5 Years of Horror and Madness in Iraq

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

March 19th marks the 5th anniversary of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.  This debacle is costing us ,upwards of two trillion dollars, nearly four thousand American lives so far, and a million or so Iraqi lives.  

As-My-Country-Lay-Dying

Many books have been written about the war in Iraq and many more will come, but the bottom line is that it never should have happened.  We’ve all known this for some time.  The only question is why we haven’t ended it.

None of the arguments against ending the madness hold any water.  Bushco’s people have predicted bloody chaos if we leave.  But those bastards have been wrong about every-fucking-thing – not to mention the bloody chaos that we are actively sponsoring.  

The reality is no one knows what would happen in our wake.  No one.  The consequences of our leaving, it seems to me, are not likely to be worse than the consequences of our staying.  It’s not like we have brought them peace and security.  But whatever the future may bring to Iraq – we have no business there and the Iraqis want us out.

Of course this debacle in Iraq is just a symptom of a much deeper sickness, our lust for war and war profits (some of us anyway).  We are locked in the grip of the pathology of our ruling elite.  They are nothing more than psycho-killers in suits, nefarious monsters dripping with the blood of innocents and fouling the air of the planet with their heartless hubris and soul-destroying greed.

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Many people saw the invasion of Afghanistan differently, at least at first.  It was justified, so the narrative went, because we were in hot pursuit of those who had attacked us and done great harm.  But this war became bogus the moment we let Bin Laden slip away so we could go attack a country that had nothing to do with any of it.

Gary Berntsen, a 20-year veteran in the CIA’s clandestine service who was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Intelligence Star, commanded a team of CIA and special forces during the war in Afghanistan in 2001, and is the author, with Ralph Pezzullo, of Jawbreaker: The Attack on bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander. Here he discusses the fight in Afghanistan, including bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora; his earlier career with the Counterterrorist Center (CTC); and his thoughts on the organization of the CIA today. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on Jan. 20, 2006.

Frontline

The disastrous and horribly fumbled war in Afghanistan adds another trillion to our cost.  This is three trillion dollars that cannot be used to educate our citizenry, care for our sick and uninsured, restore our crumbling infrastructure, or be invested in solving our critical problems like global warming, the energy crisis, the sustainable production of food and water and etcetera.  This is, at best, an egregious example of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’.

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If we are to have any hope for the future, if our grandchildren are to have an inhabitable planet upon which to live out their lives, we have to break this cycle of cruelty and madness and get serious about solving real problems.  We owe this to humanity.  

Civilization should not be a race to the bottom.

Olbermann and Greenwald expose war profiteers

You have to struggle to stay alive and be of use as long as you can.

Daniel Berrigan

You just have to do what you know is right.

Daniel Berrigan

We need to focus.  We have serious issues to face and we can’t do it while pouring trillions into these stupid wars.  We need to marshal our resources and apply them where they’ll matter, places like alternative energy, greenhouse gas reduction, sustainability of the ecosphere, and developing a sustainable food and water supply and distribution system.

And we need to stop rainforest destruction worldwide just as quickly as we can.  Globally, we lose 1 and ½ acres of rainforest every second of every day.

Rainforest Destruction and Human Apathy

La Reserva

We cannot save the planet or its inhabitants if we continue to be distracted by war and madness.  We need to be clear-eyed going forward.  We need to shift our focus to those things that will save us – and we can start by ending the shameful debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq Veterans Against the War and other veterans’ peace groups are staging Winter Soldier from March 13 through 16.

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony 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. The four-day event, March 13-16, 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.

Donate to support Winter Soldier

5 Years Too Many

March 19th is the eve of the 5th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Tens of thousands are coming to DC to protest on this shameful anniversary.  5 years of this immoral war and all for no good reason, 4 thousand American dead, a million or so Iraqis…and counting!

How shameful is it that we have not shut this hideous miscarriage of justice down?

24 Hours of Action Against the War — Join Us in DC!

We are just two weeks away from what promises to be an unprecedented day of coordinated nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against the illegal war in Iraq and the five “Pillars of War” that sustain the occupation.

On Wednesday, March 19th, people from almost 40 states (so far) will gather in Washington, DC, for this historic day of action.

United for Peace and Justice

Many national organizations are members of the UFPJ coalition, including: American Friends Service Committee, Black Radical Congress, Center for Constitutional Rights, CODEPINK, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, Green Party of the United States, Greenpeace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, National Organization for Women, National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, Not in Our Name, PAX Christi USA, Peace Action, RainbowPUSH Coalition, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, TrueMajority, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US Labor Against the War, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and War Resisters League.

United for Peace and Justice

There are a variety of actions planned including a Veterans’ March for Peace.  My son and I have decided to join the blockade of the IRS.  We will be looking for other kossacks and dharmaniacs in McPherson Square at 7:30 am on Wednesday, March 19.  We will look to connect with others who go in different directions as time and circumstances allow.

