Tag: Iraq Moratorium

Marking some grim milestones in March

From our friends and colleagues at the Iraq Moratorium:

Sometime in the next few weeks, the 4,000th American service member will die in Iraq. Coalition deaths in Iraq reached 4,000 last August, but Americans focus on American casualties. Even approximate numbers of Iraqi deaths are estimates, so we will never learn when the millionth Iraqi is killed–and it may well have happened already.

On March 19, this unjust and unjustifiable war will enter its sixth year! Kids who were in first grade during the 2003 invasion will be entering Junior High this year, more than half their lives spent with the horror of war constantly in the background.

March 21, the Third Friday of this month, will mark the seventh Iraq Moratorium Day, a day to interrupt our normal routine and speak out against this senseless bloodshed and the damage it is doing to our country. Politicians and talking heads on TV speak calmly of the occupation lasting another decade–or another hundred years–or they try not to talk about it at all.

Many of us will be taking part in protests around the 5th Anniversary of the start of the war. It begins with some courageous Iraq Veterans Against the War holding Winter Soldier hearings March 13-16. Some Iraq Moratorium vigils will be held on Wednesday, March 19, this month to highlight the anniversary of the war’s start, and to link up with other protests called by United For Peace & Justice and a broad range of individual anti-war groups. Some will continue on the Third Friday as usual. Check the listings at IraqMoratorium.org for an action near you.

March 21 is also Good Friday, the religious holiday marking when the man many of us know as The Prince of Peace was killed by Roman soldiers occupying Judea.  Some of us will wear a button or black armband to services to remind others of the need to speak out and to act to end the war. In a growing number of towns, especially in New England, local churches will ring their bells at noon in observance of the Iraq Moratorium.

As we have said from the beginning: It’s got to stop! We’ve got to stop it!

So do something on March 21 to keep this issue on the front burner — and to turn up the heat.

If you’re traveling for Easter, or on spring break from school, take the Iraq Moratorium with you wherever you go.  Wear a button or a black ribbon.  Talk to your family about the war.  Find an event in the community you’re visiting. Send an email or write a blog post. Make a donation to a peace group.  But do something to mark the day. (You’ll find a list of activities and ideas for individual action on our website .)

Finally, if you can, please make a contribution to keep this grassroots, volunteer effort going and growing.  We operate on a shoestring.  American taxpayers spend as much on the Iraq war in four seconds as the Iraq Moratorium spends in a year.  Every dollar you can spare will go to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace.

Donate here.

In closing, we thank you for all you are doing to end this catastrophic war.

Antiwar movement could roar like a lion in March

[AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I retitled this and edited a bit to make it sexier (or should I say more alluring?) Hope that’s kosher.]

Maybe we shouldn’t complain about the news media’s lack of coverage of the antiwar movement. They don’t even cover the issue when it’s debated for two days in the US Senate.

Senate Democrats, failing to pass anything this week, promise to try again in April, when an appropriations bill comes up.  House Democrats are in a “wait til’ next year” mode.

All the more reason to turn up the heat in March.  And there are plenty of opportunities to take action — in Washington or in your hometown — as the 5th anniversary of the invasion approaches on March 19.  

The two proposals to change course in Iraq failed, predictably, this week, perhaps providing an excuse for the media’s lack of interest. (Depending, of course, on whether the chicken or the egg came first.) But what was taking place was nothing less than a matter of life and death, for US service members and Iraqi military and civilians alike.

The number of American service members who have given their lives in Iraq is nearing 4,000. Nearly 30,000 more have been wounded, and countless others have suffered permanent physical or psychological damage that will haunt them, their loved ones, and this country for decades to come. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and 4 million more have been displaced from their homes and become refugees.

Was the debate front page news? Hardly. It was hardly news at all. Here’s a brief CQ report, in case you missed the news entirely.

That’s all the more reason that the vast majority of Americans who want this senseless bloodshed to end must continue to speak out and act out, at every opportunity.

The sponsors of the two measures which were shelved again in the Senate, Sens. Russ Feingold and Harry Reid, say they will try again in April when appropriations for the war come up, even though House Democrats seem to have adopted a “wait til’ next year” strategy on Iraq.

