The Respect Party was born out of the anti-war movement, which opposed the invasion and occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq. It is clear for all to see, that both wars have proven to be a disaster for all parties involved. It has become undeniable that Iraq is now a more dangerous place than it was prior to the invasion. Revealingly, according to ‘Iraq Body Count; over 186,000 violent deaths have occurred in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, with 134,000 of those being civilian casualties. It is important to note that the figure only accounts for reported deaths and it is fair to assume that many more deaths are likely to remain unreported in Iraq. In fact, the ‘2006 Lancet Report’ has put the figure as high as 654,965 total casualties, and that was just between March 2003 and July 2006. Both figures show a shocking amount of human casualties over what has revealed itself to be an unsubstantiated pack of lies. Furthermore, despite the occupation ending in December 2011, Iraq has become a hotly divided country; where sectarian violence is rife, car bombs and suicide bombers are a frequent feature of everyday life and Islamic extremist have become influential actors in Iraqi society.
The Respect Party firmly believes that if the U.K is to truly promote peace, democracy and stability throughout the world, then it should do so through diplomatic and peaceful means. It cannot come through the policy of invading and occupying foreign lands; Afghanistan and Iraq have proven to be tragic illustrations of how neo-colonial invasions cannot possibly promote peace. Hence, 12 years after we waged war on Afghanistan, our brave British soldiers are still dying needlessly in what has presented itself to be an unwinnable war. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with 42% of the population living on less than 61p a day. Furthermore, rural regions of Afghanistan are under constant threat from drone strikes, which appear suddenly from the sky, indiscriminately killing innocent civilians, many of whom are women and children. Consequently, rather than tackling the issue of Islamic terrorism, the war has actually inflamed it, spreading it across neighbouring Pakistan and throughout the region.
The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have proven to be complete failures, and costly failures at that. They have tarnished our image across the world and made our islands a bigger target for Islamic extremism. The Respect Party has dedicated itself to the struggle of deterring our political elite from, ever again, deciding to invade and occupy other people’s land.