Tag: Iraq Moratorium

Snow? Pfui! The Iraq Moratorium Rocked…

Yesterday marked the 16th Third Friday observance of the Iraq Moratorium, a locally-based, grassroots-powered, monthly anti-war protest.

Heavy snow blanketed much of the Northeast and Midwest and definitely caused some cancellations of Moratorium Day events.

Although reports have just started coming in to the website this morning, I don’t mind declaring the day a triumph.

And that’s not movement bravado. Two events–one national and blogospheric, one local and on the ground–that just happened to take place on the Third Friday of December show the growing importance of this campaign.

First, the MoveOn.org crew announced the results of their members’ vote on this year’s priorities, with hundreds of thousands of members weighing in. The process was supposed to produce three national priorities for the group for 2009. Close voting resulted in the adoption of four. Along with national healthcare, rescuing the economy and global warming, MoveOn promises to prioritize the fight to “End the War in Iraq” in 2009. Unless current trends are suddenly reversed, this will require MoveOn organizers to challenge, directly and actively, major parts of the Iraq policy of the incoming administration. Mobilizing the MoveOn base will provide a real boost to the struggle to end this unjust and unjustifiable war.

Here in NYC, the hundred-plus students who had occupied the New School “suspended” their takeover at 3 AM on Friday after a sudden victory. The administration said it would give in to most of their immediate demands! (The seizure was diaried here with an interesting and contentious comments thread.)

How is this connected to the Iraq Moratorium? Among the demands still on the table are the resignations of university president Bob Kerrey, a “liberal” advocate of the Iraq war from the start, and the treasurer of the Board of Trustees, a gent named Robert B. Millard. Millard is a top exec at a company called L-3 Communications.

New School SDS discovered that part of what falls under L-3’s definition of “communications” is providing torturers to the US military at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib! They launched their campaign against L-3 place a year ago on Moratorium Day. They have continued to dog Millard and observe Moratorium Day since. (Their website has detailed dirt on L-3.)

Add to this the fact that just a week ago the largest anti-war coalition in the US, United For Peace & Justice, adopted the Iraq Moratorium as a project at their National Assembly. Going into 2009, the Iraq Moratorium is on a roll!

Me, I’ve already got January 16 marked on my calendar, and can only urge, “Go, thou, and do likewise.”

Crossposted at Daily Kos.

Today’s the day. Do something

Today is Iraq Moratorium #16.

It is a day to interrupt business as usual and take some action to end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Join a group action or do something yourself.  Write a letter.  Send an email.  Call your Congress members.  Wear a button or armband to work or school. Donate to your favorite peace group.  Or do something more creative.  You’ll find lots of ideas on the Iraq Moratorium website.

Since the monthly actions, on the Third Friday of the month, began in September 2007 more than 1,500 events in 43 states and 260 communities have been listed on the website, and many more have gone unreported.

Be part of it.  The war has to stop, and we have to stop it.

Do something.

Giving Bush the Boot, Marking the Moratorium

Friday’s Iraq Moratorium will offer a mixed bag of activity across the country, from holiday-themed events to footwear-related actions.

Antiwar caroling, mall walks to raise shoppers’ consciousness, and vigiling by Santa are among the plans.

Elsewhere, the shoe-throwing by an Iraqi journalist have inspired actions like a “Give Bush the Boot” footwear-throwing contest in Milwaukee, and plans by others in New York and Connecticut to mail shoes to the White House on Moratorium day, with a note calling for an end to the war and occupation.

It’s all part of the ongoing, growing effort to get US troops out of Iraq by ratcheting up locally-based antiwar activity on the Third Friday of every month.  Friday, Dec. 19, is Iraq Moratorium #16.

Moratorium efforts got a boost last weekend when the National Assembly of United for Peace and Justice, the nation’s largest antiwar coalition with 1,400 member groups, approved an action plan that includes support for the Moratorium’s Third Friday organizing efforts.

