Thursday, October 27, 2005

Indymedia focus on Iraq

All summer, Congressmen David Price and Brad Miller said we were wrong to invade Iraq and acknowledged that our continuing presence there was fueling the insurgent forces; but they drew up short of demanding that the United States set a timetable for getting out.
But Tuesday evening, as we went to press, the two Triangle Democrats were about to take the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to demand just that: a timetable. From President Bush.
Rep. Bob Etheridge, the Triangle's third Democratic congressmen, did not join the resolution, continuing his record of never having criticized Bush's Iraq policies.
The new Price-Miller Resolution, which had not yet received a number, would call on Bush to submit a plan--within 30 days of the resolution's approval by both houses of Congress--that would spell out how he intends to withdraw our forces, and include both a start date for the pullout and a target date ("the expected timetable") for finishing it.
"We demand," Miller said, in remarks prepared for delivery, "that the president state clearly the remaining mission of our military in Iraq, and to state the time period that the president believes will be required to accomplish that mission."

The above, sent in by Durham Gal, is from Bob Geary's "Price, Miller call for Iraq exit plan" (The Raleigh-Durham Independent). How do two reps find courage? By the turning tide and by pressure upon them from their constituents. As amazing as the details in the story are, more can happen but only if people make their voices heard. Further down, you'll hear another story of people demanding accountability from a representative.

Changes are happening. War hawks who have fallen out with the Bully Boy can put down the movement but it exists and it gets stronger every day. Each time you take action, any action, and tell someone about it, you encourage them. The media hasn't led the peace movement, they haven't even covered it for the most part. The strength has come, as it does with most movements, from the people themselves.

You make the change. You impact the world. For someone to dismiss what happened in DC (or any rallies or events going on outside of DC on Sept. 24th) reveals only their ignorance. They don't want grass roots coming together and sharing. They want foot soliders marching behind them. So they insult the rallies and say that nothing was accomplished.

If by nothing they mean that they weren't celebrated and glorified, that's quite correct. Events are about a group and not an individual. In DC, I saw and heard people who had never been to a rally before show up to register their opposition to the war. That's not "nothing." People gathered together in a very real symbol of direct democracy by the people. Those who insult such actions appear bothered that they couldn't insist we go by their play books.

In DC, Tracey and I interviewed Rhonda and Tammi whom I'd met at a rally in March. In March they had to sneak out to attend. In September, they were there with three of their parents. That's something. That's pretty amazing. And to insult that is to reveal your own narrow mindness and your own inability to appreciate anything that doesn't glorify you.

People taking part were taking part because it meant something to them, standing up to the Bully Boy's war meant something to them. Those people didn't go back home and forget they were there. They carried the news back to their own circles and communities and that's how seeds are spread.

Something else that carries the seeds is independent media. On Thursdays, we make a point to spotlight indymedia in two entries. To knock the rallies is the same as knocking indymedia. (Oh wait, one person did that. When he said he wasn't interested in the people who agreed with him, when he said that via indymedia, he was insulting indymedia.) Indymedia matters, you matter, people coming together to make a group statement matter.

Cindy e-mails to note No to Mass Murder's "Code Pink Protests 2000 Too Many" (LA Indymedia and note there are a number of photos with this piece):

So, we showed up once again, we protested, the cars roaring by honked their horns in support, and everyone agreed what a horror it is and was. Now what? How do we get the bombs to actually stop and the troops to come home? So far, no one has come up with an answer, but we are keeping up a presence to prevent the illusion of support from being falsely put forward, to prevent our own isolation, and to preserve our right to resist this outrage until such time as a viable strategy can be found.

Billie e-mails to note mosey's "Dallas anti-war Sit in, two arrested in front of Senators office" (Dallas Indymedia) with photos by asad:

"The plan was to speak to the senator, our elected official, the woman that represents us. They ought to give us an opportunity to make our case." said Reverend Peter Johnson after being turned away from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office by a cadre of police Tuesday afternoon in Dallas.
The group, led by Civil Rights leaders Reverend L. Charles Stovall and Reverend Peter Johnson, wanted to discuss with Senator Hutchison her opinion on the two-thousandth dead U.S soldier since the war in Iraq began. They were denied access on the grounds that the building in which the senators office is located is private property closed to the public.".
"We should be allowed free unfettered access to speak with our elected representative. If the senators office is located on private property than she should relocate to somewhere public." remarked one aggravated citizen.

Earlier in the day Mary Stephanhagen attempted to gain access to the building to speak one on one with Senator Hutchison but was arrested on the front steps. She was cuffed and quickly taken to an alley behind the building next door where the cops had hidden far from the eyes of corporate media two empty police vans anticipating a high arrest count.
Walt Harrison, a concerned citizen and anti-war activist, refused to leave the property and stood his ground. He was arrested after several warnings and led in hand-cuffs to the cheers of support and applause from his comrades. The group states that they will return and protest peacefully day after day until the true voices of Texas peoples are heard.
Reverend Stovall exclaimed with charisma and power to the crowd "In the spirit of sister Rosa Parks, who passed away earlier this week, we will be back -- tomorrow and the day after that -- as long as it takes until we get what we want."

