Thursday, March 6, 2008

Winter Soldier: Speaking truth to power

"I joined the National Guard.. didn't know it was going to be the International Guard."

Next week, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations will come together in Washington, D.C. to tell the world about their experiences.

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony March 13-16 from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

It is not an official, government-sponsored hearing. Rather, like the 1971 hearings sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, these hearings are being organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War.

IVAW held a fundraiser in Milwaukee recently to help cover expenses of vets making the trip to DC, and this 10-minute video resulted. It's a good preview of Winter Soldier, featuring local vets,the Chicago veteran who thought of holding next week's hearings, and some footage from Iraq.

It ends with a powerful statement by Barry Romo, national director of Vietnam Veterans Against the War:

"What is great is that veterans are standing up again, and they know what's gonna happen to them ... They saw what happened to [John] Kerry ... There is something in terms of your souls; you are setting yourselves free from this culture of death which says you are supposed to keep your mouths shut and allow another generation to be sold down the river ... You have seen what can happen from speaking truth to power and you are not afraid ...
Audio and video of the hearings will be available online. Public viewing is being sponsored by veterans and peace groups in many communities.

There's more: "Winter Soldier: Speaking truth to power" >>

Monday, March 3, 2008

Antiwar movement could roar like a lion in March

Maybe we shouldn't complain about the news media's lack of coverage of the antiwar movement. They don't even cover the issue when it's debated for two days in the US Senate.

Senate Democrats, failing to pass anything last week, promise to try again in April, when an appropriations bill comes up. House Democrats are in a "wait til' next year" mode.

All the more reason to turn up the heat in March. And there are plenty of opportunities to take action -- in Washington or in your hometown -- as the 5th anniversary of the invasion approaches on March 19.

The vast majority of Americans who want this senseless bloodshed to end must continue to speak out and act out, at every opportunity.

Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold Winter Soldier hearings Mar. 13-16 in Washington, DC, modeled on the 1971 hearings held by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Here's how IVAW describes the event:

The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
You'll be able to follow live audio and video links on the web, and some groups are now making plans to screen the hearings in public places across the country, too.

The next week, March 19, is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Will we ever forget the shock and awe when we learned we had been duped about the reasons to invade? United for Peace and Justice, the nation's largest antiwar coalition, is planning to mark the day:

March 19th will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Enough is enough! We are organizing creative, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in Washington DC to interrupt business as usual for those promoting and profiting from war and empire building. Focusing on the pillars of war, our actions will take place at multiple sites, demonstrating the real costs of war and offering visions for a more just and sustainable world, a world at peace.
Actions are bring planned in local communities as well to mark the anniversary.

Friday, March 21, is Iraq Moratorium #7, a day to take individual or collective action to call for an end to the war and the occupation. The Moratorium, a national grassroots movement, asks people to do something on the Third Friday of every month to disrupt their normal routine and call for an end to the war.

You'll find lots of ideas for actions on the Moratorium website , along with a list of events on March 21 and reports, videos and photos of previous actions. There have been more than 600 group actions under the Iraq Moratorium banner since September.

So, march in March. Or do something, anything, besides waiting for the election. Unless we keep the pressure on, a Democratic president and Congress may not make this a priority, either. If you doubt that, ask Nancy Pelosi what she's doing to end the war.

There's more: "Antiwar movement could roar like a lion in March" >>

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Is This What We're Fighting For?

The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Wild Wild Left, Independent Bloggers Alliance, The Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani together in Baghdad, today. Americans are fighting, suffering post traumatic stress disorder, permanent injuries, dying and killing innocent civilians to help establish an Islamic Shiite fundamentalist axis in the Gulf. Likely Republican nominee John McCain promises more of the same. Hillary Clinton enabled President Bush and John McCain to pursue this strategic calamity out of sheer political expediency. Yet Clinton has the temerity to suggest she has superior credentials to be commander and chief? Both Clinton and McCain represent more of the same. It's time for a change. Enough said.

There's more: "Is This What We're Fighting For?" >>

Bush Announces No Drawdown After July

The evil Bushman is not going to promise a draw down of troops from Iraq as expected. Besides the troops sent in the surge no other soldiers will be coming home on his watch. In fact the number of post surge soldiers on the ground will increase by 6000. 140,000 compared to 134,000 before the surge.From his vacation home in Crawford he announced uncertainty of the October elections in Iraq as the reason.
He is leaving it all up to the Generals recommendations whether more troops will come home after July. Saying that stability is needed in October to ensure the voting process is kept on the up and up he is willing to commit the lives of our citizens to ensure his puppet regime is safely put in place.

He said decisions about any further withdrawals of troops will be postponed until August or September, with no promise there will be a reduction until after the elections.
"I think our generals ought to be concerned about making sure there's enough of a presence so that the provincial elections can be carried off in such a way that democracy advances," Bush said. "But I'll wait and hear what they have to say. But, yes, I mean, that ought to be a factor in their recommendation to me."
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Baghdad today I wonder what political rhetoric the US Government will start slinging. Bush has already reminded the Iranians about the U.N.Security Council's proposed sanctions against Iran and urged Iraq's leaders to tell him "Quit sending in sophisticated equipment that's killing our citizens.". Iran has already denied arming Shi'ite militants.
With the decision to postpone troop withdrawals stated so firmly this writer wonders if the hollow cry of "Support Our Troops" will ever come from Bush again. I believe the only way to support our fighting men and women is to bring them home.
As we have seen there has been little support in reality.
Just empty words.

There's more: "Bush Announces No Drawdown After July" >>