Here’s a list of what’s planned this week (that we know of; there are always others we find out about later.): December actions.

You’ll find lots of other information and ideas on the Moratorium website.

Friday’s the day.  The war’s got to stop and we’ve got to stop it.  Please do something,

Send Bush A “Farewell Kiss”

Today my sweetie and I are headed for the local post office to send a package containing a beat up old shoe from my closet to George W. Bush at the White House. In the package is a note saying:

This is a gift from the American people. This is the farewell kiss, George.

Then, this Friday, for the 16th monthly observance of the Iraq Moratorium, I plan to send along its mate, with a note reading:

This is for the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.

(Dody suggested this yesterday and it appears that a lot of people have come up with the same idea.) The Iraqi journalist whose words I paraphrase above, Muntader al-Zaidi, pitched a perfect game on Sunday. His two shoe barrage totally disrupted what the White House had choreographed as a farewell tour for Bush to claim success for the catastrophic wars that he lied the US into and will leave behind him when he checks out on January 20.

If you like this idea, please spread it far and wide! Let’s bury the White House in shoes, letting George know that we aren’t about to let him soft-shoe his way into history.

Crossposted at Daily Kos.

Counting the teenage dead, bringing the war to campus


Reports from Iraq Moratorium #15, observed Nov. 21, are coming in to the Moratorium website.  This one from Santa Barbara:

Vets for Peace, Chapter 54: A war memorial honoring exclusively the 18- 19- year-old military personnel, men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was erected on a lawn overlooking the ocean at Santa Barbara City College. The local chapter of Veterans for Peace and students set up the memorial, which currently honors 303 young men & women.

Dr. Gilberto Robledo, former faculty member of SBCC and VFP member along with several other VFP/SBCC students sets up the memorial the third Friday of every month in conjunction with the national Iraq Moratorium. As students, faculty, staff & community members pass by, they’re asked to place a placard on a white tombstone. The military person’s picture, name, unit, circumstance surrounding the death, and birth date is on the placard. This interactive memorial depicts the cost of war, especially to the college age students, who in many cases are in the same age range as the teen casualties of these two current conflicts.

American teenage casualties, of course, are the tip of the iceberg when measuring the costs of the wars.  In Iraq alone, hundreds of thousands of civilians — some estimates say a million — have died.  Even before the war, 500,000 Iraqi children died unnecessarily because of economic sanctions that prevented them from getting the food and medical care they needed.

Reminding college students that young men and women their age are dying is one way to bring the cost of war home.  There are many others, like a “health care not warfare” campaign in Wisconsin aimed at redirecting our tax dollars from killing to life-saving.  You’ll find reports from there, and other actions across the country, on the website, too.

Check it out.


Even though I’ve been following the business pages and economic blogs pretty closely, transfixed by the kind of horror one gets watching a 47 car pileup in real time, no headlines since election night have depressed me more than those about plans to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It turns out the four combat brigades mentioned during the campaign-7000 troops-require support troops. Oh, and more air surveillance and support capacity. Who knew?

I just went back and reread Thomas Powers’ grim prediction, written during the last Democratic primaries in the Spring. I strongly encourage you to check it out, but here’s the money quote:

At an unmarked moment somewhere between the third and the sixth month a sea change occurs: Bush’s war becomes the new president’s war, and getting out means failure, means defeat, means rising opposition at home, means no second term. It’s not hard to see where this is going.

Okay, Obama doesn’t take office for 8 more weeks. Sure, he deserves a honeymoon. Lorry nose, he has the Biggest Economic Crisis Since The Great Depression ™ to deal with.

But what about us? We don’t have to wait 8 weeks to act.

Honeymoon? On this blog, chances are as good that Prop 8 made you involuntarily single than that you got married this month.

And what reason do we have to keep our mouths shut about how an out-of-control military budget and those annual “supplemental appropriations” for Iraq and Afghanistan left the budget deep in the red as the government starts trying to contain the meltdown?

