GOOD NEWS: The good news is that significant numbers of active duty U.S. military personnel are coming out publicly against the war. As reported by Marc Cooper on The Nation website, "For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust movement of active-duty US military personnel has publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to withdraw American troops from Iraq." He goes on to report that the Appeal for Redress, calling on Congress to end the Iraq War and bring the troops home has "already been signed by nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, including dozens of officers--most of whom are on active duty." The full article is located here. Also, see www.appealforredress.org for details.
ON THE RADIO TUESDAY: I'm also pleased to announce that I will be interviewing one of the organizers of the Appeal for Redress this coming Tuesday, Dec. 19 from 6-7 p.m. on 89.5 KOPN. This individual, who has ties to mid-Missouri, will remain anonymous for the moment. He will be sharing with Evening Edition listeners his experiences in the military, what prompted him to speak out against the war, and where Appeal organizers hope to go with this. If you are in the local area, please tune in and, if you have questions or comments, call in. If you are out of the local area, you can catch the show after the fact by downloading it from www.kopn.org. Just go to podcasts or click here, then click on Evening Edition, and choose the December 19th show. It should be up by Wednesday.
ESCALATING INSANITY: OK, so the bad news, if you haven't heard it yet, is that the Bush administration is actively considering a "Surge" strategy for Iraq, trying to salvage the disaster on the ground by rapidly sending in 20,000-50,000 additional GIs. I'm sharing a link for an article from the New York Times outlining what's apparently going on. Click here to get to the NYT article. It's an obvious prescription for growing carnage and we in the peace movement must react rapidly and vigorously.
The Bush White House has indicated that they will hold off on announcing their change in strategy until after Xmas. This, therefore, is the time that we need to be out making our demands for bringing the troops home and our insistence that their be no escalation visible and heard by our elected officials and fellow citizens.
For those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam War, this insane gambit has an eerily deja vu-like feel. Tom Paxton spelled it out in his song "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation":
Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
"Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn't really war,
We're sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet Nam from Viet Namese."
Full lyrics here.
With, as reported on "Democracy Now!" yesterday, public opinion polls showing only 12% of Americans favoring sending more troops, it is hard to see how they think they will get away with this, but we must do what we can to prevent it, and, if they try, we must do all we can to mobilize broad opposition.
Some might say "Bush is only digging his own grave." The problem is he might be digging his "political grave," but in the process, he is sending many hundreds more GIs and tens of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths. As of today, I should note, the U.S. GI death toll in Iraq has climbed to 2,946, with 57 of these having died in the first 16 days of December, an average of more than 3.5 per day. Meanwhile, the number of GIs wounded in combat has surpassed 22,200, and total non-mortal casualties total now exceeds 47,000. See icasualties.org/oif for details.
Given the horrific price that all in Iraq are paying, we owe it to the Iraqi people as well as to the U.S. troops in harm's way to make our voices heard. Please don't let the holidays distract you from expressing your opposition to the continuation of this war.