Between now and then, let’s turn up the heat.

There are plenty of opportunities to do so in March.

Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold Winter Soldier hearings Mar. 13-16 in Washington, DC, modeled on the 1971 hearings held by Vietnam Veterans Against the War.  Here’s how IVAW describes the event:

The four-day event 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.

You’ll be able to follow live audio and video links on the web, and some groups are now making plans to screen the hearings in public places across the country, too.

The next week, March 19, is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.  Will we ever forget the shock and awe when we learned we had been duped about the reasons to invade?   United for Peace and Justice, the nation’s largest antiwar coalition, is planning to mark the day:

March 19th will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Enough is enough! We are organizing creative, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in Washington DC to interrupt business as usual for those promoting and profiting from war and empire building. Focusing on the pillars of war, our actions will take place at multiple sites, demonstrating the real costs of war and offering visions for a more just and sustainable world, a world at peace.

Actions are bring planned in local communities as well to mark the anniversary.  

Friday, March 21, is Iraq Moratorium #7, a day to take individual or collective action to call for an end to the war and the occupation.  The Moratorium, a national grassroots movement, asks people to do something on the Third Friday of every month to disrupt their normal routine and call for an end to the war.

You’ll find lots of ideas for actions on the Moratorium website , along with a list of events on March 21 and reports, videos and photos of previous actions.  There have been more than 600 group actions under the Iraq Moratorium banner since September.

So, march in March.  Or do something, anything, besides waiting for the election.  Unless we keep the pressure on, a Democratic president and Congress may not make this a priority, either. If you doubt that, ask Nancy Pelosi what she’s doing to end the war.    

‘How I spent spring break: Stopping the war’

Instead of “Where the Boys Are,” the old-time spring breaks that used to bring waves of partying college students to Florida beaches, the theme for some students this spring will be “Bring the Boys Home.”  (It’s not just boys at war any more, of course; that just fit better.) Our Spring Break invites students and young people to Washington DC for a wide range of antiwar actions in March.

Meanwhile, Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, is sponsoring Iraq Action Camp, three days of education, training and action for students March 15-17 in Washington. It’s free for college students, but they should register now.

Says Robin Markle of Drew University SDS in New Jersey:

“I don’t think we can rely on the government to stop the war, despite what politicians may say when they’re on the campaign trail. I’m really excited about the Iraq Moratorium campaign, which invites anti-war activists to hold actions the third Friday of every month in their communities. I think that locally-based grassroots actions like these, with people talking to their friends, co-workers and neighbors, is our best strategy for steadily growing the movement until it’s something that politicians can’t simply pay lip service to.”

Is antiwar action and energy being transferred to the presidential campaign?

Says Kati Kesh of UNC-Asheville:

From my perspective … it seems that although some students are very much swept up in the election process most students remember what happened in 2006 when they put their faith in the Democrats–the Democrats failed to do anything about the war. Because it’s an election year it seems that the student body is becoming more politicized and wanting to be more active about issues such as the war in Iraq.

More on what students are thinking and doing in this CounterPunch article.

Acting to end the war: Why it’s ‘worth it’

They discoed in DC and dressed as dogs in Austin to add a lighter touch to the serious issue of ending the war and occupation of Iraq.

Iraq Moratorium #6 had a serious and somber side as well.  In Madison, three were arrested in a shopping mall (right) where they held a solemn vigil honoring the dead and calling for an end to the war and occupation, and names of the dead Iraqis and dead US soldiers were read aloud.

They marched in Detroit, held street corner vigils from California to Vermont to send the message that the people want to end this bloody mess and bring the troops home. More than 100 events were “officially” listed on the Iraq Moratorium website, and many others simply acted locally without signing on.

Reports of Friday’s actions are beginning to come in, and are being posted on the website, many with photos and videos.  Visit IraqMoratorium.org to check them out.

