISIS came about as a result of the failed Iraqi state following the Iraq War which started in 2003. The war was led by the United States under President George W Bush who claimed incorrectly that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had harboured weapons of mass destruction. There was no ISIS prior to the Iraqi invasion.

The invasion subsequently came under heavy criticism from the international community as well as from within the United States and Europe. Not only were there no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, the invasion destabilised the country and the region, turning it into a haven for terrorists from which the ISIS arose.

Back then, PM Goh Chok Tong supported the war, saying: “It is clear to everyone, unless that person wears blinkers, that this is a war to remove the weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein.” The PAP Government offered to send support personnel to support the US-led coalition troops.

But the late J B Jeyaretnam had presciently warned: “The risk of ‘terrorist’ attacks on Singapore has increased by the PAP government’s decision to send our soldiers to the war in Iraq.”

The fact that PM Lee Hsien Loong now says that “we are already being targeted” by ISIS and tells Singaporeans to be mentally prepared for a terrorist attack is cold comfort.

The PAP was wrong in this matter. It made a grave error when it became a proponent of the Iraq War. From this episode, it is clear that Singapore must scrutinise our foreign policy more rigorously.

While not supporting the Iraq War may not have stopped the military invasion of the country leading to the present circumstances, it is nevertheless important that we are more circumspect about joining or endorsing military adventurism initiated by our allies. As a small and independent state Singapore needs to preserve our non-aligned stance to protect the well-being of our people.

At the minimum, the PAP should be more transparent and accountable about foreign policy decisions that have the potential of jeopardising the security of our nation.