UPDATE ON THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ
The Media calls the US presence in Iraq a “war”. It is not a war, it is an occupation.
The War was over years ago. Remember the toppling of Saddam’s statue; President Bush standing on the aircraft carrier in front of the “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner? If it is a war, who are we fighting? Are the Iraqi people our enemy? If so, why are we insisting that they have an army and a police?
It is an occupation. How long will it last? Senator McCain has said we should be there 100 years. Funny, that’s when they predict the oil will run out.
Why are we building permanent military bases there?
When the democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, say that they favor bring out the troops, do they favor closing the bases? Why do both candidates maintain that the Iraqi government has to “stand up” so that we can “stand down”? Is that so the Iraqi government can protect our bases and the oil pipelines that American oil companies have forced the Iraqi people to make contracts with?
THE NEW SPIN: “IF WE LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, THERE WILL BE A BLOODBATH. “
The first lie was that there were weapons of mass destruction. This lie got us into the war.
The second spin is that Iraqis cannot government themselves, and that if we leave, there will be a civil war and the various sects, the Sunnis and the Shias and the Kurds, will all kill each other. According to this thinking, “Well, we shouldn’t have started this, but now we can’t abandon them; there’ll be another Rwanda or Kosovo.” The Bush administration, most of the media and many well-meaning people (including me) have accepted this justification for five years of occupation that hasn’t resulted in any improvement in the day-to-day violence in Iraq.
US VIOLENCE WOULD END: First of all, if we left, the violence of the US Army against the people of Iraq would end. In March, 2008, veterans of the Iraqi war testified at the “Winter Soldiers” public hearings about their participation and witnessing of the daily disrespectful, sometimes brutal, treatment of ordinary Iraqi citizens by US soldiers and US contractors (mercenaries). This brutal treatment includes rash and excessive force against anyone whose behavior arouses a soldier’s suspicions, sometimes resulting in death and maiming of innocent Iraqi civilians, beating and torture of rebels or suspected rebels. Additionally, in the war zone atmosphere, rapes and murders of civilians go unpunished.
Secondly, if we leave, Haifa Zangana, Iraqi author of “City of Widows”, believes that the Iraqis will begin to reestablish a civil society. She believes there would be a lot of internal discord, however, because “the occupation deliberately dismantled the state, army and key structures of civil society so that people have been forced further back to the defenses of their smaller communities…” (p. 18). In her talk at the Hammer Museum on April 2, 2008, she said that Iraq is presently divided politically, not by sectarian groups, but mainly between those whose have a vision of Iraq as a country giving the US and Britain access to their oil and allowing their military presence, and those who have a vision of Iraq as an independent country, managing its own resources. If the US left, the puppet government and the US- sponsored exile-groups would probably leave, but the people would begin to deal with the US-nurtured sectarian tensions perpetuated by US funded criminal gangs and neighborhood warlords.
Zangana and Polly Bingham, US filmmaker, producer of “Meeting Resistance” agreed that the sooner the US leaves, the sooner the process of healing the wounds and schisms caused by US interference can begin.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
GET THE FACTS: I am an individual who is opposed to the war. I am not an expert, but I urge you to investigate the facts concerning the Iraq Occupation and why we should withdraw immediately. Here are some good sources of information:
“Meeting Resistance”, a film by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, 2008, “Meeting face to face with individuals who are passionately engaged in the struggle. http://www.meetingresistance.com/.
“City of Widows”, Haifa Zangana, An Iraqi woman’s account of war and resistance. 2007, Seven Stories Press, New York. http://sevenstories.com/textbook.
References: “Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy, Gender-based violence and the War in Iraq”, Yifat Susskind, MADRE, http://www.madre.org/. Madre, 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001, Phone: (212)627-0444, Fax: (212)675-3704.
Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://www.ivaw.org/. , Winter Soldiers, available at Amazon.com.
SHOW YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE OCCUPATION: As the Iraq veterans said, “This occupation will end when the soldiers refuse to go. We will stop serving when we see you showing your resistance.
http://www.answercoalition.org. This is a coalition of anti-war groups that coordinates large anti-war marches.
www.neighborsforpeaceandjustice.org. This is the website for peace groups in the L.A. area. For the Northeast Neighbors for Peace and Justice, contact Nina (323)899-0698, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Eagle Rock Peace Vigil is held at Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard on Saturday, either 2-4 p.m. or 4-6 p.m., depending on the time of year. Call for exact time.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS; WRITE YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES