Tag: Iraq Moratorium

‘I am only one, but I can do something’

I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

— Ten Times One is Ten (1870), Edward Everett Hale

Making the connections: Homelessness, vets and the Iraq war

This Friday is a day designated to remember the homeless, as well as a day to take some action to stop the war in Iraq.

And, yes, they are related. As the environmentalists remind us, everything is connected.

We are creating future homeless veterans every day in Iraq.

It’s got to stop.  And we’ve got to stop it.

In season of celebration, remember those who suffer

From our friend Dennis O’Neil at the Iraq Moratorium:

This Friday, December 21, is Iraq Moratorium Day #4.

The end of December is a time of celebration. On the 22nd, the days

start getting longer once again. Friends and family gather to observe

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. Whatever the stresses of the holiday

season, it is a time to rest, to renew ties, to be grateful for having

made it through another year.

But let us keep in our hearts those with less reason to celebrate:

Ho, ho, ho! The Iraq war has gotta go!

Many of December’s nationwide Iraq Moratorium #4 actions, calling for an end to the war, will take on a holiday flavor as activists adapt their protests to the season.

The Iraq Moratorium, observed on the third Friday of every month, falls on Dec. 21, just four days before Christmas.  It is the fifth Christmas with U.S. troops in Iraq.

Songs of peace and Christmas caroling, with both traditional songs and new antiwar lyrics, will be part of many of the vigils and rallies.   Santa hats and the Moratorium’s trademark black armbands are recommended attire for some.  In Boston, carolers will hand out information about how to support veterans.  

A number of vigils will take their message to busy intersections, shopping districts and malls to reach out to throngs of holiday shoppers, including a silent vigil at Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan.  Mall walks, with participants wearing antiwar T-shirts, are also planned, and protestors will leaflet subway stops in New York, train stations in California, and commuters elsewhere.

In Snellville, Georgia, a display of more than 100 pairs of empty combat boots will symbolize service members from Georgia killed in Iraq,

Lawrence, Kansas will have a wishing well to collect holiday peace wishes from passersby.  In Royal Oak, Michigan activists will walk a mile through downtown with signs, banners and flags.

The Brandywine Peace Community in Valley Forge, Pa. will hold a candlelight vigil at the Lockheed Martin weapons complex.

In Texas, a car caravan from Dallas to San Antonio is planned with black ribbons, Iraq Moratorium banners and US flags on the vehicles.  

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.

Planned events and actions are listed on the group’s website, IraqMoratorium.org, along with reports, photos and videos from the past three months.  The Moratorium began in September and is steadily growing.

“Two-thirds of the American people want this war to end,” California organizer Eric See said.  “Our challenge is to mobilize them, and the Iraq Moratorium lets them get involved at whatever level they are comfortable with, from wearing a button to taking part in an action.”

Doing something beats doing nothing every time

(An op ed column from Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal, in Madison.)

The fifth Christmas with U.S. troops in Iraq is upon us, with no end in sight.

It’s a time to remember those families who are missing a loved one this season, especially those who are facing the first holiday of the rest of their lives without their loved ones. It’s a time to remember and honor the troops who are away from home.

It ‘s also a time to ask: How can we stop the war? And it’s a time to do something — even if it ‘s something small — to say we want it to end.

President Bush will not be moved, despite the fact that every poll says a solid majority, perhaps two-thirds, of the American people want to end the war and bring our troops home.

The Democratic Congress, elected a year ago with a mandate to end the war, is too chicken-hearted to confront the bull-headed president. Next year’s presidential election offers precious little hope, as the leading candidates refuse to commit to having our troops out by 2013.

Opponents of the Iraq war have become the new Silent Majority. They tell the pollsters they ‘re against the war, but do nothing — perhaps because it seems fruitless.

It is understandable if they are disheartened. They spoke out in huge numbers before the war began, and were ignored. Four years of beating their heads against the wall may have worn them out.

