Monday, June 20, 2005

CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now (excerpt from Camilo Mejia's "Regaining My Humanity")

I was deployed to Iraq in April 2003 and returned home for a two-week leave in October. Going home gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts in order and to listen to what my conscience had to say. People would ask me about my war experiences, and answering them took me back to all the horrors -- the firefights, the ambushes, the time I saw a young Iraqi dragged by his shoulders through a pool of his own blood, or an innocent man decapitated by our machine-gun fire. The time I saw a soldier broken down inside because he had killed a child, or an old man on his knees, crying with his arms raised to the sky, perhaps asking God why we had taken his son's life.
I thought of the suffering of a people whose country was in ruins and who were further humiliated by the raids and curfews of an occupying army.
And I realized that none of the reasons we were given about why we were in Iraq turned out to be true. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. We weren't helping the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people didn't want us there. We weren't preventing terrorism or making Americans safer. I couldn't find one reason for my having been in Iraq, for having shot at people and having been shot at.

The above is from Camilo Mejia's "Regaining My Humanity" (page 8) in CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now. We're finally into chapter one. I'm serious about going through each section. This is an important book and one we need to be aware of.

Via BuzzFlash, Scott Ritter's "The U.S. war with Iran has already begun:"

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.
The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself.
But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase. President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran.
The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.
It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq. Perhaps the adage of "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist" has finally been embraced by the White House, exposing as utter hypocrisy the entire underlying notions governing the ongoing global war on terror.

For additional information on Camilo Mejia, Democracy Now! is a strong resource. Here are three reports (there are more) from Democracy Now!:

"Army Conscientious Objector Camilo Mejia Witnessed Torture of Iraqi Detainees in May 2003"

"Jailed War Resister Camilo Mejia Speaks Out After Spending Nine Months in Military Prison"

"Jailed War Resister Camilo Mejia on His 9-Month Jail Sentence, Torture in Iraq and Why He Refused to Fight"

You can also refer to Amnesty International's "USA: Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia Castillo is a prisoner of conscience."

Last week, we noted Arundhati Roy's "Introduction" to Stop The Next War Now: Effective Responses To Violence and Terrorism.

For those keeping track, in addition to the excerpt from Arundhati Roy, note the following from June 15th:

We've already noted Alice Walker's foreword and Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans preface. Granted, we're only now up to the introduction, but we will highlight something from each section of this book. It's an important book. In a world where Bullies Without Borders scream "Attack! Bomb! Kill!" to anything and everything, this book reminds you there are alternatives and that we can reclaim our own humanity.It won't come via the Bully Boy who offers no leadership, no hope, only fear.

Dallas compiled a list of contributors to Stop The Next War Now.

On May 4th we noted this:

Code Pink has a book out entitled Stop the Next War Now. For more information, see Code Pink or BuzzFlash. The book contains contributions from a number of women this community has noted and highlighted. Among the contributors: Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Barbara Lee, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, and Arianna Huffington.

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