Cliff e-mails to note chinatown's "Independent Journalist Dahr Jamail Visits UCSC" (Santa Cruz Indymedia):

On Wednesday, October 29th, independent and unembedded journalist Dahr Jamial provided fresh outlooks on the War in Iraq that are either ignored or hidden by most mainstream American media outlets. As a special correspondant for Flashpoints, the BBC, and Democracy Now!, Jamail has gained the attention of those willing to listen about true accounts experienced during thecurrent War in Iraq.

Starting with the testimony of an Iraqi P.O.W., Jamail displayed the appalling modes of the treatment of Iraqi P.O.W.s by American soldiers through visceral descriptions and tortured accounts. According to Jamail's report, the interviewed Iraqi P.O.W. agrees that Saddam Hussein indeed was a brutal dictator who tortured his citizens, but he pleads, "why did theyput Saddam to trial , but not the Americans totrial?". The P.O.W. goes on to say, " I wish I was killed by him, rather than being alive with the Americans. After this journey of torture and suffering, what else can I think?". Jamail futher points out that unlike Hussein,the Americans desecrated Islam and its holy text, the Koran and Americans aren't governed by a dictator.
According to Jamail, sanctions on medical supplies entering Iraq over the past years have only made the situation worse as they are short of supplies and abundant in patients. Yet, an Iraqi doctor said that the current medical reaction in Iraq, "is worse now than before the sanctions". What's more, the oil-abundant nation now has 5 mile lines of citizens waiting for gas. Power and water are also in short supply. According to a testimony be a leading Iraqi theorist, the 25 year rebuilding and reconciliation process in the now ravaged Iraq can only begin when American soldiers evacuate the country.

Micah e-mails to note Sarah Ferguson's "'Bush Lied, 2,000 Died': New Yorkers take to the streets in protest of the war in Iraq" (Village Voice):

That grim milestone brought out an eclectic mix of demonstrators, here and across the nation. In Manhattan, Grandmothers Against the War jostled alongside young anarchists with bandanas masking their faces, Green Party stalwarts, veterans, students, office workers bearing flowers, and a group carrying a dozen large coffins draped in American flags.
They were crammed up against about a half dozen counterprotesters, who came brandishing a remarkable assortment of their own American, British, Israeli, and Iraqi flags. One guy among them identified himself as Tom D. and wore a Union Jack tied around his face. "I recognized a few of my college professors in the crowd, and I don't want this to bias them against me," said Tom, who said he'd turned out to "stand in solidarity" with the troops.
"How many more?!" the antiwar demonstrators demanded. "Bush we adore!" the counterprotesters shouted back.
And yet just about everyone piped down for a moment of silence led by the members of
Veterans for Peace, who came bearing a large banner printed with the image of empty boots and rifles planted barrel down into the ground, in honor of the fallen soldiers.
Behind them, the digital screen on top of the recruiting station flashed jazzy images of young recruits training in fighter planes and on submarines with the pitch line "Prepare for life."
"It's a bogus mission. There is no ability to win this war," said Vietnam vet David Cline. "It's only a matter of time and bodies before the U.S. does what is inevitable, pull out."
Cline also took issue with
supporters of the war’s efforts to minimize the casualties in Iraq relative to past wars. "I could look at the 2,000 and say it's nothing compared to the 58,000 who died in Vietnam. But I think the people are out here now because they learned something from Vietnam and now they see that same slow slide into hell. The 2,000 matters today because we know if we don’t do something, it will be 58,000."
Other demonstrators sought to highlight the tremendous civilian death toll, estimated by the British group
Iraq Body Count at between 26,690 and 30,051. In Union Square, a trio of women sporting black top hats spent two hours reciting the names, ages, and manner of death for some 1,000 Iraqis, pausing for a moment of silence after each name, followed by the chiming of a Tibetan bell. Among the names was that of a three-month-old killed by a U.S. rocket.
And outside the offices of Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, about 70 people gathered for an equally somber reading of the names of the U.S. fallen.
"We want to put pressure on both senators to come up with some kind of exit strategy and also demand that they hold the Bush administration accountable for misleading the country to war," said Gary Weingarten, the owner of the Lower East Side bar Verlaine, who recently helped found a group called to raise awareness about the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence to justify the war.
"It's obvious Clinton is going to run for president in 2008, and she's been supporting the war because of that," Weingarten added. "Does that mean she approves of these kind of tactics--of lying to your country to go to war?"
"Their only criticism is about the management of the war," complained Chris Tompkins, a 40-year-old attorney from Queens. He cited Schumer's appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday, when he told Tim Russert he
did not regret voting for the U.S. invasion, even knowing now that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction.
"Here's a Democrat who is supposedly as left as the Democrats can get, and he supports the administration's policy. It's a disgrace!" Tompkins said.

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