The Human Shield Movement gained global prominence in the 2003 when hundreds of so-called Western civilians of all ages and backgrounds descended on Iraq in an attempt to prevent the invasion. The movement has been out of hibernation since President Bush’s State of the Union in Februrary and have been collecting pledges of people willing to go to Iran should an invasion look imminent.
Organisers are hoping that by organising early they will be able to mount a sizeable army of volunteers willing to try and stop a future destructive folly in the Middle East. The Human Shield Mission to Iraq only had a matter of weeks to organise before the start of ‘Operation Shock and Awe’ and as a result the number of human shields in Baghdad was not great enough to provide an effective deterrent.
President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ State of the Union in address in 2002 was a precursor to the Iraq invasion. In February 2005 his address hinted at his future intentions in Iran. Since then, the election of the radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian President in July has made the White House even more determined to invade.
Although travelling to Iran or Syria is seen as a ‘last resort’ the Movement is determined to be more organised this time around. Today, a powerfully-worded warning was sent to the White House, as well as a letter to Downing Street urging Tony Blair to unequivocally distance himself from the President’s warmongering stance. A spokesperson for the movement, Schlomo Stankowic said today;
“Military action against Iran would be based on the principle of ‘anticipatory self defence’ or ‘preventive war’. By allowing the concept that wars can be fought on the basis of what states might do rather than what they have done or are about to do, we shatter the precepts of international law and destabilise the world. It is up to all of us to do everything in our power to save this planet from this dangerously misguided foreign policy. If we had had 10,000 human shields in Iraq before the war, Bush and Blair would have hesitated in their rush to war. Unfortunately in 2003, we had little more than a month to mobilise human shields. This time it will be different. This time we will be prepared.”
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