Saturday, October 27, 2007
Hiawatha & Lake Street
Info: http://www.antiwarcommittee.org or 612-379-3899.
(Or, for $75, you can take a bus at 4 am from Joan of Arc, march in Chicago at 1 pm, and be back at St Joan's around midnight. Call 612-823-8205 for details. For general Chicago info, go to http://www.oct27chicago.org)
Nancy Pelosi has it all wrong in telling peace activists what to do. Pelosi demonstrates typical well-heeled chauvinism and arrogance in telling peace activists to go after Republicans and leave Democrats alone.
Nancy Pelosi would never tell a lobbyist with a wad of cash from the health care or casino industries to take a hike down to see the Republicans… nor would she tell a lobbyist from the military-financial-industrial complex, “Stop bothering Democrats, go see the Republicans.” Nor would Nancy Pelosi tell any of the wealthy lobbyists from the Israeli lobby with a satchel full of cash, “Stop bothering me, go see a Republican.” One only has to look at campaign contributions to know that Nancy Pelosi has never told any lobbyists for big-business--- like she has told peace activists--- to, “Stop bothering Democrats, go see the Republicans.”
Pelosi doesn’t understand democracy; she works for us, not the other way around--- or, at least this is what they teach everyone in school.
The peace movement reflects the sentiments of the over-whelming majority of the American people and even greater majorities in other parts of the world.
I wonder what part of, “Get out of Iraq Now!” Pelosi and the Democrats do not understand… I have yet to hear anyone suggest, “We want the killing and bloodshed to continue so you can use this issue to get re-elected or elect a Democratic President.” What is it about “Out Now!” Pelosi and the Democrats do not understand?
Maybe we can cut Brian Melendez--- chair of the Minnesota DFL, and Congressman Collin Peterson a little slack in being unable to comprehend the message contained in “Out Now!” considering their handicap of being challenged in their ability to use a dictionary since they have no concept of the meaning of the word “shame;” but, the rest of these pathetic parasites who live off the handouts from big-business and the spoils of war understand what the American people mean when they say, “Out Now!” They are simply ignoring the will of their constituents in favor of supporting the policies of U.S. imperialism--- lock, stock, and barrel; they take their orders from the Wall Street coupon clippers who are raking in the profits from this war.
Pelosi and the Democratic Party are playing the American people for fools. First she says, “Give us a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and we will end the war." Anti-war Americans went to the polls in droves and gave her the majority she asked for in both the House and Senate; the war hasn’t ended.
Now Pelosi says, “Give us a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and the Presidency and we will end the war in Iraq.”
Common sense tells us if the three top contenders are unwilling to commit to ending the war, voting for Clinton, Obama, or Edwards is not going to end this war. In fact, all three candidates take us for a Nation of fools in the way they play with words… all three talk about “America’s continued commitment towards ‘supporting our troops’ and ‘our mission’ in Iraq…" Ironically, rather than telling these three to, “Take a hike,” many people in the peace movement are trying to figure out which one of these three pathetic candidates to endorse.
As I traveled all over Michigan I saw yard signs popping up like dandelions in the spring after a warm rain all over the place, “Support the troops; End the war.”
Other than getting these troops out of Iraq as the yard signs in Michigan demand, we have no responsibility to support what these troops are doing in Iraq in any way, shape, or fashion--- they are killing and maiming people, and destroying the country as they incite ethnic and religious strife as a calculated tactic of “securing the population;” in fact, many of these troops should probably stand trial for war crimes and be placed in the docket of the World Court right beside Bush and Cheney.
Check out the article by Conn Hallinan below: “The Casualties of Iraq.”
We have no “mission” in Iraq; the oil companies do.
Alan Greenspan, a big-time booster of this war, has made it very clear--- this war is about oil and regional domination; none of the three top Democratic contenders for president are willing to acknowledge this truth.
In fact, reading Barack Obama’s writing in “Foreign Affairs Magazine” published by the big-business outfit--- Council on Foreign Relations--- his outlook isn’t much different from any other imperialists out to create a “New American Century.”