Is it worth it?  Here’s what one street-corner vigil participant in Norwich CT reports:

…About that time a car pulled up along side of us and a young man clad in a kind of sports jersey came out. We weren’t sure what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised when he reached out to shake our hands and thank us for exercising the right that his fellow marines were in Iraq for. He said he was a marine and due to head over there for the first time very soon. He appreciated what we were doing.

We explained to him that we were not against the soldiers but against the war that the administration had placed them in. We asked him to convey to his fellow marines once he was in Iraq that we support them wholeheartedly, but we want them home and ready to actually defend our nation should a real threat occur. I truly got the feeling that he did not believe in the war, but as a marine he was going to do his duty. He was truly a respectful young man, and I only wished I could somehow keep him from going, from having to experience the horrors of war that would change him. I only wish this war was over now.

If ever I had a moment of doubt about the value of this Moratorium, tonight made it perfectly clear. For all those people who sit on the sidelines not wanting or caring to speak out, we do. That one marine understood that the US Constitution has been fought for longer than we have lived to give us the right to speak, to stand vigil, to oppose what our government is doing and that we might make the difference for him and his fellow marines, but only if we stand up and speak out.

George McGovern: Iraq worse than Vietnam; we failed to learn

George McGovern, whose run for president as a peace candidate helped end the Vietnam war, has endorsed the Iraq Moratorium, saying that the Iraq war is even worse than Vietnam because the US should have learned a lesson from its disastrous Vietnam policies.

Today is Iraq Moratorium #6, which asks opponents of the war and occupation to take some action, big or small, to show that they want the war to end and the troops to come home.  Inspired by the Vietnam Moratorium, it is a loosely-knit grassroots effort which lists more than 100 antiwar events happening across the country today on its website.

“Common sense helped end the mistaken war in Vietnam.  Common sense citizen action can end the mistaken war in Iraq.  That’s why I support the Iraq Moratorium.”

“I wish our leaders today had a little more knowledge of history,” McGovern said in a talk in Milwaukee this week.  “It seems I spent half my life opposing that (Vietnam) war.”

McGovern said he remembered telling his daughter, Susan, that “even good things can come from tragedy.  Vietnam was such an obvious blunder that we’ll never again go down that road.”

McGovern was overcome with emotion and had to pause to collect himself when discussing “the loss of 58,000 wonderful young Americans” in the Vietnam War.  “To this day, I can’t walk past that black marble wall (the Vietnam Memorial)… without losing my composure, yet here we are going down that same road again, 4,000 wonderful young Americans,” McGovern said.

McGovern called Iraq “a hopeless bloody mess” and said that “in some respects, it is even worse than Vietnam because we had Vietnam as a lesson and our leaders ignored it.”

“The transcendent issue in ’72 was the war in Vietnam,” McGovern said. “We’ve got another transcendent war issue that just has to be resolved.” Although some consider the economy the top issue, the nation’s economic difficulties are rooted in the war, he said.

He was in Milwaukee to attend an event for his grandson, Sam McGovern-Rowen, who is a candidate for alderman in Tuesday’s primary election.

Warm welcome planned for McCain on Iraq Moratorium day

Antiwar activists are planning a warm welcome for John “100-Year-War” McCain when he brings his campaign to Wisconsin on Iraq Moratorium day Friday.

McCain, fresh from a complete flip-flop on torture, comes to the Mississippi River city of LaCrosse for a town hall meeting at the Radisson Hotel.  McCain voted Wednesday against a ban on waterboarding,which passed the Senate 51-45.

Wisconsin’s primary is next Tuesday.

Coulee Progressives are organizing the “welcome” in LaCrosse:

Get Your Protest Shoes On!!

This is Peace Country, where the City of La Crosse along with 32 other cities in WI voted in 2005/06 to bring the troops home back. It’s time we tell those who would bring us deeper into war, that violence is not the answer.

Please come to express your voice for peace this FRIDAY from 3-4 outside the La Crosse Radisson Ballroom. Let’s tell John McCain that war is not the answer.

It’s time to speak out for the unemployed, the underemployed, the sick, those w/o health insurance. It’s time to end the deaths of children and families in Iraq, It’s time to speak for solutions that leave nations better off economically and with healthcare. It’s time to say more than, “NO TO WAR”.