Back to Thomas Powers. In the quote above, he says getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan “means rising opposition at home.” That’s our cue. We have to show, to demonstrate if you will, that not getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan will mean “rising opposition at home.” Big time.

I’m not here to debate tactics. If you feel comfortable calling your Congresscritter, do it. If you can give money to the splendid young men and women of Iraq Veterans Against the War, do it. If are moved to write a letter to the editor, do it. If there’s a protest coming up that you can take part in, do it. Personally, I recommend the Iraq Moratorium, a nation-wide, locally-based, bottom-up initiative on the Third Friday of every month.

Crossposted at Daily Kos.

It’s Iraq Moratorium day; Do something


Today’s the day.  Friday, Nov. 21.  The 15th Iraq Moratorium day.  You know what to do.

But in case you don’t, a suggested to-do list:

— Interrupt your daily routine,  some way, somehow, and do something, by yourself or in a group action, to call for an end to the war and occupation.  You’ll find a list of events and ideas for individual action at IraqMoratorium.com

— Take a digital or video camera along, and get some shots of the action, big or small.

— Send a short report, with photos and video if you can. Use this easy form.  If you do something individually, tell us about that, too.  Your story may inspire others to act next time.

— If you can, pass the hat at your event and ask for contributions to keep the Iraq Moratorium growing,   Send us a check or make an online donation for the amount you collect.  We’ll make every dollar count and use it effectively in the cause of peace.  Here’s the link.

But you don’t need anyone to tell you what to do.  The important thing is that you do something.

It has to stop, and we have to stop it.

Tiny clay figures are reminders of growing Iraq death toll

Nearly 100,000 hand-fired clay figures, representing lives lost in the Iraq war, will be the backdrop on Friday for an Iraq Moratorium action in the California community of Aptos, near Santa Cruz.

The display is the work of artist Kathleen Crocetti, a high school art teacher, who told the San Jose Mercury News :

“I’m doing this to help people visualize the number of people killed in the Iraq war. We need a physical connection to that number. I thought we went into the war under false pretenses, and I can’t sanction pre-emptive war.

I feel such shame and sadness in my name as an American,” she said. “I feel responsible for the pain and grief because of this war.”

The 4,000-plus small white clay figures, each holding a U.S. flag, represent dead American service members. The 92,000 dark clay figures, behind the Americans like a shadow, represent Iraqis. She uses the number from Iraq Body Count, which includes documented civilian deaths.  It is a very conservative number; others estimate the count could be as high as a million.

On Friday, as individuals and groups across the country interrupt their regular routines to mark the Iraq Moratorium and call for an end to the war and occupation, people in Aptos will peacefully protest the war during rush hour on the sidewalks in front of the Resurrection-Aptos cemetery where the figures are displayed. The evening’s vigil, with music and poetry will be near the memorial in the cemetery.

The action is one of many taking place on Friday, Iraq Moratorium #15. Despite the election, despite a proposed, sketchy new US-Iraq status of forces agreement, the war drags on and on.

The President-elect and the new Congress need to know that we want our troops home — and not in three years.

The Iraq Moratorium website includes a list of actions planned across the country on Friday, and suggestions for individual action.  If you can’t make time to take part on Friday, consider a donation. The killing has to stop, and we have to stop it.


Only 3 more years in Iraq? Such a deal!

Iraq and the United States have signed an agrement requring the US to withdraw its troops by the end of 2011.

So the war and occupation, already more than five and a half years old, could be over in three more years.  How about that?

That actually is progress of sorts. And there are some positive things about the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by Iraq’s Parliament.  (Interestingly, it does not need Congressional approval.)

UPDATE: David Swanson says it is a treaty that does, indeed, require Senate ratification, and that we should insist on it. Link.

But you’ll have to excuse us if we don’t call off Friday’s planned Iraq Moratorium actions across the country. In fact, there are signs of renewed and increased interest in antiwar activity. We definitely need to keep the heat on the new Congress and the Obama administration.