The fact is, if the Democrats were to win every single seat in the House and Senate and capture the Presidency this war will not end--- not without the American people demonstrating their outrage against this war in ways that make this country unmanageable; let’s get real here… voting for these representatives of Wall Street is not going to bring an end to this war in Iraq. Maybe if we elected a peoples’ contingent to Congress consisting of Communists and Socialists of the variety of the old Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party like U.S. Senator Elmer Benson, Congressperson John Bernard along with a good healthy group of real liberal and progressive Democrats like U.S. Senator George McGovern we would have a fighting chance to end this dirty war… but, even they would have a difficult time without support from the people militantly demonstrating their outrage… for crying out loud… we know what it took just to win union recognition in the mass production industries and to win things like Social Security… even the Roosevelt Administration couldn’t get universal health care included as part of the Social Security package because of the strength of the business class… the very same class, only stronger today, that is responsible for the war in Iraq. During the Vietnam War we saw what it took just to get the attention of the politicians and even with people taking their outrage into the streets it still took the heroic Vietnamese people, guns in hand, to drive U.S. troops out of their country.
The Democrats are a Party of big-business, just like the Republicans. The Democrats are part of this two party trap and charade that passes itself off as the worlds’ greatest democracy; the Democrats and Republicans are simply the tools big-business uses to maintain state-monopoly control to perpetuate this rotten capitalist system which has advanced to its most barbaric, cannibalistic, and anti-democratic stage in order to keep the profits rolling in and the Wall Street coupon clippers smiling and happy: imperialism. Imperialism is about greed, exploitation, and war… with the U.S. big-business and financial empire constantly scoping out the globe for greater profits to see what country will be raped next of its natural resources using the cheapest labor attainable as they create an international pool of cheap labor for manufacturing.
One only has to read the entire speeches, not just listen to thirty second sound bites at election time, to understand that the Democratic Party is in step and sync--- and beholden to, the aims of U.S. imperialism. One example is the speech made by the former leader of the United States Senate, Tom Daschle, who was much more “liberal” than Harry Reid and 95% of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate at present.
Daschle’s speech before the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. on August 9, 2001 was entitled, “A New Century of American Leadership; meeting our global obligations.” After reading this speech no one should find it surprising that this war will not be ending any time soon if left to Pelosi and Harry Reid and the majority of the Congresspersons and Senators, most of whom are much more reactionary and subservient to big-business and financial interests and the military merchants of death and destruction than Tom Daschle will ever be… and, much more committed to big-business interests than Daschle ever was or will be… one only need examine where campaign contributions are coming from.
In labor, neither John Sweeney not Jimmy Hoffa are as liberal in their thinking as Tom Daschle… so, even campaign funds from the AFL-CIO and Change to Win does not assure a truly liberal or progressive President, House, or Senate. Sweeney and Hoffa are up to their eye-balls in league with imperialism… like Pelosi, they pay lip service on issues of peace and social justice--- including the issue of single-payer, universal health care.
If Sweeney and Hoffa truly wanted this war to end they would shut this country down until both houses of congress cut off funding for this dirty war. Continuing to spend another dime on this war makes about as much sense as me walking out my door down to the shore of Lake of the Woods and tossing my wallet out into the murky, mercury contaminated water the result of draining the Big Bog to mine peat and iron ore… at least me doing that wouldn’t be killing people.
The time has come for the peace movement and peace activists to get serious.
There are only two ways this war is going to end: when the U.S. gets run out of Iraq; or, when the American people take decisive action to halt business as usual. Chances are, given the bestial nature of this government and this rotten capitalist system, it is going to take both.
Workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant circulated a letter: Workers for Peace. This is a good initiative to build on. Read it below.
The time has come for working people to flex their muscle to put an end to this dirty oil war.
Pelosi should be told: Cut off funding for this dirty war in Iraq by Election Day or we aren’t voting and we aren’t going to work--- simple as that.
