Labor Advocate Online

An Anniversary We Can’t Forget
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org

On March 19, 2003, Bush and Blair unleashed "shock and awe" against the peoples of Iraq. They’re still at it three years later with no end in sight.

The B&B boys show no remorse, no doubts. To mark this infamous anniversary Bush renewed his commitment to preemptive first strike military interventions wherever he deems fit–and launched a new major airborne offensive in Iraq. In his commemorative reflections Blair affirmed he would do the same again.

Congress–with overwhelming bipartisan support–continues to fund the war. The direct costs so far spent or budgeted approximate a half-trillion dollars. They also renewed the repressive Patriot Act and they showed far more interest in Dick Cheney’s hunting accident than the revelation that the administration has carried out domestic spying on American citizens in violation of the constitution.

Yet despite bipartisan Establishment support, despite Pentagon manipulation of media coverage, a solid majority of the American people oppose this war. Polls indicate that now includes the GIs on the ground in Iraq.

"Opposition" Democrat strategists read these polls and seek to take advantage of this sentiment. But, their approach is to blame Bush for the war going badly–without offering any alternative. Only a handful–such as Cynthia McKinney–have shown the courage to demand an immediate end to this unjust war.

We need to make clear we oppose this war not just because it is going badly for those running it. We should oppose this war because it is wrong. It is an illegal war of aggression. It has led to untold numbers of Iraqi deaths as well as going on 2400 GIs killed. It has wrecked the economy and infrastructure of Iraq bringing increased hardship to most Iraqis. It has destroyed the institutions of Iraqi civil society and inflamed sectarian and ethnic conflicts that did not exist before the invasion. And its enormous cost in dollars has starved every useful public service in the U.S. Those are all pretty good reasons for the majority of working people–both in Iraq and here at home–to oppose the war.

Since the war is wrong, and good people in both countries are suffering because of it, we have no interest in "phased withdrawal" exit strategies. We have the right, and I believe, obligation, to demand this unjust war be shut down now; that every GI be brought back home now; that war funding cease and be diverted to social needs now.

Since the politicians and mass media are not saying these truths we have to organize independently to express majority sentiment–in marches, rallies, community meetings. We need to get resolutions passed by our mass organizations. Instead of pleading with politicians we need to put them in fear of our wrath.

It can be done. During the Vietnam war a mighty mass movement was ultimately built–and ultimately proved to be a decisive factor in putting a stop to that unjust conflict.

Some will say, "But that was the Sixties. The Sixties were different times." That’s true. But a major reason they became different times was because of the mass movement that developed against the war.

This weekend there will be antiwar actions of various kinds held across the U.S.–and across Iraq as well. I urge you to participate wherever you may be.

Those of you in the Kansas City area are invited to the Labor/Community Speak Out Against the War on Saturday, organized by KC Labor Against the War. On Sunday afternoon there will be a traditional peace movement Vigil/Rally.

We remember this bitter third anniversary–let’s act so we don’t have to mark a fourth.

Bring the GIs Home Now!

March 17, 2006