On 11 September 2001 suicide attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon killed almost 3,000 people. The attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda, a terrorist organisation that emerged during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and established itself under the Taliban regime that came to power following Soviet withdrawal.
Following the attacks, United States President George W. Bush declared a ‘war on terror’. The Australian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister John Howard, invoked the ANZUS treaty to support Operation Enduring Freedom, the US-led coalition that removed the Taliban regime and attempted to destabilise Al Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan commenced in October 2001.
In 2003 Australia again participated in military action when the United States led a ‘coalition of the willing’ to invade Iraq and remove the regime of Saddam Hussein. The action, which was not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, was justified on the grounds that the Iraqi regime was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. However, United Nations weapons inspectors failed to find evidence of such weapons.
Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship the coalition began work to establish a stable democratic state, including a counter-insurgency campaign to prevent civil war.
The donor of this badge, Peter Stanley, writes:
I bought this badge between 2001 and 2003 and wore it (or badges like
it) in protesting against Australia’s involvement in the invasion of
Afghanistan and especially Iraq. It expresses exactly my anger and
disgust that Australia should have taken part in these invasions.