Working people pay and suffer the brunt of this war. We are paying for it every time we fill our gas tanks; working people die while plants close and workers lose their jobs as millions can no longer get the health care. Why is it so hard to understand that every bomb dropped and every bullet fired in Iraq destroys us in the process? Every dime spent on this senseless war should be going into things like health care and keeping people working.
The time has come for working people to step to the front of this anti-war movement and say:
The time has come for working people to initiate rank and file organizations and activities based upon the initiatives of “Workers for Peace;” building upon this effort will enable Pelosi and Harry Reid to get the message: Cut off funding for the war by Election Day--- or, we are not going to the polls.
This is an ultimatum peace activists should not be shy about delivering to Democrats or Republicans… after all, they are supposed to be working for us… and WE want an end to this war NOW!
Everyone knows the two party system is a fiasco, a farce and a hoax… as far as working people are concerned it is a complete failure like the capitalist system which has spawned it…. the time has come to end the charade... instead of wasting our time talking about if we should support Clinton, Obama, or Edwards, we should be exploring alternatives to the two party trap set for us by big-business.
There is no way I am going to waste my time, and my gas, going to the polls to vote for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards or any of these other dumb donkeys like Nancy Pelosi or Collin Peterson who are so arrogant they think they have the right to tell us who we should lobby and where we should demonstrate against this dirty war… I will be spending my time and energy talking to people about how we are going to have to act in a decisive way to force an end to this dirty imperialist war.
Let October 27 be the beginning of no more business as usual in this country until this war is ended.
A note I received from Charley Underwood, a peace activist and member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee...
From: Charles Underwood [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 4:34 PM
To: Alan Maki
Subject: Re: [thoughts from podunk] All Out on October 27 to End the Iraq War... for peace and social justice...
I don’t know if you still get my peace calendar somehow; Just in case, I will copy the 10/27 listing below.
If you aren’t on my peace calendar list now, but would like to be, just let me know.
Peace, Charley Underwood
Saturday, 10/27, noon, demonstration: Bring the Troops Home Now!, Hiawatha & Lake St, Mpls. http://www.antiwarcommittee.org or 612-379-3899. (Or, for $75, you can take a bus at 4 am from Joan of Arc, march in Chicago at 1 pm, and be back at St Joan's around midnight. Call 612-823-8205 for details. For general Chicago info, go to http://www.oct27chicago.org)
Statement of “Workers for Peace”
Workers for Peace
(We invite everyone in our world to sign this call for a conversation about peace. It doesn‘t matter if you are a housewife, farmer, teacher, office worker, student, union or nonunion or unemployed. We are all Sisters and Brothers here and we must rely on each other to get the Solidarity World we deserve. To add your name, send an email to: email@example.com).
In our workplaces and poverty lines across our world, plutocrats and corporate royalty and their union lackeys collude to persuade us to see other workers as competitors and enemies.
We are pushed by powerful labor sellouts to believe that it is now the business of trade unionism to put our brothers and sisters out of work.
We see how this dog eat dog attitude towards all workers - with whom we have everything in common - is on the same evil, competitive continuum as war itself.
We see that competition against other workers diminishes those workers in our eyes.
We see that in war, soldiers - the production workers of war - lose not only their jobs but also their lives while the rich profit.
We say that war is the eventual endgame outcome of worker against worker, dog eat dog competition which workers lose so the rich can be richer.
War is the ultimate, evil competition.
We call on workers everywhere to stop the competition between us and to fight for a world based in solidarity.
Everyone can at least talk and we ask that our talk include what we can all do to make the world a safe and happier place. We call on workers to simply talk about the traditional direct action tools of the labor movement.
Can we call for and have international conversations about redeveloping our traditional weapons - slowdowns, sitdowns, and strikes - to bring down those who kill us; and, to equalize wages and working conditions at the highest possible levels throughout the world?
