The Labor Fightback Network posted earlier today the statement unanimously adopted by the U.S. Labor Against the War Steering Committee opposing U.S. intervention in Iraq. We strongly urge that the statement be circulated as widely as possible and appropriate action taken to implement it.
In light of Obama’s latest escalation—more than doubling the number of U.S. troops in Iraq—the need for opponents of intervention to hit the streets in large numbers is clearer than ever. We urge a Call by a united peace movement for regional demonstrations in Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Boston and perhaps other cities to take place on an agreed-to date in the near future.
Last year a groundswell of opposition to Obama’s plan to bomb Syria was so powerful and widespread as to cause the administration to pull back at the last moment. That experience underscored the latent power of the peace movement and needs to be replicated now during this latest crisis.
In addition to adopting resolutions, mass mailings, petitions, civil disobedience, lobbying Congress, vigils, forums, and town meetings, nothing is more important than building united demonstrations in the streets. Such demonstrations were key in helping to bring the Vietnam war to an end.
All polls show that a majority of the population are opposed to the new war that Washington has now joined—with 300 military advisers and an estimated 700 additional U.S. troops now in Iraq (according to NBC’s Richard Engel), 12 fighter jets, 8 Apache helicpters and large numbers of Hellfire Missiles being rushed to the Iraqi government, armed drones saturating the air over Iraq, the announcement that “targeted” bombing is on the table, the decision to involve the U.S. more directly militarily in the Syrian conflict, the stationing of six U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, etc.
The U.S. was supposed to have ended its eight-year war against Iraq in 2011 after 4,500 American troops were killed; hundreds of thousands of casualties lost limbs and/or experienced mental and psychological trauma, and are now flooding VA hospitals; and a million Iraqis were slaughtered. The war cost over a trillion dollars. And it all happened because Democrats joined Republicans in voting to authorize it.
Tens of millions of people in this country can’t find decent jobs. Unemployment compensation has been ended for the long-term jobless. Food stamp funding was recently cut by $8.6 billion. The ranks of the homeless and impoverished continue to mount. The infrastructure continues to crumble. Large numbers of public schools are badly in need of repair and rehabilitation. And contamination of the environment grows worse as toxic chemicals are dumped into bodies of water.
These are but a partial list of the acute problems that need to be addressed and dealt with here at home. Instead, a seemingly inexhaustible sum of money—in fact trillions of dollars—are spent on destructive wars and occupations waged thousands and thousands of miles away. And the oil company tycoons, with the connivance of politicians in both major corporate parties, are licking their chops at the prospect of grabbing more of Iraq‘s oil wealth.
We say No Blood for Oil! Money for Human Needs, Not War! Respect the Right of Peoples of Other Countries to Settle Their Own Destiny Without Foreign Intervention! U.S. Out of Iraq Now!