Third Friday actions focus on new Congress

Having again elected a new Congress with a mandate to end the war, activists are determined to hold Congress accountable this time. The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign is urging contact with members of Congress, in their home offices, on the Third Friday of the month — Iraq Moratorium day — and has produced a video with Vietnam vet Ron Kovic to promote it.  (That’s next Friday, Nov. 21.)

United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is urging meetings with members of Congress in their home offices between now and Jan. 3, when they are seated. Says UFPJ:

These visits will help communicate our sense of urgency. Our nation is still at war, as well as in the throes of sharp economic decline and a growing global environmental crisis. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us billions of dollars, which are vitally needed here at home, and tens of thousands of deaths on all sides. There is much to be urgent about!

With a new administration and a new Congress coming to power in January, we have an opportunity to advance new priorities and to help restore the proper role of Congress in foreign policy matters. But that means we have to start our work now, we cannot wait for several months…

Issues To Address In Your Meetings With Members Of Congress

At a time of economic crisis, the United States needs a new foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy and international cooperation, rather than military power and war. In discussions with members of Congress, it will be helpful to stress that our economy will not recover, and we will not have the resources to create green jobs, health care for all, 21st-century education and rebuild the infrastructure, if the military budget is not reduced. The present level of military spending is outrageous and not sustainable with all the new programs promised during the election campaigns.

Other specifics:

1) On Iraq. Congress should insist on the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and contractors from Iraq. This withdrawal should be accompanied by a new diplomatic surge to stabilize the country and open the political space for Iraqis to decide their own future. Deployment of the National Guard in wars overseas should cease, returning their focus to domestic security.

2) On Afghanistan. Congress should not permit an expansion of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. It should press for a multilateral regional effort at stabilization along with rapid withdrawal of NATO and U.S. forces.

3) On Iran.  Members of Congress should make clear their opposition to a new war in Iran. They ought to encourage unconditional, high-level talks to reduce tensions and urge Iran to abandon any nuclear weapons program. If the U.S. truly wants to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, it will require us to live up to our commitments under Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Why not work on that on Iraq Moratorium day as well?

If there’s no Congressional office where you are, bring cell phones and contact numbers to your Moratorium event and place calls from there.

Do something. Keep the heat on. It’s got to stop, and we are still the ones who have to stop it.  

We Just Marched On Veterans Day

I just got home from the big NYC Veterans Day Parade.

The “we” in the title is the crew of anti-war veterans and friends who have had a presence in the parade since the war began. Our contingent was led by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War carrying American flags. Among the others reporting for duty were at least three area chapters of Veterans For Peace (including mine, NYC’s Chapter 34), Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and a group memorializing the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (whose actual veterans are now too few and too old to join us as they had in years past).

Don’t get me wrong. Our whole contingent totaled under fifty people and we were by a considerable margin the scruffiest and least military looking one in the whole parade.

And quite possibly the best received.

We were toward the rear of the march. While the organizers didn’t, this time, slot us at the very end, they put a very loud sound truck with a deejay directly behind us and forbade us to carry any signs or posters other than organizational banners.

Nice try. They neglected to amputate the fingers with which we all made the peace sign and to remove our vocal cords. So anti-war chants, especially the cadences led by Ben Chitty, echoed in the valley of Fifth Avenue the whole way from 27th Street to 55th. Meanwhile, marchers on both sides of the contingent directed a steady stream of explanatory slogans and talk to those watching.

Now, Veterans Day doesn’t draw the crowd you’ll find at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or on the rare occasion when a New York sports team wins something, but we didn’t pass a single block that wasn’t at least half full of spectators.

And we were overwhelmingly greeted with peace signs, thumbs up, clapping and enthusiastic yells. It was striking. Even people who went out of their way to attend a Veterans Day parade, and an awful lot of them were veterans themselves, were thrilled to see and hear us voicing their own feelings:

Bring Them Home Now!