University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Progressives announced they plan their own peace protest becasue of McCain’s support for the war in Iraq. Members will meet on campus at 2 p.m. and march to the Radisson Center.

Later in the day, LaCrosse will become the latest Wisconsin community to hold an Iraq Moratorium event, joining 13 others across the state who have planned actions on Friday, Iraq Moratorium #6.  Wisconsin has been a hotbed of Moratorium activity, with 14 events planned on Friday — more than any other state except California, with six times the population.

Nearly 100 events are listed on the Iraq Moratorium website .  The Moratorium asks people to take some action — individually or collectively — on the Third Friday of every month to show their opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Do something on Friday to end the war

Friday is Iraq Moratorium #6, a loosely-knit national grassroots effort to end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Nearly 90 events already are listed on the national website, from sea to shining sea.  They range from street corner vigils to die-ins, with a dash of street theater thrown in. There have been 600-plus events since the Moratorium began in September.

California remains the epicenter of Iraq Moratorium activity, with at least 25 events listed on the site.  (There are many more events that take place across the nation every Moratorium day, but no way to quantify them unless the organizers voluntarily list them on the website.)

If California is the hotbed, Wisconsin is the coldbed of activity, with 13 events listed and at least a few more planned.  Twenty-five states have events on the list. You can easily check at IraqMoratorium.org for one near you.

Pause in troop withdrawal; No time to pause in antiwar action

Lest we think that the Iraqization of the war is underway and that US trops will be coming home, this blunt reminder. AP reports:

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – In a clear sign the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq will be suspended, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he favors taking time this summer to assess security gains before more troops leave the country, an idea President Bush is expected to support.

It was Gates’ first public endorsement of a possible suspension, and it would seem to mark an end to the Pentagon chief’s previously stated hope that conditions in Iraq would permit American troops to withdraw in the second half of this year as rapidly as they are leaving now.

“A brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense,” Gates told reporters during a short stop at this U.S. base in southern Baghdad. He had just finished private meetings with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and the No. 2 commander, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno.

Gates did not say how long the pause might last, noting that it ultimately would be a decision for the president.

Friday is Iraq Moratorium #6, a loosely-knit nationwide effort that asks people to take some action, individually or in a group, on the third Friday of every month to call for an end to the war.  Those actions range from simple gestures like wearing a black armband or button to participating in a large-scale protest.

Since the Moratorium began in September, more than 600 events have been listed with the group’s website, IraqMoratorium.org, which has a list of upcoming actions, and reports, photos and videos from previous month’s events.  You’ll also find suggestions on things you can do by yourself.

What are you going to do?  

Calling out the dogs for Iraq Moratorium #6

Opponents of the Iraq war will ring church bells in Massachusetts, bring out their dogs in Texas, do “peace walking” in a Wisconsin shopping mall, challenge military recruiters in California, hold a peace concert in Connecticut, and take part in scores of vigils and other actions across the country on Friday, Feb. 15,  Iraq Moratorium #6.

The Iraq Moratorium is a loosely-knit nationwide grassroots movement that asks people to take some action, individually or in a group, on the third Friday of every month to call for an end to the war.  Those actions range from simple gestures like wearing a black armband or button to participating in a large-scale protest.

Since the Moratorium began in September, more than 600 events have been listed with the group’s website, IraqMoratorium.org, which highlights upcoming actions as well as reports, photos and videos from previous month’s events.  A full list of February 15 events, and ideas for individual actions, is available there.

Friday’s Austin, TX canine event is aimed at Sen. John Cornyn for “his tail-wagging support for the Bush administration’s policies on the war, torture, and civil liberties,” one of the sponsors, Movement for a Democratic Society, says.  “His dogged defense of President Bush’s veto of affordable health care to millions of needy children has helped to propel him to an approval rating lower than a weenie dog. “Corn Dog” – Bush’s own nickname for Texas’ junior senator! – is the president’s ever-obedient lap dog.”

