Tag: Iraq Moratorium

Your Opinions Requested: Should The Iraq Moratorium Change Its Name?

Many of you are familiar with the Iraq Moratorium. Some of the discussion that led to its formation took place here and at Daily Kos in early 2007 and its launch on September 15, 2007 was well recorded here. Diaries since have covered it, and blogosphere luminaries like Meteor Blades and One Pissed Off Liberal have repeatedly given it play.

The idea is simple, and captured in our pledge:

I hereby commit that, on the Third Friday and/or Third Weekend of every month, I will take some action by myself or with others to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Early last year, the tiny all-volunteer committee that helps coordinate this effort made two changes reflected in the wording above. We added the Third Weekend at the request of some of the many longstanding anti-war vigils that take place on Saturdays and Sundays, and we added the war in Afghanistan.

At that time we decided to keep the name Iraq Moratorium because of its name recognition and because we feared that Iraq was falling off the media’s radar and out of public consciousness entirely.

Looking back, we feel that this was a mistake. Iraq has in fact faded in this country’s awareness, despite the 120,000 troops still stationed there, not to mention the similar number of “private contractors” our tax dollars are paying for. Meanwhile, the administration is in the early stages of its second escalation in Afghanistan in less than a year, and the death toll there is rising inexorably–troops, insurgents and Afghani civilians alike–which has placed the occupation there center stage.

The Moratorium committee’s feeling is that the name should be changed to the War Moratorium, but we ask your input because, as mentioned above, the shoestring operation that keeps the Moratorium going consists of a handful of us. Your views will be a welcome contribution to our decision-making.

This is not the place for a summation of the 2,500 plus events that have taken place in observance of the Moratorium so far, nor for a plea for volunteers to help us build it, especially on the Internet and in older forms of media. Both of those will be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, please check out the website and remember the Moratorium slogan:

It’s Got To Stop! We’ve Got To Stop It!

I hereby make a commitment

that, on the Third Friday and/or Third Weekend of every month, I will break my daily routine and take some action, by myself or with others, to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s the pledge that is at the heart of the Iraq Moratorium, whose 20th iteration is observed today (and tomorrow and Sunday). This no-budget, locally-based, grassroots-up initiative has had over 2000 listed organized events and tens of thousands of individual participants since it began on September 15, 2007.

Please do something today or over the weekend–call your congresscritter, wear a button or armband, put a sign in your window, join a vigil, pray.

We’d love you to check out the Iraq Moratorium website, newly revamped, and report what you did.

But do something!

Iraq Moratorium #20: We Won’t Forget Or Turn Aside!

The US media may not be reporting it and the politicians may not want to talk about it, but the situation in Iraq is deteriorating. On Friday, 5 US soldiers were killed in a truck bomb attack near Mosul, and another died Saturday when an IED hit his convoy north of Baghdad.

Nor can we forget that life for ordinary Iraqis is still full of danger–last week six simultaneous car bombs across Baghdad killed 32 and wounded 120–and full of misery–on a good day Iraqis are lucky to get four hours of electricity. No wonder tens of thousands filled the rain-drenched streets of Baghdad a week ago, chanting “No, No To America! No, No To Occupation!”

That war in Afghanistan, where 21,000 additional troops are being shipped into harm’s way? It’s actually a war in Afghanistan AND Pakistan. Two articles that you did not see in your local newspaper last week provide a much clearer picture. It is not a pretty one.

The News, an Pakistani paper published in English, laid out what those miraculous pilotless drones used by the US military actually do:

Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qa’eda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians.

One result of American death raining out of a clear sky is a massive refugee crisis. A new UN report says that 600,000 Pakistanis have from fled their homes in border areas rendered deadly by the drones and US-backed Pakistan Army operations. These internal refugees join 1.7 million homeless Afghan men, women and children who have fled into Pakistan!

How much more misery will the expansion of this war cause? How many more mujahidin fighters will it produce? It’s got to stop! We’ve got to stop it!

This Friday and this weekend mark the 20th observance of the Iraq Moratorium. Please take some action by yourself or with others to stop this war!

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Six years of war sparks hundreds of actions this week

Thursday marks six years since the "shock and awe" invasion rocked Iraq and the US kept the world safe from Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Dick Cheney continues to insist we "won" the war in Iraq because there is a new democratic government there. There's also a new Democratic government here, and that, too, is in large part a result of the invasion and occupation.

The Obama administration isn't talking about a 100-year war, as John McCain did. Right now, it's not quite three more years until all US troops leave — and move to Afghanistan.

So why are the antiwar groups demonstrating? Are they never satisfied?