Blockade

SHUT DOWN THE IRS / SHUT DOWN THE WAR

On March 19, 2008, we will set up a nonviolent blockade of the national Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, DC, as part of the day of actions against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just as military recruiters supply the bodies for the war, the IRS supplies the funding. Just as some soldiers have the courage to resist the war, we – as tax payers – should have the courage to resist paying the taxes that send soldiers to war. We call on all war opponents to help dramatize our opposition and to disrupt business as usual by joining this nonviolent blockade.

For at least this one day – March 19, 2008 – we need to create a disturbance in the smug complacency of the IRS/Pentagon money-axis.

We will gather in our affinity groups at 7:30 am on Wednesday morning, March 19, at McPherson Sq., 15th & K St. NW. From these areas we will march to the IRS main entrance at 1111 Constitution Ave. (between 10th & 12th Streets), NW, and across from the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Once at the entrance, some of us will sit down to prevent the IRS from opening as usual, while others will hold signs and banners, pass out flyers, talk with passersby, and generally call attention to the cost of the war and our collective responsibility to stop funding it.

For more information, go to:

warresisters.org

mcpherson-square

If you can’t make it to DC, there are 410 actions planned around the country.

Thich-Nhat-Hanh_MINE

“You just have to do what you know is right.”

OPOL, after Berrigan

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43 comments

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    • OPOL on March 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm
      Author
  1. 7:30am… well, that’s when i’ll meet you finally… at 7………30……..am.

    i’ll be coming from my dad’s house in Bel Air, MD. so i’ll be on the commuter train in.

    can’t wait to meet you OPOL. you’re gonna wear that hat right?

    who else will be there????  

    • OPOL on March 8, 2008 at 10:08 pm
      Author

    and wants to go out to eat.  Sorry.  Please forgive my brief absence, and thank you very much for reading.  

  2. why we started this occupation in the first place?

  3. Mom will be 87 on March 13, and can’t travel to Washington.  But she would if she could!  And so would I.

    • Alma on March 9, 2008 at 12:52 am

    is one of the most fuckin’ beautiful photo’s I’ve ever seen.

  4. but they did it for sheer bloody-minded lust for power.

  5. Two thoughts;

      1–Why aren’t Obama/Clinton almost ignoring the war?

      2–Why aren’t they calling the coming recession/depression the result of “Mr Bush’s war economy?”

    This war has poisoned our ethics, our heritage, our military, our economy, and our standing in the world.  For absolutely nothing.  We need a constitutional amendment–If our troops are in a war or a “skirmish,” income taxes automatically go up by 10% to pay for it.  This will stop the Republicans–they will become pacifists–yippee!!

  6. As always I am so thankful to you for writing about the war with such power and eloquence.

    I really appreciate the second to last quote – “we are here to  awaken from the illusion of our separateness” because I really believe that being willing to join a large group, giving up (some of) your individuality for a larger cause is the key to making this work.  I just wish more people would get it!  

    Having this war go on for another year is just as unthinkable as it starting in the first place and continuing for these five years (my eldest son’s whole life).    

  7. At the same time the Iraqi hydrocarbon law was to have been voted on in December, 2007, the Iraqi government was also to have voted on a time-frame demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops from its soil.  

    Apparently, it seems that didn’t come about, as Bush and Maliki worked up an “illegal” agreement extending the occupation another year.  

    I hope this will be the largest event ever in D.C.  

    Thanks for this, OPOL, and all the information contained therein.

  8. “You just have to do what you know is right.”

    OPOL, after Berrigan

    Back in the days when I was a deeply commited participant in the resistance to the U.S. devastations in Central America in the 1980s, I used to say, “We must not be attached to the outcome.  We simply do this because it is the right thing to do.”

    But equanimity and non-attachment have worn very thin after decades of activism, so few constructive results, and the horrendous state we are in today. We, today, are in probably the most desperate condition ever during the 11 score and 12 years of this democracy; and it effects not this country alone, but the entire planet.

    Ergo, I am attached to the outcome.  I am passionately attached to the outcome.

    Sorry, Buddha, but non-attachment is  not an option for me right now.

    I must do what I know is right and I AM attached to the outcome.

    Stop these wars so we can get to work on the REAL, important issues of our day, the adaptations evolution requires us to make if this human, planetary experiment is to survive.

    End of rant!

    Thanks once again, Opol, for your inspirational work.

     

  9. Look for a 6’6″ skinny guy with his tiny wife.  They carry my will with them!

  10. mark and people seemed very concerned, more awake to how bad things are going in Iraq for everyone there.  We are coming upon 4,000 though and there is only so much awareness to go around.  We largely turn our eyes to our future and who will have to lead the United States out of this and who will have to deal with our accountability for the destruction left behind, but while our eyes are averted the burning continues.  I will always remember the burning.  I remember how the fire started and this was a fire we did start.

    • Temmoku on March 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I will be protesting in Chicago! As I have since before the war was started.

    Great post, Thanks.

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