But it’s not a time to give up. Doing nothing is not a viable option.

That’s why I have joined many who have signed on with the Iraq Moratorium, a decentralized but growing national grassroots effort that asks individuals to take personal responsibility to do something — anything — to show their opposition to the war.

The moratorium asks people to take some action, individually or collectively, on the third Friday of every month, from wearing a black armband or button to participating in a large-scale protest, or many things in between.

The group’s website, IraqMoratorium.org ,has ideas, information and reports on past and upcoming actions.

The fourth monthly Moratorium Day is Dec. 21, four days before Christmas. It is guaranteed to be ignored by the media, George Bush and the Congress.

The cynics say nothing we do matters, so why do anything?

The answer is obvious: Doing something is infinitely more likely to have an impact than doing nothing. That’s what the Iraq Moratorium is all about.

Buttons and armbands won’t stop the war by themselves. Neither will rallies and marches, or letters to the editor, or phone calls to Congress, or speeches or civil disobedience. There ‘s no single magic solution.

Those who want to end this war need to do everything to keep the flame alive until the silent majority catches fire and demands an end to this senseless war.

That’s why I will do something for Iraq Moratorium No. 4 on Dec. 21. And you?


Xposted at PDA Blog

I first heard of the IRAQ MORATORIUM at the 20 year anniversary of  Nuremberg Actions.   September 1, 1987 was the day a  US navy munitions train ran over Brian Willson when he and Nuremberg Actions were protesting US actions in Central America.  The commemoration lasted a couple of hours at the Concord Naval Weapons Station “tracks.”   Then we gathered in a Berkeley backyard for a great barbeque, many reminiscences, and lots of laughter.  

With so many old time activists in attendance, it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to strategizing about what could be done to get us out of our current situation–the madness, the craziness, the intransigence of war on Iraq and threats against Iran.   Some of the folks present were already involved with the Iraq Moratorium, and the conversation really settled on that.  Dan Ellsberg was one of the main participants.  Despite his busy schedule, Dan stayed all day, from 10 AM to 8:30 PM.  He seemed so eager to find a way, a new possibility.  He related the story of the Vietnam Moratorium in the late 60s.

In October 1969 Nixon was so discouraged, angry and disheartened with the course of the war in South East Asia, he decided to threaten bombing North Vietnam with Nuclear Weapons.  Whether this threat was real or a bluff is still up for debate; it was most probably both.  According to Ellsberg, Nixon made it clear to North Vietnam and the world, both through direct statements and through the Russian Ambassador, that “…the train had left the station and was heading down the tracks…,” a phrase meant to convey the irreversibility of his plans.  

However, at the very same time, yet separately from Nixon’s plans, the peace movement came up with the “Vietnam Moratorium.”  A movement where people pledged to be in non compliance with the system 1 day a month, to walk out from school, from work, from business as usual in the name of peace and in protest of the war.  According to Dan Ellsberg, when Nixon saw 2 million people engage in this action, and state their intention to do the same the following month, he really felt he could not risk this large display of non cooperation with the system.  Ellsberg indicated that it was the Vietnam Moratorium which deterred Nixon from going forward with his plans to “nuke” North Vietnam.  

There are many reasons the Iraq Moratorium movement can be so potent:

    1) The actions are incredibly simple, ranging from wearing a black arm band to

         not shopping (especially for gas) to standing in a vigil to civil


    2) The actions are spread out across the nation and therefore close to our homes.

    3) The main thing is to sign the pledge to do something to make a statement for

         peace on the 3rd Friday of every month.  By signing the pledge, the numbers are


    4) These gentle steps can lead to the most potent action of all, a General Strike.  

         Please read a short essay on this:

                 Garret Keizer, “Specific Suggestion: General Strike,” HARPERS

                                           MAGAZINE, October 2007, “Notebook”

    5) The Iraq Moratorium is designed to find the 65% to 75%  who oppose the war

         but who don’t know how to speak out.  This is a way to find them and to give

         them a means to speak out and be counted.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella,

         not a group.  All groups can fit under the umbrella.