“We are inviting progressive groups to develop – through canine-related costume, music, and street theater – their own distinctive messages about Cornyn’s flea-bitten record. We are asking people to bring their dogs and/or to come costumed as dogs. It will be lively and colorful, but the message will be as serious as a riled-up pit bull.”  The event will be outside Cornyn’s Senate office in Austin.

“The fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a month away, and the death toll of American service members is nearing 4,000.  Two-thirds of the American people want this war to end, but there’s little or no movement from President Bush and not much more from Congress,” said Moratorium organizer Eric See.   “We must turn up the heat, and more people every month see the growing Iraq Moratorium movement as a way to do that.  This war’s got to stop, and we’ve got to stop it.”

War issue has staying power; Keep it alive on Feb. 15

From our friends at the Iraq Moratorium:

It’s a week until this month’s Iraq Moratorium on Friday, February 15.

Tuesday was what they called Super-Duper Tuesday, with presidential primaries and caucuses in two dozen states. The media covered it like a cross between the Super Bowl and some half-scripted “reality show.” But no matter how the talking heads and the candidates’ staffs try to spin things in some other direction, the fact remains that for us and for tens of millions of our fellow everyday Americans, the real issue is ending the war in Iraq.

An article in the San Jose Mercury News tells the story:

WASHINGTON – The Iraq war, conventional wisdom goes, has been eclipsed as the No. 1 issue of the presidential campaign. The housing crisis, credit crunch and overall economic woes top the list of voters’ concerns, recent polls show.

“But as the war nears two grim milestones – five years since the invasion and nearly 4,000 Americans killed – the question of what to do in Iraq is never far below the surface. In California, where polls show 42 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats oppose U.S. policy in Iraq, strong anti-war sentiment gives the issue staying


The candidates sometimes avoid difficult questions about Iraq. The Democrats concede the surge improved security and don’t talk much about what they would do if violence increased during a withdrawal. Republicans talk often about “victory” over terrorists, but not about whether U.S. troops should try to suppress a messy civil war.

The war will be a major issue with distinct risks for both parties, predicted Jon Cohen, the director of the Washington Post’s polling. While a majority of Americans believe the war was a mistake, “there is much less settled opinion on how to go forward, so it’s a trickier issue for both sides,” he said.

There, in a nutshell, is why the Iraq Moratorium is so important. The people of this country want this war over with and we want it over with pronto. But 15 months after we voted in a new Congress to do the job, nothing has changed! It is crystal clear that nothing is going to change, unless and until we, the people, make sure it does.

February 15 is Moratorium Day #6. On the Iraq Moratorium website , you can check out what happened in January and look up events planned for this month in your area (and list new ones if an event you know about hasn’t been posted there yet.) You can also check out our growing list of individual actions you can take up in observation of the Moratorium.

For instance, a handful of churches in New England started ringing their bells at noon on the Third Friday of January. This month a bunch more are planning to do so. In October, veterans and others in Hobart, IN pioneered Mall Walks, wearing t-shirts protesting the war. By last month a half a dozen groups around the country took similar strolls through their local malls.

So consider this a little reminder:

Make your plans, now, to break your daily routine and take some action to end the war on the 15th.

Spread the word to friends, family and co-workers.

Post a short report on what you did, during the days after the Moratorium.

Give a buck (or more) to keep this project growing. If everyone who takes part in a Moratorium action every month gave one dollar, it would be enough to sustain the effort and build on our success, which includes more than 600 events since September.

What are you doing on February 15?

‘Winning’ in Iraq; What would that be, exactly?

Joe Johns of CNN asked Hillary Clinton:

Last week, you said the next president will, quote, “have a war to end in Iraq.” In light of the new military and political progress on the ground there in Iraq, are you looking to end this war or win it?

To her credit, Clinton didn’t take the bait, responding well to that inane question:

I’m looking to bring our troops home, starting within 60 days of my becoming president, and here’s why, Joe. I have the greatest admiration for the American military. I serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I’ve been to Iraq three times. I’ve met with the leaders of the various factions. But there is no military solution, and our young men and women should not remain as the referees of their conflict.

