Tag: Iraq Moratorium

Do something on Friday to end the war

Not even General Petraeus can see any light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s no exit plan, no timetable, not even any criteria to know when we’ve achieved the “victory” that George Bush keeps promising.

The Pentagon keeps sending the same troops into the combat zone, over and over and over.

And as long as that continues, the antiwar effort must continue just as doggedly, month in and month out, over and over and over.  There is no other choice except to surrender to the warmongers.

Friday is Iraq Moratorium #8, a day to do something to show that you want the war and the occupation to end.  Please do something.  

How pissed off are you, anyway?

We know you’re plenty pissed off about the war.

Pissed off enough to write about it and comment on it, and to resort to some pretty rough language to describe how you feel.

Five years.  Thousands of Americans and perhaps a million Iraqis dead.  Four million refugees.  Trillions of dollars wasted. Government spying.  Torture.  Lies.  Coverups.

It’s enough to piss anyone off.

But are you pissed off enough to do something?

Help! We’re being outspent a trillion to one

WARNING:  Fund-raising appeal ahead.

When a handful of people decided to launch the Iraq Moratorium to take on the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex, we knew it wouldn’t be a fair fight.

We knew we’d be outmanned, outgunned and outspent by those whose interest seems to be to keep this nation at war.

But we didn’t realize that the Pentagon would spend as much on the war every five seconds as the Iraq Moratorium spends in a year to try to stop it.

We’ve done a lot with very little money.  Since September, more than 800 events, from Vermont to California, from Florida to Washington state, have joined under the Iraq Moratorium umbrella to call for an end to the war and occupation.  Tens of thousands have taken individual action as well on the Third Friday of each month.

But we really need your financial help to keep this national grassroots movement alive and growing.

The magnitude of what we’re up against really hit us with recent reports of the war’s cost — $5,000 a second! That’s more than double what we spend in a month.


What would you rather have than a war?

No, it’s not one of those nonsense questions.

Like, “What would you rather be or an elephant?”

“Would you rather carry your lunch or walk to work?”

“Is it farther to New York or by airplane?”

What would you rather have than the war in Iraq?

Setting aside the human cost, the carnage — if that is possible, by an act of will — just focus on the monetary costs.  Money’s something everyone can relate to — even conservatives.

And there is no better teaching moment, no better time to make the argument that we can’t afford to continue this war and occupation, than April 15, the day we empty our pockets and send our money to the Pentagon.

That could and should be a focus of antiwar activity this month.

Iraq Moratorium #7: Berkeley, CA

Photos from IM Day in Berkeley. It was a warm sunny day – much in contrast with xofferson’s blizzard experience.  


That’s dedication!

Meet some of Wisconsin’s civilian ‘winter soldiers’

This is the story of the vigil that refused to die — or at least refused to be snowed under. Friday was a horrendous day in Milwaukee as Spring arrived with a huge snowfall that may end up being more than a foot (it’s still falling as I write this.)  This was the noon report:

Nearly five inches of snow has fallen this morning at General Mitchell International as a winter storm warning remains in effect, keeping police and firefighters busy with multiple accidents reported on local streets and highways.

“Boy it’s bad outside,” said Milwaukee Battalion 1 Fire Chief Steven Gleisner, who was making rounds to the firehouses in his battalion this morning. “I almost spun out in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, a 6,000 pound Chevy Suburban, and I’m having a tough time getting around. I’ve never done that in a four-wheel drive vehicle. I’m like, ‘No. I’m heading home. Plus, the visibility is lousy.”

He suggested others do the same.”If folks don’t have to go out today, I wouldn’t go out,” he said.

It just got worse as the day went on. Side streets were nearly impassible, buses were running late if at all, the airport eventually closed.  Many churches even canceled Good Friday services. So organizers of a 5 p.m. Iraq Moratorium vigil, a monthly action held on downtown’s busiest corner, conferred during the afternoon.  Should the show go on? Your humble scribe, having ventured out once in his lightweight car, really didn’t want to do it again.  However, having written a rather macho online essay earlier in the day, about how weather doesn’t stop Wisconsinites from stopping the war, staying home didn’t seem like an option.

In mid-afternoon, Peace Action’s George Martin said he planned to show up with signs, flags and paraphernalia, since some people were bound to show up no matter what.  But he called about 4 p.m. to say the event was off.  Let’s be honest; I breathed a sigh of relief. I could stay home with a clear conscience, although I might have to eat a little crow about that blog.

But, I looked out at 4:30 p.m. and, although the snow was still falling heavily, our street had miraculously been plowed.  So, staying only on a few main arterial streets, I managed to make it to the site of the alleged vigil. There, at Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue, four young people huddled on the corner.  One had a rolled-up sign, so it seemed plausible they were there to protest the war, not catch a bus. That turned out to be the case. I told them the vigil was canceled, and asked if they’d at least stay long enough for me to haul a brand new Iraq Moratorium banner out of my car and take a photo.  Once there was a banner and a few more people showed up with their own signs, everyone decided to stay for the scheduled hour-long vigil. We ended up with 10 people.