    6) The Iraq Moratorium breaks the competitive tendency amongst different groups.

         It isn’t one group against another.  It isn’t come to “our” demo instead of

         “that” demo.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella, not a group.  All groups

         can fit in under the umbrella.

For this to happen, imo, all the activist groups must come together and YELL about the Iraq Moratorium.  All the Peace and Justice groups need to spread the word of the Iraq Moratorium far and wide.  Sign the Pledge!  Do something the 3rd Friday of every month!  And the essence of what you do is non-cooperation, a refusal to cooperate, with the system, with the status quo.  

The fine video documentary, “A Force More Powerful,” tells the stories of 6 successful nonviolent resistance actions from Gandhi to Apartheid South Africa, to the Civil Rights movement and more.   The refusal to cooperate, the refusal to go along is the key.  But it takes massive numbers to be this powerful against the recalcitrant sturm and dreng of the repressive immobilists.

And the question is:  How do we get these massive numbers?  We need to take the simple message “wear a black arm band” to every nook and cranny of mainstream America.  And for those who are strong of heart already, and are able to take the day off from work, then do it, General Strike!  

When I have contemplated the sagging turn out numbers at our recent demonstrations, it would be easy to despair.  After all, the ‘big’ National rally of October 27th, which had been planned for almost a year, saw only between 80 and 150 thousand people turn out.

The population of the US is 300 million.  The percentage of 80 or 150 thousand to 300 million is…


…5/100 of 1%!…

NO, no, no, boys and girls.  This won’t do.  Rather than become discouraged, I’m going to keep YELLING LOUDER to get people to stand up, speak up in some form or other, and TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

I agree with Dan Ellsberg, that the Iraq Moratorium presents perhaps the best opportunity for doing that.  

This is a plea to the Peace & Justice community to YELL with me.  



Iraq Moratorium #4 dawns early in Colorado

Just like New Years is celebrated in Australia long before the ball drops in Times Square, Iraq Moratorium #4 dawns a week early today in at least one location.

Interesting that it rises early not in the East, but in Colorado Springs.

The Iraq Moratorium is observed on the Third Friday of every month. This month it falls on December 21, close to the holidays, the winter solstice, campus closings and a number of other possible distractions that present a challenge to organizers.

So, Pikes Peak Justice and Peace , the sponsor, which holds an action every month, moved it up a week for December only. PPJP is also responsible for the striking graphic above. Newspeak’s listing: :

Join PPJPC on Friday, Dec. 14 at the corner of E. Fountain & S. Academy for the fourth Iraq Moratorium. As in past events, they call for an end to the criminal occupation of Iraq and a peaceful resolution to our country’s differences with Iran.  Presence near the local headquarters of several prominent defense contractors will draw attention to the problem of military dependency in our local economy and the problems of waste, fraud, and cronyism in military contracting.

Gather at the Justice and Peace Commission’s office at 214 E. Vermijo and leave in a carpool between 11:00 and 11:30.  Because of the cold and the possibility of snow, dress warm and bring warm beverages to share if you can.   For more information about the national campaign, visit www.IraqMoratorium.org

For the rest of the country, there’s still a week to decide what to do to observe Iraq Moratorium #4.

For starters, consider taking the simple pledge on the website, saying you’ll break your daily routine on the Third Friday of every month and take some action, by yourself or with others, to end the war in Iraq.

You’ll find a list of events and suggestions for solo action on the site, too.  Event listings are still coming in every day; the last three months there have been 100 or more across the country, in addition to the countless individuals actions taken under the Moratorium banner.

Check it out.

Muskies, seashells and balloons and organizing for peace

When we last checked in with our intrepid antiwar warriors in Hayward, Wisconsin, they were basking in the afterglow of Iraq Moratorium #3, having turned out some 40 people in a city of 2129 for a roadside vigil. We noted that the same percentage turnout across the nation would put 6 million people in the streets, calling for an and to the Iraq war.