Well, I'm not, and I hope you're not, either. We need to keep the pressure on, to speed the Iraq withdrawal that currently plans to leave 50,000 troops there, and to stop the escalation in a guaranteed losing effort in Afghanistan.

Events across the country this week will mark the anniversary itself on Thursday. Friday is the Iraq Moratorium observance held on the Third Friday of every month, and Saturday is the day for marches in Washington, California — and Milwaukee.

Wisconsin, where I live,  is a hotbed of antiwar activity, and organizers have planned at least 24 events that I know of, and others that I don't.

Around the country there are hundreds of events.  Many are listed on the Iraq Moratorium website and others at United for Peace and Justice or ANSWER.

Join them if you can.

It ain’t over till it’s over.  

What did you do to end the war, Daddy?

When your child asks, in 10 years, “What did you do end the war in Iraq, Daddy? (Mommy?), what are you going to say?

“Well, we worked really hard at it for years.  We marched, and wrote letters, and held vigils, and called up Congress, and did a lot of other stuff — oh, and a lot of meetings, too.  

“So did you keep it up until you made them end the war?”

“Well, not exactly.  See, we worked to elect this guy who was running for president and said he would end the war if he got elected.  And he won.

“So he ended the war and then you could quit protesting?”

“Something like that.  More like we quit protesting and hoped he would end the war.”

“Did it end?”

“Yes, but not right away.  It took a few years.  Quite a few, actually.”

“Do you think maybe you quit too soon?”

“It’s getting pretty late.  How about a bedtime story?”

* * *

Friday, Feb. 20, is Iraq Moratorium #18.

It is not the time to opt out of the effort to end the war and occupation of Iraq.  It is a time to turn up the heat, or, at a minimum, to keep things simmering.  Do something, large or small, to show you want US troops home.  

And, whatever you’re planning, please list it here.

Members of Congress are going to be home next week for a recess.  It’s a great chance to tell them face-to-face that we want our troops home.  And talk to them about spending priorities, using the billions we are wasting in Iraq to do something constructive.

From United for Peace and Justice, the nation’s biggest antiwar coalition:

The time is now to mount a campaign to cut the military budget by ending the war and occupation of Iraq and redirect the spending of our national budget.This is also an opportunity for the antiwar movement to work with economic and social justice groups in organizing joint delegations.

Don’t go to their offices alone!  Join with labor and community groups to make the first recess of the new Congress the beginning of a surge to compel them to end the war, cut the military budget and fund human needs.

If your Congressional representatives refuse to meet, or opposes the need for urgent emergency government action to respond to the economic crisis or bringing all the troops home: picket or vigil outside their office and call the press!

The opening of the debates on priorities for the next Federal Budget will follow this Congressional  recess. We need to make our priorities clear! Ending the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first steps to making larger cuts in the military budget and change the priorities of Federal spending.

That’s just one idea.  There are hundreds of things you can do to observe the Iraq Moratorium.  Need ideas?  Visit the website:   IraqMoratorium.com.

What are you and me gonna do to end the war, Daddy and Mommy?


Congress members coming home next week; Talk to them

A reminder that change may have come to Washington, but it hasn’t made it to Iraq yet.

Iraq Moratorium #19 is only 10 days away, on Friday, Feb. 20.

Here’s one idea for action from United for Peace and Justice:  Schedule a meeting with your members of Congress, who will be home on a recess that week, and ask them to end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Of course you can always protest outside of their offices.  But why not ask for a face-to-face conversation and see what happens?  UFPJ says:

To make sure you can get appointments with your elected officials you need to call now. Go here to find out who your Representative or Senators are and their contact information.  We want members of Congress to know they are getting calls from UFPJ. We want legislators to know that we are connecting the issues of the war and the economy.

There are three messages we want to deliver to the members of Congress.

1) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must end! We believe that security will be forged internationally and diplomatically, not by the United States unilaterally occupying nations. Furthermore, the economic crisis has created and exposed tremendous human needs in our own country. Millions are without health care, stable housing, and living wage jobs. The priority of the national treasury must go from a war economy to a peace economy where the winners are all of us, rather than military contractors. A first step in this process must be to stop the funding for these wars! It is critically important that Congress knows the antiwar movement is as strong as ever.

2) It is time to fix our country’s health care system! We encourage you to support HR 676, the Single Payer Health Care bill. Passage of HR 676 would mean that health care is provided by a single source, rather than dozens of private insurance companies making profits. This would be a cheaper way to cover health care costs, as it is all over the world where governments guarantee health care. Health insurance being separated from employment would also help U.S. corporations who cannot compete with international corporations, who do not have to provide employee health care. For more information on this bill go here.