So Milwaukee’s record is intact. Seven vigils in the seven months since the Iraq Moratorium began in September.  Although this was the smallest turnout ever, it may have been the most satisfying one to be a part of. The people in these photos are winter soldiers, indeed.

Reports from other actions are beginning to trickle in from around the country.  Read them, or post your own accounts of what you did, at IraqMoratorium.org

Before and after an hour in the snow in 30-degree temperatures:

Iraq Moratorium #7: Be a winter soldier

It’s Iraq Moratorium day, so of course it’s snowing heavily here in Wisconsin, where more than a dozen outside vigils are planned.

There is already several inches on the ground in Milwaukee, and it is still coming down heavily.  By our 5 p.m. downtown vigil tonight there could be a foot of the stuff.

But those who can get there will be there, just as they have been during the winter when temperatures and wind chills were sub-zero.  (Pictured are folks in Whitewater, WI at their February Moratorium vigil.)


I have to wonder myself sometimes.  Why do we persist, when other public events are being canceled left and right?

The easiest answer is that people are committed to ending this senseless, bloody war — and they want to demonstrate their commitment.

Last week, Iraq Veterans Against the War held Winter Soldier hearings, to testify about what life is like on the ground, and what our troops are being asked to do in the name of “freedom.”  

Winter Soldier, modeled after the 1971 Vietnam Winter Soldier hearings, takes its name from these words of Thomas Paine, written during the terrible winter of Valley Forge:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

So, maybe the weather today is just testing whether we are “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” or are really committed.

I’ve talked myself into it:  I’ll be there tonight, whatever the weather.

Whether you’re battling the snow or basking on the beach, please join us in doing something today to show your opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Wear a button or an armband.  Write a letter.  Send an email.  Donate to a peace group.  Whatever.  But do something.  You’ll find ideas for individual action and a list of group events at IraqMoratorium.org

Be a winter soldier.

What are you and me gonna do about Iraq?*

They’ll discuss it in Detroit.

They’ll write letters in Cornwall, Ct.

They’ll march in Duluth, rally in White Plains, and vigil in Cincinnati.

And they’ve been getting arrested in San Francisco.

Friday is Iraq Moratorium #7, and people across the country are marking it in dozens of different ways, from rallies, marches, protests, vigils to individual actions to call for an end to the war and occupation.

There’s even been a bit of civil disobedience by people willing to make arrest to make their point.

It all fits (as long as it’s non-violent) under the umbrella of the Iraq Moratorium, a loosely-knit national grassroots movement to end the war and bring the troops home.

George W Bush on Iraq: Read it and weep

Lest you think that five years of bloodshed in Iraq, with perhaps a million dead and 4 million more displaced from their homes, has given The Decider any pause, today he said the war is “noble, necessary, and just.”  Some pertinent excerpts from his speech today at the Pentagon on the first day of Year 6 in Iraq.

The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated — but it is a fight we must win….

Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely that we’ll face the enemy here at home…

There’s still hard work to be done in Iraq. The gains we have made are fragile and reversible…

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around — it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror…

The challenge in the period ahead is to consolidate the gains we have made and seal the extremists’ defeat. We have learned through hard experience what happens when we pull our forces back too fast … General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in such an unraveling — with al Qaeda and insurgents and militia extremists regaining lost ground and increasing violence.

Men and women of the Armed Forces: Having come so far, and achieved so much, we’re not going to let this to happen…

Any further drawdown will be based on conditions on the ground and the recommendations of our commanders — and they must not jeopardize the hard-fought gains our troops and civilians have made over the past year.

The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable …  

More than 4,400 men and women have given their lives in the war on terror. We’ll pray for their families. We’ll always honor their memory.

The best way we can honor them is by making sure that their sacrifice was not in vain. Five years ago tonight, I promised the American people that in the struggle ahead “we will accept no outcome but victory.” Today, standing before men and women who helped liberate a nation, I reaffirm the commitment. The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory.

In short, we are “winning”, whatever that means — and the way to honor those who have died is for even more to die.

Friday is Iraq Moratorium #7.

You know what to do.

Iraq Moratorium, war’s 5th anniversary demand action

The convergence of the 5th anniversary of “shock and awe” with Christian Holy Week and Iraq Moratorium #7 has sparked hundreds of antiwar actions across the country this week.

The Iraq Moratorium, a loosely-knit grassroots movement, is usually observed on the Third Friday of every month, but March events are spread throughout the week.

It began last weekend, when more than 500 people gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco for a rally, march and vigil.

Speakers included Daniel Ellsberg, State Sen. Carole Migden and former San Francisco Supervisor and current Green Party vice presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez.