Now comes the local weekly, the Sawyer County Record, to remind us that organizing for peace in a small, rural community is not all seashells and balloons, as Al McGuire used to say (meaning everything was coming up roses.)  The paper reports:

They’ve become a familiar sight at the corner of Highways 63 and 27 in Hayward.

They hold signs. They wave. They usually smile.

They appreciate the honks of support. They tolerate the jeers and middle fingers pointed in their direction


But members of Peace North, which organizes the event, are busy working on turnout for Iraq Moratorium #4 next week, on Friday, December 21.

It’s a challenging time to organize for peace — four days before Christmas, one day before the shortest and darkest day of the year. It’ll be below freezing if not below zero in some parts of the country.  Most campuses will be shut down and students scattered.

Organizers are responding with some creative ideas, many of them holiday-themed to match the goodwill the season seems to generate. More events and plans are being listed every day on the Moratorium website.

“Dress warmly and be ready to sing,” warned organizers of the Patriots for Change peace vigil in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Mall walks, antiwar carols, Santa suits and hats, vigils and actions to reach out to holiday shoppers all are in the works.

In Valley Forge, Pennsylvania the Brandywine Peace Community plans a Christmas candlelight vigil at Lockheed Martin weapons complex,to include: reading of names of Iraq war dead (both Iraqi and U.S.)to the backdrop of Christmas Carols, bell-tolling, poetry and music, reading of the Christmas story and guest minister commentary on “Seeing the World Through Jesus Eyes”.

Check the website for an event near you.  But you don’t need an event to participate in the Iraq Moratorium.  All you need to do is to take some action on December 21 to express your wish for an end to the war.  Wear a button or a black armband to work or school.  Write, call or email your members of Congress.  Put a sign in your yard or hang one on a freeway overpass.   Make a donation.  The list is a long one, and you’ll find many more ideas on the website.

Do what you’re comfortable doing — but do something.

Curse the darkness, but also light a candle.

One closing note:  In our previous post in praise of Hayward, we erroneously identified the city as the Musky Capital of the World.  It turns out that although Hayward does play host to the Musky Festival and is the home of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, which features a musky sculpture half a block long and four and a half stories high, that Hayward is NOT the Musky Capital of the World.

That honor belongs to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, which guards it zealously.

When one of the Peace North members in Hayward pointed that out, we agreed that when Boulder Junction turned out two per cent of its population for an Iraq Moratorium event we might set the record straight. But we’re doing it now anyway.  How about it, Boulder Junction?  Want to be the Peace Capital of the World?

Victory in Iraq? Who’s kidding whom?

Finally, some good news from Iraq.

“We are winning,” declared former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee…Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee said the U.S. “must prevail” in the war, and added, “… I believe that we are.”

…Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani … said that the goal in Iraq should be a “victory for America.”

The phrase was striking because Bush himself, who often touted the U.S. strategy for victory, recently dropped the word “victory” from his lexicon as part of an administration effort to avoid appearing to overstate progress.

Excuse me, but I think this is where I came in.  

Mission accomplished? Victory?  Hardly.

Who’s kidding whom?

At best, we have a temporary respite from escalating numbers of deaths and attacks in Iraq since the so-called surge began.  

On Sunday, 23 civilian deaths were reported.  On Saturday, 26.  On Friday, 32.  The worst day last week was Wednesday, with 45 killed. The weekly total:  202.  Those are conservative numbers from a reliable source.

Thirty-seven US service members died in Iraq last month, the lowest monthly total since March 2006.

Lest anyone confuse those numbers with “victory,” consider this sobering assessment:

BAGHDAD — The U.S. troop buildup in Iraq was meant to freeze the country’s civil war so political leaders could rebuild their fractured nation. Ten months later, the country’s bloodshed has dropped, but the military strategy has failed to reverse Iraq’s disintegration into areas dominated by militias, tribes and parties, with a weak central government struggling to assert its influence.

