KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

March on the Pentagon

March on the Pentagon with me on March 17 against the Iraq warPlease join me on Saturday, March 17, in a march on the Pentagon in protest against the war in Iraq. It's long past time to bring our soldiers home and let the Iraqis rule their own nation.

Why the 17th? It's the fortieth anniversary of the historic 1967 march on the Pentagon by protesters against the Vietnam War, and it's the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Here is part of the statement of the organizer of the march, ANSWER Coalition, about why the march is necessary:

The people of the United States want an end to the war in Iraq. The elections in November were a clear repudiation of the Bush administration's war of aggression. The new Congress, however, has no intention of ending the war. Bush and the Pentagon generals are determined to prolong the war. Tens of thousands of more troops will be sent to Iraq. We are building a massive antiwar movement on the national and local level. Only the action of the people will stop the war.

We are returning to the Pentagon because the Iraq war has resulted in more than 655,000 Iraqi deaths (Lancet), on top of more than 1 million killed by sanctions between 1990 [and] 2003. This is genocide.

We are returning to the Pentagon because U.S. military deaths has exceeded 3,000. But that doesn't begin to tell the story. There have been 21,921 wounded as of [November] 30 and another 17,835 evacuated [because of] serious injury or illness as of [September] 30, 2005, when the Pentagon stopped releasing these statistics.

We are returning to the Pentagon because it is U.S. missiles and bombs, including hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs that have been sent to Israel to kill and maim the people of Palestine and Lebanon. These weapons are a war crime. The estimate is that between 2 million and 3 million cluster bomblets were dropped on Lebanon, and more than a million remain unexploded—posing a danger to civilians for years to come. The war in Iraq is one front in the U.S. plan for domination of the Middle East. Colonial occupation is a crime whether it be in Iraq or Palestine or Lebanon.

We are returning to the Pentagon because it maintains 714 military bases in 130 countries to extend the influence of U.S. transnational corporations, oil giants, and banks. The slogan of national security and the war on terror stands exposed as a pretext for a global empire enforced by military might and limitless violence.

While the focus of the recent years has been to use military power and violence against the Arab people, the Pentagon has been targeting peoples and nations all over the world. U.S. troops occupy South Korea. U.S. nuclear weapons target North Korea. Interventionist actions are already taking place in the Philippines and are planned against Cuba, Venezuela, and throughout South and Central Asia.

We are returning to the Pentagon to demand the immediate closure of Guantánamo and all other torture facilities. The grotesque revelations of torture and abuse in Abu Ghraib were the tip of the iceberg. Punishing a few rank-and-file soldiers and counting on the mass media to tire of the story, the Pentagon has tried to conceal the reality that it engages in arbitrary detention and torture of those it identifies as “enemies.”

We are returning to the Pentagon to demand an end to the surveillance and other spy programs conducted against the people of this country by the Pentagon and other agencies.

We are returning to the Pentagon because the military budget of this country is a dagger in the heart of programs that meet people's needs. More than 47 million people in the U.S. are without health care coverage, and one out of every four children is born into extreme poverty. Fifty percent of all bankruptcies in the last year were filed by people who couldn't pay their hospital and doctor bills. Factories are closing and whole communities and neighborhoods are being turned into ghost towns. Skyrocketing tuition is and will continue to make the dream of a college education harder to realize for working-class youth. In the last year, Bush and Congress cut money for education, food aid, and veterans' benefits while the Senate voted almost unanimously to rubber-stamp the new “war” budget of $590 billion (the official budget number of $443 billion conceals at least $150 billion in expenditures).

We are returning to the Pentagon to challenge the system that is addicted to war and global domination. The Iraq war is a criminal endeavor based on lies. It was always about conquering the entire Middle East with its vast repositories of oil. While the Iraq war has been an absolute catastrophe for the entire people of Iraq and for tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers, it must be remembered that many U.S. corporations are benefiting. They are the recipients of new Pentagon orders for weapons, supplies and contracts. The Iraq war costs approximately $279 million each day. That breaks down to more than $11 million every hour of every day of the year. The total cost of the Iraq war will be $2 trillion, according to the Iraq Study Group report.

Unless the people act now, the human and economic costs of the war will only increase. Let's unite and stand together at the Pentagon on March 17.

Watch this video about the march:

Updated 7:26 p.m., 3/17/07: I wasn't able to make it to D.C. for the protest; a freak winter storm iced me in. But here are plenty of great photos of that protest march and others all over the world.

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