Ellsberg invited the crowd at the church to join him in a “die in” Wednesday at noon outside the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “We may be arrested for disturbing the peace,” he said. “But there is no peace.

Golden Gate XPress, the student newspaper at San Francisco State University, reports:

[Cindy]Sheehan,(right) a congressional candidate … concluded the event by reflecting on her personal loss. She told the story of her son who was killed in the third bloody mission into Sadr City, a mission forced upon him against his will.

“Today I have one dead son,” she said to a silent hall, using a tissue to dry a tear. “When your child is killed in a war, they always say ‘Your child volunteered. Your child was a hero,'” she said. “What makes him a hero if he was ordered to kill innocent Iraqis?”

Sheehan further acknowledged the Americans and Iraqis who lost their lives in the war and the politicians who put them there.

“It’s bullshit that we’re not impeaching,” she said.

Because the Moratorium, which encourages local grassroots action on the Third Friday of every month, coincides with the Christian observance of Good Friday, March 21, some actions will include a religious theme.

The Pike’s Peak Justice Coalition will take part in Pax Christi’s Way of the Cross/Way of Justice procession in downtown Colorado Springs.  

A Hartford, CT “Lamentation and Protest” will begin with an interfaith prayer service, followed by a silent procession to the federal building, where marchers will pile stones bearing the names of victims of the Iraq war.  Church bells will ring in a number of communities in Massachusetts to mark Moratorium observances.

In Cincinnati, candlelight vigils will be held in eight neighborhoods, and dozens of street corner vigils are planned across the country.  Most vigils take place every month, and some have been going since the war began.  

In a session called “Write Some Wrongs,” people in Cornwall, CT will meet at the public library to write their Congressman about “what is in your heart about the Iraq war and what you want him to do about it.”

The Iraq Moratorium encourage local organizers to “do their own thing” on the third Friday of the month – but to do something, whatever it is, to end the war.  It is all a loosely-knit national grassroots effort operating under the Iraq Moratorium umbrella.

Friday is the seventh monthly Moratorium, and more than 800 events have been listed on the group’s website, IraqMoratorium.org , which has a list of this month’s actions and reports, photos and videos from previous months.

Right, left unite against the war

Lest we think that opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq is limited to the left in this country, consider the lineup of speakers for a March 16 Iraq Moratorium event in San Francisco:

Several of the usual suspects: Sean Penn; Cindy Sheehan; the Rev. Gregory Stewart, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church; Matt Gonzalez, ex-president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and rumored vice presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket.

And one Justin Raimondo, libertarian and paleoconservative (look it up; we did) author who also runs the website Antiwar.com, where he writes things like:

Our foreign policy has put us in mortal danger, and not only because it empowers the worldwide Islamist insurgency that aims to attack the American homeland, but also because the “Iraq recession” is fast threatening to become the Iraq depression. The U.S. is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and the $3 trillion war is going to sink us if it isn’t stopped.

It’s an interesting mix, to say the least, and helps explain how Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich could at least agree on one thing – that the invasion of Iraq was a terrible mistake, and we should bring our troops home now. (It was interesting, at the Oct. 27 regional antiwar march in Chicago, that Ron Paul’s was the only presidential campaign represented, with signs, campaign material and even an airplane flyover with a banner.)

When I posted this on another unnamed blog, some commenters pointed out that Raimondo’s politics leave a little to be desired, and that I probably wouldn’t agree with him on much besides the war.  OK, granted.  My whole point here (aside from some shameless promotion of the Moratorium) is that if antiwar sentiment in this country includes nearly two-thirds of the population, the Iraq Moratorium must be a big tent — or big umbrella, if you will — that brings together people who have the common cause of ending the war and occupation of Iraq.  That single issue unifies us.  I met a Ron Paul enthusiast at our March Iraq Moratorium vigil in Milwaukee, so it’s not just hypothetical; people are uniting to end this war.

Details on Sunday’s event, sponsored by the Iraq Moratorium-SF Bay Area, are listed in the March events on the Iraq Moratorium website .

CT Republican Rubs Sleep From His Eyes

This week’s Litchfield County Times has a fascinating and instructive article on CT State Senator Andrew Roraback (R-30th District). Universally known as Andy in the NW Corner of Connecticut, where he is widely respected as honest and effective, especially on environmental issues, he is one of an endangered species, moderate New England Republicans.

His rep is good enough that he was one of 24 local elected officials (half and half) from around the nation given a Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship, this one with a focus on helping foster further understanding of foreign governments and policy issues.

Well, this crop of Fellows were just shipped to the Middle East and it was evidently quite the wake-up call to Sen. Roraback. He learned first hand that that a lot of Iraqis have bailed out of their country in desperate fear:

“When you see a room crowded with people who have fled Iraq, you see the human cost [of the war],” he said. “We know the cost to American lives, but there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan and they’ve fled their home because of the war. It put a face on the cost of this war in this country.”

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