Sadly, the mass mobilization of many millions of peace activists across the nation and around the world did not stop Bush & Co. We all are keenly aware of the tragic consequences of our collective failure to prevent the Iraq War. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions more have had their lives torn asunder, hundreds of billions have been squandered, and today we are less—not more—secure than we were four years ago. Many will say this is all water under the bridge and there’s nothing we can do about it at this late date.
In point of fact, however, we now stand at a new decision point, and this time, with sufficient participation, our prospects for success are much greater.
Consider the present situation. The administration has ignored the will of the voters and all expert advice to lower troop levels, instead opting for escalation, sending in an additional 21,500 to ratchet up the combat. They are also rattling sabers anew, threatening both Iran and Syria.
On the other hand, the American people, who in 2003 were still traumatized by the crimes of 9-11, are not buying Bush’s fear mongering this time. The polls are showing solid majority opposition to the current Iraq policy and overwhelming opposition to an escalation or a widening of the war.
What we need to do now is translate the will of the people into the actions of our government. This means making it clear to those who are supposed to represent us in Congress that we expect them to act to:
- Halt the escalation in its tracks by refusing to fund an increase in troop levels.
- Put the administration on notice that bellicose behavior and a wider war will not be supported.
- Vote to require the administration to begin bringing the troops home NOW.
- Support a political settlement of the Iraq conflict that is inclusive of all parties; requires the U.S. to abandon all imperial ambitions, economic concessions, bases, etc. in Iraq; and provides for U.S. financial reparations to Iraq and U.S. funding of international peacekeepers to help facilitate the transition.
Ending the Iraq War and preventing a wider war will take a significant commitment of time and energy from each of us. We urge you to do as many of the following as you can:
- Contact your U.S. Senators and Rep. today.
Senator Claire McCaskill: 202-224-6154
Senator Kit Bond: 442-8151 or 202-224-5721
Rep. Kenny Hulshof: 449-5111 or 202-225-2956
If you have a different U.S. Rep. than Kenny Hulshof, you can find the contact info for your Rep at www.mosafeenergy.org/officials. We suggest calling, as calls are harder to ignore than e-mails, or faxes. If you would like to write instead, you can find contact info at the link above. We also suggest sending any letters you pen as open letters-to-the-editor.
- Come to the January 27 Iraq War Town Hall Meeting.
Show your concern. Please attend this community gathering and speak-out. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, Commission Chambers, Boone Gov’t Ctr. 8th & Ash, Downtown Columbia (Free parking in 8th & Walnut garage.)
This important gathering will include short presentations on the situation in Iraq, war crimes, and U.S. role in the world followed by an open speak-out session. All perspectives are welcome. We’re interested in dialogue and are looking for constructive ideas for resolving the current crisis.
- Make your voice heard for peace. Speak out wherever you can: at work, at school, at your house of worship, in letters to the editor, by calling in to talk radio shows, in conversations with friends, neighbors, family, etc.
- Become more visible in your support of peace. Attend the Rush Hour Peace Demo or any of the other peace vigils as often as you can (see list below). Plan to attend the March 18 End the Iraq War demonstration (details forthcoming). Display a peace yard sign; wear peace pins; put peace stickers on your car; generally get your candle out from under the bushel. Also, please join in weekly peace demonstrations.