U.S. PEACE MOVEMENT PLANS TO "ESCALATE" STREET PROTESTS
The ANSWER Coalition Responds to Bush's War Speech of January 10, 2007
ANSWER Coalition Statement:
Unwilling to accept the failure of his war of aggression in Iraq, his "war of choice," Bush announced tonight a plan that will succeed only in sending thousands of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers to their graves in the next year.
What Bush is really proposing is using thousands of additional U.S. soldiers in a planned reign of terror in the streets and neighborhoods of Baghdad against those who want the U.S. to leave. Bush chose to use a euphemism about the planned reign of terror when he stated that one of the past "mistakes" of the U.S. military operation in Baghdad was that, "there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have." The blood will flow just as Bush promises but this plan will fail just as badly as every announced initiative since Bush arrogantly taunted the Iraqi resistance with his infamous "Bring em on" speech back in 2003.
Bush gave the people of the United States a warning that they should expect the coming year will be "bloody and violent," with "television screens filled with images of death and suffering." He tried to innoculate himself from responsibility for this carnage although his plan makes it inevitable.
Bush's aspiration to salvage his "legacy" and his place in history isn't worth one more life. Every mother and father of a U.S. soldier, every person who has a loved one in the U.S. armed forces should make it clear that the lives of their family members are too precious to be sacrificed for such an ignoble cause.
For the last six years, Bush has provided huge tax breaks for the billionaires and multimillionaires of this country. But it will not be their children who will be sent to fight and die in Iraq. The privileged ultra-rich, Bush's real "base," are shielded from the horrors of the war.
The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis since March 2003 (see Lancet medical journal 10/06), proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Bush's claim that his invasion was for the liberation of the Iraqi people is a complete and utter lie.
"Clearing and holding neighborhoods in Iraq" is not the duty or right of members of the U.S. military. The people who live in those neighborhoods lived in peace before the arrival of the occupation forces. The occupation is illegal and the order to stiffen the occupation is illegal too. U.S. soldiers have the right and duty to disobey illegal orders.
Neither one more Iraqi nor one more soldier should die so that the politicians, who inaugurated a criminal "pre-emptive" invasion of a country that posed zero threat to the people of the United States, can postpone the verdict of history.
For their part, the Democrats in Congress are involved in a slightly more complicated dance. They want to posture as opponents of Bush's escalation and so-called surge without taking responsibility for bringing the war to a close. They could cut funding for the war which is their exclusive Constitutional prerogative. But they will absolutely refuse to take this responsibility. They are merely posturing for the 2008 elections hoping to take advantage of the well deserved public disgust for Bush and the Iraq war.
The issue right now for the anti-war movement can not simply be opposition to a surge or an escalation: the issue is the war itself. The troops must be brought home now. As in Vietnam, that is the only solution. Those who initiated the war and who funded the war should be held accountable for one of the great crimes of the modern era.
Everything that Bush has said about the Iraq war has proved to be a lie. This was always a war for Empire in a strategic area that possesses two thirds of the world's oil supply. He proclaimed tonight that, "failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States." If Bush fails in Iraq the people of the United States lose nothing. It is not our Empire.
On March 17, 2007, the anniversary of the start of the criminal invasion of Iraq, tens of thousands of people from around the country will descend on the Pentagon in a mass demonstration to demand: U.S. Out of Iraq Now! 2007 is the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 anti-war march to the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. The message of the 1967 march was "From Protest to Resistance," and marked a turning point in the development of a countrywide mass movement.
Thousands of organizations and individuals are mobilizing for the upcoming March on the Pentagon:
Organizing committees and transportation centers are being established to bring people to the March on the Pentagon.
Tomorrow, January 11, there will be emergency demonstrations in scores of cities around the country protesting Bush's planned escalation of the war in Iraq. A schedule of the demonstrations can be found by clicking here:
The March 17 demonstration will assemble at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Constitution Gardens) at 12 noon in Washington, D.C.and march to the Pentagon.
There are more than 1,000 endorsers for the March on the Pentagon including:
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Alice Walker, Pulitzer prize winning author
Cynthia McKinney, Congresswoman
Cindy Sheehan, co-founder Gold Star Families for Peace, author
Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran, author, Born on the 4th of July
Malik Rahim, Founder, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit
Paul Haggis, Director of Crash, 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture
Elias Rashmawi, National Coordinator, National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)
Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States
Rev. Luis Barrios, Iglesia de San Romero - UCC
Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild
Chaplain James Yee, former Army chaplain, Guantánamo Detention Center
Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Father Roy Bourgeois, Founder, School of the Americas Watch
Leonard Weinglass, Attorney for the Cuban Five
Eric LeCompte, National Office, School of the Americas Watch
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Mounzer Sleiman, TV commentator and Vice Chair, National Council of Arab Americans
Ben Dupuy, Co-Director, Haiti Progres
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Executive Director, Latino Movement USA
Calvin Gipson, Former President, San Francisco LGBT Pride Committee
Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, Washington D.C
Kay Lucas, Director, Crawford Peace House, Crawford, TX
Chuck Kaufman, Co-coordinator of the Nicaragua Network
Al Garcia, Alliance for a Just & Lasting Peace in the Philippines
Macrina Cardenas, Mexico Solidarity Network
Eugene Puryear, Howard University, student leader
Gloria La Riva, Coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
KAWAN: Korean Americans Against War and Neoliberalism
Ed Asner, Actor
Shirley Knight, Actor
Debra Sweet, National Coordinator, World Can't Wait -- Drive Out the
Jennifer Harbury, Human Rights Lawyer, author
United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA)
Jim Lafferty, Director, National Lawyers Guild - Los Angeles
Iglesia de San Romero - United Church of Christ
Mimi Kennedy, Actor (Dharma & Greg)
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
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