4 War Years, NO MORE!
Four years ago today we invaded the country of Iraq, a country that for twelve years before that had been suffering under extreme U.S. sanctions at the cost of over a million lives (mostly children) due to malnourishment and lack of medical supplies, because of the absurd allegation that there were weapons of mass destruction there – despite the fact that there was no evidence to this and no one but the Bush Administration and the U.S. mass media believed Iraq had such capabilities.
Four years later and we are still occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
The last year has seen a resurgence of the Taliban, increasing power by local warlords and an exponential increase in drug exports is what our presence in Afghanistan has created. No one even talks about Afghanistan anymore, but the violence is increasing and the situation for Afghanis is bleak.
In Iraq the situation is spiraling more and more out of control. The U.S. government talks of the need for Iraqis to take responsibility in order to stop the violence and create democracy. Yet the attempts by the democratically-elected Iraqi government to demand that U.S. troops leave have been disregarded. How can you expect a government to have any authority or stabilizing ability when they are unable to affect or end the occupation, which is the most significant concern in Iraqi society today?
- 60% of Iraqis polled in mid-2006 that it is acceptable to attack U.S. troops, a state department poll found that over 2/3rds of Iraqis favored immediate withdrawal
- The war on, and occupation of, Iraq has resulted in an exponential increase in terrorism globally rather than lessening it. Much like the continuing Drug War, the Global War on Terror seems to have the knack for increasing a problem instead of resolving it.
- Unsurprisingly, a poll last week found the Iraqi people have little faith in U.S. troops, yet more confidence in the Iraqi government than President Bush currently enjoys from the American people.
Another year over, and what have we done?
The peace movement has been extraordinarily active this past year through mass mobilizations, building of local antiwar organizations/coalitions and coordination, and pushing the debate on the war to make it a key issue in the elections. There are now literally dozens of bills in Congress that address the war and would bring about its end, and that is because of the massive grassroots pressure to end the war. After over 4 years of pressure, the House of Representatives finally had a debate on the Iraq war, but talk isn’t enough when lives are on the line and we won’t rest until Congress uses its power to end the war now.
Over the past week hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in protest around the world. Of the thousands of Christians who gathered in DC last Friday to pray for peace and an end to the war, more than 200 of them took additional direct action and were arrested in front of the White House.
Students and youth are also showing their opposition in their communities through a variety of demonstrations, plays, panels, forums and actions to both educate and engage their peers and friends on the issues of the war. By connecting the local and global we can discuss how the war affects our communities and the unique ways we each have power through our schools or community to flunk the war machine. Check www.StudentPeaceAction.org over the coming week for updates and pictures of actions taking place around the country.
Too many lives have been lost or destroyed, Iraqi and American, over the past 4 years, we must keep it up and grow our local, national and international efforts end the war. Together we can ensure that we do not find ourselves marking the 5th anniversary still in the midst of war, no matter how much Bush pleas for patience – to be patient when people are dying and you can do something about it is a crime against humanity. In solidarity with the Iraqi people we demand an end to the occupation and a way to peace, now.
Student Peace Action Network Coordinator