Six years of war sparks hundreds of actions this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join them if you can.

It ain’t over till it’s over.  

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.

Time to unleash the hounds on pro-war Dems

Writing about the recent House vote against more Iraq war funding, The Nation notes that growing numbers of Democrats in Congress are finding it safer to vote to stop funding the endless war and occupation. Susannah Vila writes:

Since March 2006, eighty Democrats have switched to voting no on war funding, due in part to persistent lobbying by local constituents and peace groups. After voting for funding as recently as December, veteran Democrats like John Dingell and Dale Kildee changed their votes in response to pressure from United for Peace and Justice’s Michigan Peace Action Chapter. “They are riding the wave,” says UFPJ’s Sue Udry of the additions to the nay camp. “Now it’s safe to vote against the war. There had been pressure on them from their districts, but it had been building slowly. The grassroots peace movement has been hounding Congress for years, and finally it pushed them over.” The lesson of the May 15 vote? “The strength of the peace movement is people’s willingness to keep hounding.”

The appropriations bill is coming back for a House vote soon, since $193-billion for the war was restored by the Senate.  It will almost certainly pass the House this time; it failed last time not only because Dems voted no, but because many Repubs, mostly angry about procedural issues, voted “present” instead of aye.  That’s unlikely to happen again.

UFPJ encourages Iraq Moratorium participation

By Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, UFPJ:

Since last fall, on the third Friday of every month, people in cities and towns around the country have organized protest activities and other events as part of the nationally coordinated Iraq Moratorium. This coming Friday, May 16th, is Iraq Moratorium #9.

First, we want to congratulate the local organizers who keep pulling together these activities. And we also want to congratulate the national organizers who have maintained and expanded this effort, including the Iraq Moratorium website at: www.IraqMoratorium.org

Second, we want to encourage more local groups to get involved. There is still time to organize something in your community, at your school or workplace, or anywhere you might be able to reach people.

You can find reports from past Moratorium actions, as well as listings for events already planned for this Friday, at the Iraq Moratorium website. Reading through all of this will inspire you and might give you an idea of something you can do as part of this project. If you do plan something, please be sure to list it on the calendar.

Finally, if you are planning something for May 16, try to take some photos or video. Then we hope you’ll take a few minutes to go back to the site and post a report on what happened — not just numbers but anecdotes, descriptions of who came, etc. If you have them, include photos or video. What you do, and the stories you tell, can inspire others for future actions.

Again, the website for the Iraq Moratorium is www.IraqMoratorium.org – be sure to check it out!

(UFPJ — United for Peace and Justice — is the nation’s largest peace coalition, with more than 1,400 affiliated organizations.)