Sunday, September 17, 2006

And the war drags on . . .

Join United for Peace & Justice
in Raising the Political Costs of the War
Sept. 5-21:
Camp Democracy
Sept. 19: Stand Up to Bush in NYC -- March and Rally
Sept. 21-28: Declaration of Peace -- A Week of Nonviolent Action, Including Civil Disobedience
Voters For Peace, Elections Clearinghouse and Candidate Bird-Dogging
More to come ...

The above is from United for Peace & Justice and Owen noted it and that the September 19th UN march is on (and it starts at nine a.m.). There are events going on and events that have been going on. John Nichols, noted by Heath, writes of an event in Wisconsin and also notes what was planned for today (Sunday) at Camp Democracy in "Camp Democracy and the Genius of Impeachment" (The Online Beat, The Nation):

More than 5,000 people crowded the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wisconsin, for Fighting Bob Fest, one of the largest gatherings of progressives in the nation. The annual event, which is pulled together by volunteers on a minimal budget, now attracts speakers such as U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, "Democracy Now" host Amy Goodman and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The success of Bob Fest serves as a reminder that there is a yearning in America for the sort of community and discourse that was once seen on the Chautauqua circuit, which in the first years of the twentieth century drew William Jennings Bryan, Jane Addams, W.E.B. DuBois and Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette to cities and towns across the country. In those days, as today, the speaker circuit served as a needed alternative to a media that often failed to provide a full and honest portrait of the issues and ideas that matter most.

There are events going on all over the United States and outside. If there's not something in your area you can create your own. September 21st is International Peace Day. NOW is one of the organizations participating in Camp Democracy and they offer a list of some activities for those unable to travel or who don't have activites in their area (or are unaware of them):

Host a Peace Party in your home. Purchase the DVD and invite friends to watch "Sir, No Sir" or "Iraq for Sale: the War Profiteers"
Add your voice to the blogosphere and share your voice and why you believe peace is a feminist issue.
Create your own blog or comment on your favorite blog.
Hold candlelight vigils in your community. Ask activists to bring flashlights and organize people into the shape of a Peace symbol or the word Peace. If possible, select a location that is visible from above (e.g., office buildings, hillside etc.)
Go door-to-door in your community and talk about the Peace Vote.
Plan visibility events leading up to elections calling for a Vote for Peace.
Activities continue to be added to the
schedule so check back frequently.
Send us stories and photos about your peace events so we can share them on the website.

I know Rebecca's going to a do a post this week on how some of the students who read her site are creating their own events so also look for that. NOW and CODEPINK are joint sponsoring activities at Camp Democracy for September 20th. Why that day? It's Women for Peace Day and the day Troops Home Fast officially ends (though some may continue a fast on their own). It is not, however, any longer the day the Camp Democracy closes -- they've announced they will be open through October 1st. They are free and open to the public. And the information above was noted by Molly, George, Carl, Charlie, Lewis and Dawn. (Due to the late start this evening, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava are going through the e-mails for me -- thank you to them for that -- and we've lumped the highlights by the above together.)

And Brenda notes that wherever anyone is (in the United States), they can take part in this action, from CODEPINK:

Declaration of Peace!
We urge you to sign The Declaration of Peace, a pledge to take action against the war during September 21-28 if a peace plan is not established by that time. Declaration signers will take part in nonviolent action, marches, rallies, demonstrations, interfaith services, candlelight vigils and other creative ways to declare peace at the US Capitol and in cities across the US.
Click here to sign the Declaration and learn more.

Why bother? (No, I can't imagine anyone in this community asking that question either, but visitors do drop by.)

How about because Reuters reports 47 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Saturday? Also on Saturday, AP reports, at least ten people died from various car bombs. Where? In Baghdad where two people were also shot dead. In Baghdad, the 'crackdown' capital. The 'crackdown' that's worked so well, the plan now is to create a waterless moat around the city. Credit to AP for adding "ditch" to their reporting and not simply repeating the more euphamistic "trenches." When you intend to reduce the capital to 28 entry-points, you're not digging trenches, you're creating a waterless moat or ditch.

The government reports today that "One Sailor assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group died September 16 [Saturday] from wounds sustained by enemy action while operating Al Anbar Province." Al Anbar, which military intelligence says is lost. No hearts and minds to be won. AP notes that in Ramadi Saturday seven Iraqi police officers were killed by bombs.

Back to Baghdad, Xinhau notes that 20 corpses were discovered on Sunday. Reuters reports that car bombs in Baghdad wounded two Iraqi soldiers, one civilian and two police officers. Elsewhere in Iraq today, Reuters reports 23 dead and 23 wounded from five bombs in Kirkuk, five dead and twenty-three wounded in Falluja from bombings and mortars, two police officers shot dead in Taji, and two men shot dead in Mosul and one wounded from a roadside bomb.