Barack Obama and John Edwards also said they want to extract US troops and disengage, to a large degree, from Iraq.  There are nuances, different language, different timelines, but none of the Democrats’ Big Three is espousing “winning” in Iraq. Transcript.

It makes you wonder just what might constitute “victory.”  Someone should have asked Joe Johns.  Or maybe John “100-Years-War” McCain or one of the other rabid Republicans would like to take a crack at it.

If victory means getting out alive, it’s too late for nearly 4,000 US troops, and more than a million Iraqis.

Was regime change the goal?  Would that constitute victory?

If so, US troops should have come home after George Bush’s famous “Mission Accomplished” stunt.  Saddam has not only been deposed, but captured and brutally executed.  That shouls make us all feel better, even if it turns our that Bin Laden guy was in another country and is still at large, and that Saddam really wasn’t intent on blowing up the world, or at least didn’t have the capability even if he would have liked to.

A stable and successful Iraq will directly improve the national security of our own country,” said Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Co-Chair of the Victory in Iraq Caucus. “Today, we were grateful to be joined by (USAID) Director (Dawn) Liberi and General (John) Kelly, two officials who recognize the tremendous importance of building a civil society in Iraq and are dedicated to successfully completing this mission. Under their leadership, thousands of brave American men and women are working tirelessly to help ensure Iraqis live in a stable, democratic, and prosperous state.” — Link.

“Stable, democratic and prosperous.”  Waiting for that to come true really could mean a Hundred Years War.  Political progress has been and will remain elusive.

Was access to oil our goal, as some critics claim?  We seem to be able to buy all we want, as long as we’re willing to pay in the neighborhood of twice what it cost a year ago. That hardly seems like victory.

Making money for Halliburton and KBR?  Only the most cynical would suggest that Bush and Cheney started a war to help their old friends and political cronies.  More likely that was just one of the positive side effects, from the Bush-Cheney point of view.  Sort of like collateral damage to the US taxpayers and economy.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that funneling tons of money to Halliburton was the goal. Then this administration really has accomplished its mission, and it’s time to declare victory and bring the troops home.

On the frozen tundra, asking an end to war

There are no photos of this week’s Iraq Moratorium vigil in downtown Milwaukee.  The battery in the digital camera froze.

About 40 people turned out in the bitter cold, and marched with flags, banners, signs and drums past City Hall, then gathered on four corners of the main downtown intersection.

“I was feeling a little wimpy, like maybe it was too cold to come, but I decided that if 70,000 people could go to the Packers game Sunday, when it will be colder than this, I could come out here for an hour to try to stop the war,” one vigiler said.

The tundra was frozen in Hayward, a city of 2,200 in northwestern Wisconsin which has led the nation in percentage of the population turning out for Iraq Moratorium vigils.  Attendance was down from the high of 83 in December, but, as one of the organizers reports on the scene below:


24 determined, (and half crazy!) peace supporters braved 20 below zero windchills to stand for an hour in observance of Iraq Moratorium Day #5. We had mostly encouraging responses from motorists who seemed both delighted, and incredulous, at our presence on the street corner.

At 4:45 p.m. some folks suggested that we knock off early due to the bitterly cold winds, but a couple of hardcore skier/peace types shouted, “No! We came to stand for an hour, and for an hour we’ll stand!” We hunkered down, and at 5 p.m. sharp a great cheer went up as we headed for the warmth of vehicles that had been idling for half an hour in the parking lot. See you in February!!

That’s hard core.

Those are among the reports beginning to trickle in to the Iraq Moratorium website in the wake of Friday’s actions, numbering about 90 across the country.  Typically, many more will be posted during the coming week, many with photos and videos.

In Mountain View, California, where the weather was a bit warmer, the Raging Grannies Action League “welcomed” a new armed forces recruiting station to the neighborhood — and let the recruiters know they were invading the Grannies’ turf.  “Killing and Dying is not a career,” the Grannies said.

Iraq Moratorium #6 falls on February 15, the Third Friday of the month.  Now’s the time to start planning, and share your plans and ideas with others at IraqMoratorium.org

P.S. — Go Pack!

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