3) We support passage of the Employee Free Choice Act!  This bill allows workers to unionize when a majority of people demonstrates their support for a union representing them by signing union cards. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would result in more workplaces being unionized. With unionization, workers get the benefit of collective bargaining, which results in higher wages. Higher wages means more spending power that boosts the economy; higher wages means families can be supported without every adult working multiple jobs, which leaves little time for families, children, and being an informed citizen. For more information on this bill go to

AFL-CIO site.

Support for both HR 676 and EFCA is a good place to start. UFPJ member groups such as Progressive Democrats of America and US Labor Against the War are already working on them.

Everyone doesn’t live in a town where there is a Congressional office, of course. But you can bring cell phones and contact numbers to your Moratorium event and place calls from there. Keep the heat on.

This idea also ties in with the Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign, which has been urging contact with members of Congress, in their home offices, on the Third Friday of the month and has produced a video with Vietnam vet Ron Kovic to promote it.

But we’re not telling you what to do to mark the Iraq Moratorium.  That’s not our role.  It’s simply to encourage people to do something, individually or collectively, on the Third Friday of the month to end the war and occupation.

Whatever you’re planning, please list it and share your plans with others. Here’s the link.

To see what others are doing, read reports from last month, get some new ideas, read about the peace movement, donate to Iraq Moratorium, buy a T-shirt, or just surf, visit the website/

Pull Obama’s Coattail–Today!

Prodded by xofferson’s very recent post here, I went to DKos and posted this, then decided why not take a belt-and-suspenders approach to Docudharma and back him up?

With only a few days before Barack Obama makes history, and takes the oath of office, I took advantage of his change.gov website to remind him of the one issue that more than any other propelled the Democrats to the commanding heights in the executive and the legislative branches–the War in Iraq.

I did it today, because it is the Third Friday of the month, Iraq Moratorium Day. I hope that everyone reading this (and in my dreams that includes every one of us who goes on line today) clicks to the Iraq page at the change.gov site. In your own words, be it a phrase or an essay, let them know what you think about this disaster.

It’s a very easy form, and will take you just a minute to complete. It is one small step we can take as this disaster approaches the end of its sixth year.

Here’s what I wrote:

Let me put this in the strongest possible terms. Like the great majority of those who voted for Barack Obama, I want the war in Iraq over, and I want it over yesterday.

This unjust and unjustifiable occupation has nearly destroyed their country and has done incalculable damage to our own. Every day that it continues compounds the damage, and costs millions we cannot afford as the US economy craters.

I have friends who have lost loved ones in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and friends who have suffered life-long injury as result of being deployed. Even if I did not know a soul who has suffered in this catastrophe personally, I would feel as strongly.

I hope and trust that President Obama will do what he was elected to do: end this sucking chest wound of a war and end it now!

Please, write something today!

Making it easy to observe Moratorium day today

Today (Friday, Jan. 16) is the day:  Iraq Moratorium, a day to interrupt our daily routines and do something, whatever it may be, to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Here’s one simple thing you can do that only takes a minute:

With the inauguration of Barack Obama just days away, ask Obama, through his change.gov website, to act at once to begin the process of withdrawing US troops. Tell him how strongly you feel about it.

Here’s another simple, warm, indoor activity, while we in Wisconsin and elsewhere (like the people pictured in Rice Lake WI) endure sub-zero temperatures:   Help keep the woefully underfunded Iraq Moratorium alive with a contribution, large or small, one-time or monthly.   Just click here to donate.  We’ll put it to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace

Whatever you decide to do, please send a report (photos or videos, too, if you have them) by using this brand new, even simpler form.

Folks across the country would like to hear about what you do, even an individual action.  You can inspire others to act.

Thanks for whatever you do in the cause of peace.

Frostbite victims for peace?

How many cases of frostbite will it take to end the war and occupation of Iraq?

Iraq Moratorium activists in Wisconsin ponder that, with the weather forecast for Friday, Jan. 16, this month’s Iraq Moratorium day, for subzero temperatures and even worse wind-chill readings.  There are warnings about frostbite and hypothermia.

Iraq Moratorium-Wisconsin noted, in an email to organizers:

While standing at a vigil in sub-zero temperatures may be an expression of our commitment, frostbite and hypothermia will not end the war and occupation of Iraq.

This is not to suggest canceling planned events for Friday; our experience in Milwaukee is that it is almost impossible to get the word out to everyone even when a decision is made to cancel.  Some people will come anyway.

However, if it is really as cold as the forecast indicates, it might make sense to think about shortening up the vigil and moving indoors after 15-30 minutes to a nearby coffee shop, restaurant or other location.  Use the time to discuss the war, plan a February Moratorium event, write a letter, circulate a petition to bring the National Guard home, or take some other action to help get US troops out of Iraq.