The people of this country want this war over and they want it over yesterday. It is up to us to keep the heat on those now in power–and on those who will, blessedly, take their place in 70 days–to bring this fiasco to an end. So I encourage you, in the strongest possible terms, to observe the Iraq Moratorium one week from this coming Friday. You can act by yourself or with others, but please do something to observe the first antiwar mobilization since the election which will be national in scope.

And Now? (w/poll)

I know it’s hard to move on, but I really hope that in the months and weeks leading up to January 20th, the left liberal blogosphere will not focus its attention single-mindedly on every rumor of Obama cabinet appointments or even every toothsome morsel of gossip about Republican backbiting and infighting.

It seems there are three main responses progressives and leftists are taking to the new administration-in-formation.

The first is the classic honeymoon:

Cut the guy some slack, he’s got a lot on his plate. Already the election has had a transforming effect on the mood of people in the country and more good stuff is on the way. Now is not the time to be tugging his coattails.

The second is to try and lobby or bring direct pressure to bear on the Obama/Biden team, the Congressional Dems and/or the Democratic Party machine around a broad agenda or, more commonly a particular issue. In particular, This takes the form of trying to call in markers by forces who worked hard to produce the Obama landslide. The clearest example is the drive announced by the Change to Win union coalition to get the Employee Free Choice Act “card check” law passed in the first 100 days of the new administration. The AFL-CIO, for its part, is calling for a million EFCA petition signatures to be delivered on Inauguration Day. Similar calls have been launched by health care reform groups, (The push here to defend the 50 state strategy and its organizing core seems to fall into this category.)

The third is the one I want to argue for. It has already been modeled modeled by the Proposition 8 activists in California and their supporters around the country in the wake of Tuesday’s vote.. They chose a target, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (a/k/a the Mormon Church), and lit it up with militant demonstrations, extensive muckraking exposure of the facts, and public online debate over, and planning for, a possible boycott of Utah.

I would characterize this third option as creating a firestorm of struggles, locally-based in the main, around critical issues. These will by and large not make the administration-to-be their main target but will create facts on the ground in terms of social unrest among important sections of the people, which will have to be factored into their planning and policy-making.

A couple of additional points on this strategic approach:

1. Those arguing for the second approach should bear in mind the FISA battle of this spring, when folks across the left liberal blogosphere, a sector Obama owed bigtime, fought urgently to get him to stand up for constitutional rule in this country. A broad united front of progressives, liberals, civil liberties advocates and libertarians was quickly built. Funds were raised and teevee ads even made. What his backers got from Obama was one live-blog session with some staffers defending his unconscionable support for the Bush-engineered FISA bill, which passed.

2. Some may object that this doesn’t deal with the big picture can be made, but let’s take the example of the global economic meltdown and the rapidly deepening depression in this country. Obama’s seventeen-advisor panel is drawn from the very clowns and crooks who dragged the world into this mess. The best thing that could happen before the inauguration would be a wave of protests-against plant closings here, foreclosures there, tuition hikes on campus, service cuts in broke communities. The bankers, the automakers, the shippers are already whispering in every ear they can find, amplifying their urgency with “common sense” and the rustle of lobbying cash. We have to show that listening to them has real social costs as well as fiscal ones.

3. The worst thing about Obama for many of his supporters was his “tough guy” military stance, The promise of an eventual substantial withdrawal from Iraq-providing the high command agrees-is more than undercut by his pledge to dump thousands more troops into Afghanistan (the Graveyard of Empires, going back millennia) and “plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops.” It is time for the anti-war movement, which has done so much to crystallize opposition to the occupation of Iraq (and thus to turn the public away from the Republicans), to step up again. Troops are dying, Iraqis are dying. The war has brought unimaginable devastation to their country and costs ours $2.5 billion a week. We can’t wait for Inauguration Day to make our voices heard. A good place to start is the Iraq Moratorium. This locally-based Third Friday protest will be observed by groups and individuals around the country on November 21, for the fifteenth straight month. Make plans to take part now!

Crossposted at

Daily Kos

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