Thursday, May 17, 2007

"We are not a nation at war..."

By Rae Abileah

Today as I was walking to the metro with a guy who works at Walter Reed Hospital, he said, "We are not a nation at war; we are an army at war." It made me think about how in wars past we in the US have rationed, held scrap metal drives, women who were traditionally in the home took up jobs in factories, the feeling of war was everywhere. It is entirely possible to walk onto a college campus, through a downtown city, or down the halls of Congress, and be oblivious of the fact that our nation is in fact at war. Of course the local cost of war is immense--the human death toll, the financial cutbacks to social services, and many of us in the poorest communities, or those of us who have family in the military, feel the war immensely.

Today when I was at Congress for a meeting I stopped by the underground subway between the House buildings and the Capitol as many Congressmembers were walking through to vote on something. Though I didn't have a specific bill to ask them about, I did shake many of their hands, and to every one I asked the question, "Have you done something today to stop the war in Iraq?" "Help us bring our troops home!" Because it is possible to walk these halls of Congress and feel very distant from the mere idea of war, it felt very effective to be a constant voice about the conflict outside the passageway to the Capitol. Imagine if every time there was any vote in Congress, every member going from their office to the Capitol was confronted with the message that it is time to bring our troops home and get out of Iraq. Our Congresspeople are for the most part behind the times in terms of public opinion about the war. Not only do we have to "push" them to do the right thing, support key legislation, stop the war... we have to "pull" them, by leading them towards the right direction. I envision hundreds of people here on a daily basis helping to pull Congress away from the Bush Agenda and towards peace. To increase our numbers from a dozen to a hundred... we need YOU! Click on the links to the right to find out how to join us in DC! Or raise a ruckus at your Congressperson's nearest office!

Photos from actions in DC today, including CODEPINK at a rally with Kucinich and Clinton, in solidarity with a labor rally, and outside the White House on the bullhorn during a press conference with Bush and Blair. Photos taken by Liz Hourican:


anna blume said...

The US primarily, legitimated by countries such as the UK and Australia are not nations at war, nor armies at war, but illegal invaders, murdering for oil, killing for the almighty dollar. The thousands of civilians; women, children and men killed, as well as those helpless young American children that kill in the name of their country must stop. And whilst that global village bamboozler is allowed by the congress allowed by the population to continue the push towards futher global slaughter, global nuclear war, we are all participants. This is a crime against all humanity. – thank goddess CODE PINK - women across the planet beg, scream and demand a STOP and a return to sanity.

anna blume said...

Yesterday I wrote of the real reasons for war as I saw it that of OIL! today in Truthout a wonderful article by Ann Wright confirming this view.

What Congress Really Approved: Benchmark No. 1: Privatizing Iraq's Oil for US Companies
By Ann Wright
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Saturday 26 May 2007

On Thursday, May 24, the US Congress voted to continue the war in Iraq. The members called it "supporting the troops." I call it stealing Iraq's oil - the second largest reserves in the world. The "benchmark," or goal, the Bush administration has been working on furiously since the US invaded Iraq is privatization of Iraq's oil. Now they have Congress blackmailing the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people: no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds.

This threat could not be clearer. If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed there. The privatization law, written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration, would leave control with the Iraq National Oil Company for only 17 of the 80 known oil fields. The remainder (two-thirds) of known oil fields, and all yet undiscovered ones, would be up for grabs by the private oil companies of the world (but guess how many would go to United States firms - given to them by the compliant Iraqi government.)

No other nation in the Middle East has privatized its oil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran give only limited usage contracts to international oil companies for one or two years. The $12 billion dollar "Support the Troops" legislation passed by Congress requires Iraq, in order to get reconstruction funds from the United States, to privatize its oil resources and put them up for long term (20- to 30-year) contracts.

What does this "Support the Troops" legislation mean for the United States military? Supporting our troops has nothing to do with this bill, other than keeping them there for another 30 years to protect US oil interests. It means that every military service member will need Arabic language training. It means that every soldier and Marine would spend most of his or her career in Iraq. It means that the fourteen permanent bases will get new Taco Bells and Burger Kings! Why? Because the US military will be protecting the US corporate oilfields leased to US companies by the compliant Iraqi government. Our troops will be the guardians of US corporate interests in Iraq for the life of the contracts - for the next thirty years.

With the Bush administration's "Support the Troops" bill and its benchmarks, primarily Benchmark No. 1, we finally have the reason for the US invasion of Iraq: to get easily accessible, cheap, high-grade Iraq oil for US corporations.

Now the choice is for US military personnel and their families to decide whether they want their loved ones to be physically and emotionally injured to protect not our national security, but the financial security of the biggest corporate barons left in our country - the oil companies.

It's a choice for only our military families, because most non-military Americans do not really care whether our volunteer military spends its time protecting corporate oil to fuel our one-person cars. Of course, when a tornado, hurricane, flood or other natural disaster hits in our hometown, we want our National Guard unit back. But on a normal day, who remembers the 180,000 US military or the 150,000 US private contractors in Iraq?

Since the "Surge" began in January, over 500 Americans and 15,000 Iraqis have been killed. By the time September 2007 rolls around for the administration's review of the "surge" plan, another 400 Americans will be dead, as well as another 12,000 Iraqis.

How much more can our military and their families take?

Mona said...

My first memories as a child were about war. I had relatives in the Second World war and my parents had many friends lost in that war. Then, as a young military wife I sat with my small children around my knees, watching the TV showing body bags coming back from Viet Nam. I vowed I would do whatever I could to speak out against war.

I was terrified that my two boys would be drafted in another war. Thankfully, there was no draft when they reached 18. Now I worry that a draft will be reinstated and my grandson, who is 21 and in college, may be sent off to fight another useless war.

In the 21st Century, have we not learned that war is not the answer? We all have to be more involved with what is happening in our country. We take freedom for granted, and we allow big money to make decisions for us. That has to stop!!!!

We are our brother's keeper, and the sooner we act on that, the better.