Check my math, but counting corpses, that's 52 reported dead for Sunday -- and that's just the deaths that got covered. (And AFP's count on Kirkuk is 25 dead which would raise the total reported deaths to 54.)

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the American military fatality count in Iraq stood at 2668. Right now? 2684. Sixteen in seven days. Averages out to more than two a day. What are you doing this week to end the war?

Now something we weren't able to address at The Third Estate Sunday Review, from Tom Hayden's "Withdraw from Iraq Or Carve It Up?" (Huffington Post via Common Dreams):

The big new buzz on Capitol Hill is partitioning Iraq into three ethnic enclaves, the thesis of a new book by Peter Galbraith who participating in carving up the Balkans a decade ago and who is an official consultant to the Kurdish community seeking independence from Iraq.
So far presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden and, surprisingly, Rep. Maxine Waters, leader of the House Out of Iraq Caucus, are publicly seeking support for carving Iraq into a northern Kurdistan, a southern Shiite autonomous zone, and a western Sunni region.
So captivated are our decision-makers with proposals to carve up iraq that this issue of bringing our troops home is all but disappearing from official discourse.
Perhaps it is only an accident, but the partition proposal has diverted attention to the Democratic Party's recent consensus in favor of setting deadlines either for withdrawal [Feingold, Kerry] or beginning to withdraw [Reid, Levin, Clinton]. It has given Republican consgressman Christopher Shays, a Democratic target in the November elections, the opportunity to chair C-SPAN forums on how the West should split up Iraq instead of whether he really favors withdrawing American troops.
Galbraith, Les Gelb and other partitionists have a substantive case in addition to the political subtext. Galbraith claims, with considerable evidence, that Iraq is already divided by civil war, and that it cannot be put back together. He is less clear as to whether this results from a deliberate neo-conservative strategy or merely the accidental outcome of a failed occupation.
The partition discussion downplays the fact that it is a menu for continued US war against the Iraq insurgency which spans Sunni nationalists and many Shiite Arabs, like the followers of Moktada al-Sadr, among the most popular leaders in Iraq today. As in Northern Ireland, the occupiers are saying they cannot leave because the natives will kill each other, the perfect formula for permanent American deaths.

Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki keeps making calls for everyone to come together but he's not talking about the move towards a federation (as opposed to a nation), he's just speaking of the violence. The puppet doesn't speak for the people. How much the parliament does is open to debate. But where in this illegal war, where in the laughable talk of 'democracy,' was it promoted that the US would decide the fate of the country after Saddam Hussein was deposed?

The Bully Boy does his "safer but not safe" and presents the argument that is basically, "Woops! US got into Iraq for the wrong reason but has to stay there now for the same reason -- after the mess I created" and arguments for splitting up the country are presented as an 'alternative'? (As Greg Palast documents in Armed Madhouse, that was part of the original plan.)

Democracy means self-determination, not a road imposed from outside. Read Hayden's article and the points he's making about how various ethnic groups would have to relocate if the country splintered. Are those people's voices being heard? Whose voice is getting heard?

(And as Robert Fisk has noted, the problems in Iraq, long term, were created years ago, not by self-determination on the part of Iraqis but by outsiders drawing up the country. Nothing's changed.)

So get active this week. Make yourself heard. Take part in planned activites or create your own.

And activites are not just going on in the United States. Pru notes "Mobilising to make Manchester demo massive" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Activists around Britain hit the streets last weekend to make sure there is the biggest possible turnout for the Time To Go demonstration in Manchester on 23 September.
In many places, people dressed up as Tony Blair and organised street theatre. In Manchester, a Stop the War activist dressed up as the Grim Reaper with a giant Blair mask and handed out leaflets.
Many areas are holding public meetings to build for the demo. Islington in north London had their biggest Stop the War meeting in years. Nearly 100 people came to hear Jeremy Corbyn MP, Moazzam Begg and others.
An activist said, "There was a very young, very mixed audience. At least two thirds of those at the meeting were new to the movement."
In Stockport, near Manchester, Alex Naysmith helped to organise their first Stop the War public meeting last week. He told Socialist Worker that around 45 people came to the meeting. "It was really good to see new people coming along and getting involved in organising for Manchester," he said.
Dave Prentis, the general secretary of the Unison union, has mailed all branch secretaries to tell them that Unison is supporting the demo and to ask them to inform members and encourage them to attend the demo.
The Stop the War Coalition has also organised a Time For Change alternative conference on Sunday 24 September to bring activists together after the protest.
It will include speakers such as George Galloway MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Lindsey German, Moazzam Begg, Walter Wolfgang, Tariq Ali and many others. It is at Roscoe Building, University of Manchester, Brunswick Street from 10am to 6pm.
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