OUR TROOPS AND IRAQIS ARE STILL DYING

An Open Letter to the Peace/Anti-War Movement from
 Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace
 After six years of war and the historic election of a new President, we as veterans, military and Gold Star families felt an urgent need to reach out to the larger peace/anti-war movements to make our position on Iraq clear during this time of political and economic uncertainty.  Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans For Peace continue to stand together in our demand to Bring the Troops Home Now!  We ask all those who have stood with us in the past to stay faithful to the cause.
 President Obama has announced a plan to gradually reduce troop levels in Iraq.  Many in the peace/anti-war movements are breathing a sigh of relief, and suggesting that it is time for us to scale back our efforts to bring an end to the occupation of Iraq.  But for our troops on the ground, their families and the Iraqi people, the nightmare continues.  They need all of us to stay in the struggle.  IVAW, MFSO and VFP have been long united in our call for an immediate and complete end to the occupation of Iraq and will not shift our stance under any circumstances.
President Obama’s plan will result in more casualties and suffering for U.S. troops, their families and Iraqis.  To the American public facing hard times here at home, two and a half more years of occupation may not sound like that long — but for our troops and their families it means two and a half more years of fear, pain, and separation in a war and occupation based on lies.  Hundreds of the troops deployed in the next two and a half years will not come home alive.  Many more will return forever scarred by deep wounds to their bodies, minds, and spirits.  Well over a million Iraqis have died as a result of this war — many more will be killed as the occupation continues. 
 We cannot afford the cost of empire.  Today we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis most of us have seen in our lifetimes.  Yet our government continues to allow the occupation to drain $10 billion a month from our nation’s coffers.  Meanwhile, veterans and military families struggle to put food on the table and get decent housing and adequate medical care.  Women and men who risked their lives for this country are often forced to fight tooth and nail to get health care from an underfunded and overburdened Veterans Administration.  Hundreds of thousands of veterans are homeless.  
 The occupation of Iraq is the source of the violence not the solution.  Living under occupation the people of Iraq are held back from taking control of their own lives to determine their destiny.  The continued U.S. military presence there is a cause of the violence they face, not its solution.  U.S. continued interference contradicts the principles of democracy and self-determination our country was founded on.
IVAW, MFSO and VFP will continue to keep pressure on Congress and the President to bring all our troops home from Iraq NOW, ensure that veterans receive the care they need and deserve, and that the U.S. provides resources to rebuild a country we destroyed. But we cannot do that alone. We need your help to reach out to the vast majority of the American people who are completely isolated from the realities of this war.  Please don’t abandon this struggle or shift your position before the occupation is over and our veterans and the Iraqi people are on the path to healing.

3 thoughts on “OUR TROOPS AND IRAQIS ARE STILL DYING”

  1. I support this letter. As the saying goes, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

    But I do think we have to shift gears. While troops in Iraq are ‘drawing down,’ Obama is unfortunately sending a good number more into Afghanistan.

    Not that putting al-Quaeda out of business isn’t a worthy and just cause, not only for us, but in the eyes of many countries where they have engaged in criminal slaughter.

    But I don’t think that can be done with war, escalation of invasion, bombing and occupation. These serve to make matters worse. Obama would do better to reject these in favor of regional cooperation and collective security, patient politics and assistance, a good number of spies, and, in the end, a SWAT team. Then take these people to an international court of justice, along with some of our own war criminals from the previous administration.

    Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of Empire, including the governments of such. It can destroy everything decent Obama has in mind for the Recovery. Part of our ‘shifting gears’ will be doing some education on that part of the world, which in many ways is quite different from Iraq

    Which leads to still another reason to shift gears. The economic crisis is now number one in the ranks of people’s concerns, and new mass mobilizations are likely to develop in that direction. As an antiwar movement, our task withing this broader effort will be to point to militarism as a burden we can’t afford, as well as the injustice of many of its adventures. We have to demand that the wars come to an end, and the Pentagon budget cut back, in order to fund the recovery in a productive way. ‘Guns and Butter’ is not a worthwhile agenda.

    Obama has taken some positive steps and said some important things, such as getting rid of nuclear weapons and reversing the Bush policy in Iraq. But there’s a long way to go, and we very much need an independent peace movement, aligned with the economic justice movement, to keep the pressure on.

  2. I CAN KEEP COMING ONCE A WEEK LIKE BEFORE

    I support the letter in regards to Iraq and Afghanistan at least and in supporting a switch from arms to domestic priorities like health care for all. I also like getting rid of nuclear weapons.

    My feeling is that we should go on with the rhythm of the vigil. Once a week as before. That is I am willing to go on indefinitely until finances and body are too drained. An hour per week on Saturday with commute and some ‘class preparation’ is something I can manage. I am managing to at least to have posted the ‘Join Us’ bill board by the clock tower’s 1pm chime.
    Assuming that it is not too off putting — Is my weekly presence challenging in some way that I don’t realize? — I will continue.
    I think that once a week at a standard time is far less confusing than twice a month or was that once every two weeks? Or did we say once a month? Or was that four times a month? Hey some months have five Saturdays! We can schedule it out and orchestrate it differently but I think that takes enough resources to have frequent periodic meetings.
    (Perhaps we should shut down the vigil for a special meeting or at least huddle once on these topics once good weather comes.)

    I think we should retool by reconsidering/restructuring the signs. That’s about all we can do unless we repair to a vigil location where more discussion with the public is possible. The signs cannot carry too many words. Five may be a limit. But graphics can also communicate. So can the pattern and redundancy of the signs.
    Within these limited means we should incorporate
    thoughts and nuances
    like those expressed above by Carl Davidson.

    Again, I think we should go ahead with the vigil.
    Whether or not we feel optimistic,
    complacent, or pessimistic
    vigils are one the of things that
    eventually get accepted and make progress.
    Comment: People may not be finding this area to post because it follows a much more prominent post about a timely conversation on Bill Moyers Journal.

    I may augment this post
    with further comments
    to correct errors or glaring
    omissions or to
    respond to the comments of others.

    Peter Deutsch

  3. * See very recent PDA post
    http://www.pdamerica.org/articles/news/2009-04-07-12-13-01-news.php
    on Democrats and War. Many good quotes support continuing our vigil and more. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but when did that stop one from trying? Unless there was an easier way to accomplish the same thing. I don’t see that happening. At least we can remember that we tried to do the right thing.

    * The first sentence in my post above would have read better if it were something like: “I support the letter in regards to Iraq and Afghanistan and in advocating a switch from arms to domestic priorities like health care for all.”

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