In the south, Shiite Muslim militias are at war over the lucrative oil resources in the Basra region. To the west, in Anbar province, Sunni Arab tribes that once fought U.S. forces now help police the streets and control the highways to Jordan and Syria. In the north, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens are locked in a battle for the regions around Kirkuk and Mosul. In Baghdad, blast walls partition neighborhoods policed by Sunni paramilitary groups and Shiite militias.

“Iraq is moving in the direction of a failed state, a highly decentralized situation — totally unplanned, of course — with competing centers of power run by warlords and militias,” said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group. “The central government has no political control whatsoever beyond Baghdad, maybe not even beyond the Green Zone.”

The key word in the first paragraph of that story is “failed.”

And that’s the situation with US troop levels at their peak.  A relative handful — 5,000 of the 162,000 US forces — are on their way home this month.

By next summer, 25,000 more are to come home under the plan put forward by Gen. David Patraeus.  That would merely bring troop levels back to where they were before the surge — and Patraeus has kept open the option of changing his mind, depending upon the security situation in Iraq.  

At the absolute best, that leaves 130,000 US troops in Iraq next July.

Victory?  Hardly.

There are plenty of words to describe the situation in Iraq, but victory is not one of them.  

We’ve got to keep the pressure on, or we’ll be hearing Hillary & Co. talking about “victory” in their next debate.

A real victory would consist of ending the war and bringing our troops home.  That is not even up for discussion by the Republican candidates, except Ron Paul, and gets very little traction with the leading Demomcrats, either.

It’s time to turn up the heat. Iraq Moratorium #4 on December 21 is a good place to start, but don’t stop there.  We’ve got to not only turn up the heat, but keep it on.  

Or we should consider the solution proposed by Sen. George Aiken, a Vermont Republican, during the Vietnam war:  Just declare victory and being the troops home.

That’s the kind of victory we could all get behind.    

Quit giving $$$ to politicians; give the gift of peace

We’ve been regularly donating to two presidential candidates — not large amounts, but smaller contributions about once a month – for the past year.

But we’ve declared a moratorium on those checks and online contributions until after there is a Democratic nominee.

Instead, we’re going to put that money somewhere that is more likely than any politician to end the war in Iraq.

Whether we max out to Obama, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Clinton or whomever isn’t going to have the slightest impact on their policy stance.  Our contributions are a drop in the multi-million dollar campaign bucket.

The same amount of  money, given to an organization working to stop the war, is far more likely to actually accomplish something.

Iraq Moratorium goes mainstream; well, kind of

Who’s the guy with the big Iraq Moratorium button?

Could it be a presidential candidate?

Indeed, Sen. Mike Gravel joined tens of thousands of others who observed Iraq Moratorium #3 on Nov. 16.

The Alaska Democrat, former Senator and presidential hopeful wore a big, black Iraq Moratorium button all day, the Moratorium website says. It’s in the Moratorium Day #3 reports.

That makes him the first presidential candidate to actually get on board the peace train, although a would-be First Lady beat him to it by two months.  

Bruce Lee on the Iraq Moratorium!

(Before I start using water as a metaphor, I would like to ask all of you to turn your attention to Bangladesh for a moment….thank you)


It goes without saying that the louder we yell to stop the Iraq War the better. The more people marching the better. The more blogging against it the better. The more we can CRASH against the reality of Bushco’s occupation of Iraq the better. That is what we would all like to see happen. And that is what did happen before the War. Millions of people all over the world crashed into the streets to protest the lunacy and immorality of these illegal actions. Brave souls continue to hit the streets to this day.

But as we all know, that didn’t work out as well as we had hoped. Eventually the flood of protest broke up into smaller streams, that were easier for the politicians and press to ignore.

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