Here’s a list of scheduled Wisconsin events on Friday: Iraq Moratorium-Wisconsin.

It may fall on peace-loving people in warmer climes to pick up the slack this week.  You’ll find a list of events in your area, ideas for individual action, and more on the national website.

We’re hardy in Wisconsin, but even we have our limits.

UPDATE: They didn’t exactly say it, but methinks the folks in Wyandott, MI think we’re wimpy.

Iraq Moratorium: Now more than ever

Sometimes we think we should just call it the War Moratorium.

We all want to end the war and occupation of Iraq — but not to free up more troops for Afghanistan.

Violence continues to rage on a daily basis in both of those war-torn countries.

And now Gaza has been added to the mix, with innocents dying on both sides.

A new president takes office in less than two weeks — someone whose candidacy was launched and sustained in its early stages by his opposition to the Iraq war.

He, and other policy makers, need to hear from us, loudly and clearly, that we elected them to follow a path to peace — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Gaza, and around the globe.

What better time than Friday, Jan. 16, Iraq Moratorium #17, four days before the inauguration?

The Moratorium offers a chance for people across the country to speak out for peace with a united voice, in their own communities, all across the country.  Since it began in September 2007, it has sparked more than 1,500 local events in 43 states and 260 communities.

Please join us this month.  It’s easy.  You simply have to disrupt your regular routine and do something on January 16 to call for peace in Iraq.  The Moratorium is a big umbrella.  You decide what to do — as an individual or with a group.  Aside from unity on Iraq, there is plenty of room for other messages — to convert military spending to health care or other urgent needs, for example, or to stop the bloodshed in Afghanistan and Gaza.

The main thing is that we all do something — and that we share that information with others, so that it can inspire them and let them know that they are not alone, but truly part of a national grassroots movement that is mobilizing in local communities.

Please check our website to see if there’s an event listed in your community. Here’s the list.

If not, please send us the information on any group or individual action you’re planning for January 16.  Just use this form.

Afterward, we hope you’ll share your experience by sending us a short report, with photos or video if possible.

This is not a time to relax our efforts.  It is a time to renew and redouble them, knowing that we’re no longer trying to speak to a President and Congress with deaf ears on this issue.   There is a lot of talk about hope these days, and we should be hopeful, too — but take nothing for granted.

Thanks for all of your efforts to date, and for whatever you can do this month in the cause of peace.

National Presto products shoot a lot more than salads

What was Steve Burns, a staff member of Wis. Network for Peace and Justice, doing on an anti-shopping spree in Madison Friday?

Well, it was Iraq Moratorium day, and Burns decided his action this month would be to call shoppers' attention to a little-known connection between a Wisconsin company and deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Burns learned that Wisconsin's National Presto Industries, known to the public for making Salad Shooters and Fry Daddies, has a dark side that it doesn't advertise.

The Eau Claire-based company produced artillery fuses during World War II, artillery shells in the 1950s, and during the Vietnam war, from 1966 to 1975, manufactured more than two million eight-inch howitzer shells and more than 92 million 105mm artillery shells.  

Carols ask Congress members: Bring our families home

Armed with a guitar, Santa hats and some terrific antiwar lyrics for Christmas caroling, members of Military Families Speak Out sang out on Iraq Moratorium day Friday, serenading two members of Congress and asking them to bring family members and loved ones home now.

The carolers visited the homes of two Republican House members,Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and even got a photo and article in the Orange County Register, no easy feat.

The lyrics by Vern Nelson are terrific.  You can find them, for eight different songs, on the Orange Juice Blog  Here’s a sample:

Why the Hell Are We Here?

(tune of Do You Hear What I Hear, Nelson-Alviso 2006)

Said the grunt to his sergeant in Iraq:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Tryin’ to not get shot in the back,

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

A wife and child wait for me back home,

spending Christmas-time all alone,

spending Christmas-time all alone.

Said the sarge to the Captain in command:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Ev’ry week it seems I lose a man.

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

A roadside bomb planted in the night

filling ev’ry moment with fright;

There’s no way to win such a fight.

Said the Captain to the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

In this civil war in Iraq?

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Each bomb we drop only makes things worse;

and our choosing sides is perverse

in this Sunni/Shia universe.

Said the troops to the Congressman back home

Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)

Congressman all comfy back home,

Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)

This war, this war, has gone on far too long,

Can you hear the words of our song-

Getting out will make us- more strong!!!

A report from that action, and reports and photos from others across the country, are available at the Iraq Moratorium website.

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