If we must fight, let us fight against those who constantly divide us and play us against each other for their own profit even to the point of forcing us to kill each other.
If we must fight a war let it be a war against selfishness and poverty.
Let us fight to unite all workers against the destructive, dictatorial greed of corporate moguls. Let us fight to see that those who have the least gain equality in wages, health care and education and the right to a happy life.
A simple conversation started amongst workers who believe in the working class values of solidarity, equality and democracy can change the world.
Let our war begin with the peaceful exchange of words and ideas.
- Signed, Workers for Peace
Victor Reuther, UAW Pioneer, Washington, DC * Jim Emerick, Recon Infantry 1949-1957, Korean Combat Vet, 1950-51, 2nd Infantry; 1952-53, 40th Infantry, (CIB, 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Unit Citations - mailed medals back to Dept. of Defense during ‘Nam as protest of that war) Veterans for Peace (VFP), Former AFSCME Bargaining Chair, I.W.W. * Dennis Serdel, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Div., Vietnam 1967-68 , VFP, UAW Local 5960 Pontiac, MI * Gregg Shotwell, Editor Live Bait & Ammo, UAW Local 2151, Grand Rapids, MI * David Yettaw, Vietnam Vet, Strike Leader, Fmr. Pres (now retired) UAW Local 599 , Flint, MI * John Kiel, Pipefitter, UAW Local 1111, Indianapolis * John Martinez, Editor, UAW Local 22 * Trish Staiger, Anti-Poverty & Peace Activist, Hastings, MN * Al McKinnis, Fmr. USMC, UAW Local 879, St. Paul, MN * Barbara Laney, Commercial Closer, Mpls. * Vern Gagner, 1st Cavalry, Vietnam; Mechanic, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Tom Laney, Fmr. 82nd Airborne, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Caroline Lund, Trustee and Exec. Board Member, UAW Local 2244, Fremont, CA * Barry Sheppard, Steward IAM Local Lodge 1781, UAL Mechanic, Oakland, CA * Nancy Schillinger, Fmr. Committeewoman, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Wendy Thompson, President, UAW Local 235 Detroit * John Spritzler, New Democracy, Boston * Doug Hanscom, Editor Disgrunted Autoworker, UAW Local 239, Baltimore * John T. Cabral, New Democracy, Chicago * John E. Lewis, U.S. Navy 1945-46, Vets for Peace, Traverse City, MI * Dale A. Richardson, USMC 2nd Battalion, Echo Co., 1st Marine Div., R.V.N. 1969 * Bruce Sanderson, WWII, Svc. 1st ARMD Corps (Patton’s own) N. Africa, Sicily, Later Okninawa, President Veterans for Peace N. MI, Jordan, MI * Dave Stratman, Editor, New Democracy, Boston * Maria Josefina Saldana, PSC City U. of New York AFT Local 2334 * Greg Mondry, Fmr. Bargainer, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Ben Moore, Tri Level UAW Local 879, St. Paul * David Payne, TriLevel, UAW Local 879 St. Paul * Mary Henehan, Foreign Exchange Trader, US Bank, Mpls. * Martin Schreader, Local 707, National Production Workers Union, Detroit * Vic Roberts, UMWA Local 1981 * Joe Callahan, Peace & Picketline Activist, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Ken Little, Carpenters Local 1144, Seattle * Pete Bennett, UAW Local 2093 * Matt Lammers, Teacher St. Pius X Catholic High School, Atlanta * James Ketola, UAW Local 467, Fmr Paratrooper Infantryman, US Army, RVN 1969-71, Burlingame, CA * Steven Saelzler, UAW Local 372, 4th Division, 3/8 Infantry Vietnam, Vets for peace, Michael Gramlich Chapter Brownstown, MI * Vic Roberts, Ret. Coalminer, UMWA Local 9819 * Neil Chacker, UAW Local 1700, Ret. Sp/4 3rd Cavalry, US Army, Ret. * Shiffi Bluestein, Student, Melbourne, Australia * Steven K. Shotwell, Grand Rapids, MI * Elly Leary, VP & Bargaining Chair Ret., UAW Local 2324, Boston * Paula Murray, UAW Local 424, Rochester, NY * Erwin Bauer, UAW Local 306 President Ret. * Carlene A. Crnkovich, Foreign Exchange Trader, US Bank, Mpls. * Margaret J. Rickerson, Fmr. US Navy WAVE 1968-71, US Bank, Mpls. * Maeves & Allan Martin, 1/1107 TGWU, Ford Dagenham, UK * Buck Buchanan, Quality Control Inspector, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Paul “The Champ” Elliott, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, St. Paul * Joel Gobats, Chassis Worker, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Bill Hanline, (USMC) FLC, FLSGA, LSU-1, 1968-69 * Rob Funk, Social Worker, St. Paul * Carmel Funk, Legal Secretary, St. Paul * Barbara Gibbs, Activist for Workers’ Rights, UAW Local 2209, Ft. Wayne, IN * Doug Fuda, New Democracy, Boston * Roman Dietinger, Youthworker, Austria * Konrad Stein, Dortmund, Germany * Lloyd Overfield, Editor, Union Times * Peter Rachleff, Labor History Professor, Macalester College, St. Paul * Hermann Westveld, Ford Volvo Worker, Belgium * Terry Engler , President , I.L.W.U. Local 400, Vancouver B.C. * Jurgen P. Kuhl, One Big Union, Scotland * Einar Schlereth, Journalist * Sarah Beamish * Dave Prodrick, Ford UK Worker * Rebecca Burrill, Boston * Khaled Hamam, Doha, Qatar * Irma
Ponti-Cowperthwaite, MSW,Recife Brazil*
The Casualties of Iraq
By: Conn Hallinan
Foreign Policy in Focus - October 17, 2007
The great 19th-century Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin
Disraeli once remarked there were three kinds of lies:
lies, damned lies, and statistics. It is a dictum the
Bush administration has taken to heart when it comes to
totaling up the carnage in Iraq: If you don't like the
numbers, just change them; and when in doubt, look 'em
in the eye and lie.
For instance, according to the Department of Defense
(DOD), the United States does not track civilian
casualties. As former commander General Tommy Franks
put it, "We don't do body counts."
But testimony in the recent trial of U.S. Army snipers
from the First Battalion of the 501 Infantry regiment
indicated the generals indeed do body counts. In a July
hearing at Fort Liberty, Iraq, Sgt. Anthony G. Murphy
said he and other snipers felt "an underlying tone" of
disappointment from their commanders when they didn't
rack up big body counts.
"It just kind of felt like, 'What are you guys doing
wrong out there?'" he testified. When the snipers
started setting traps to lure in unsuspecting Iraqis,
the kill ratios went up and the commanders, he said,
The choreography the Bush administration does around
casualties is aimed at creating a dance of lies and
disinformation to cover up one of the worst
humanitarian crises to strike the Middle East since the
Mongols sacked Baghdad.
That is not an overstatement.
A recent poll by the British agency Opinion Research
Business (ORB) found that the war may have killed more
than one million people, a toll that surpasses the
800,000 killed in the Rwandan genocide. The ORB used
'excess mortality' as its measure, that is, deaths over
and above mortality figures from the past.
The Grim Numbers
Trying to figure out the butcher bill in Iraq is an
For instance, according to the London-based
organization Iraq Body Count, by March of this year,
civilian deaths stood at 65,160, although the
organization noted that 2007 has seen "the worst
violence against civilians in Iraq since the invasion."
The conservative Brookings Institute's Iraq Index posts
slightly higher figures, and the United Nations higher
The Iraq Interior Ministry is highly critical of the
UN's conclusion that 34,000 Iraqis died in 2006,
calling the figures 'inaccurate' and 'unbalanced,' but
refuses to release its own figures. And the only sum
the Bush administration has ever come up with is when
the president commented to the press in December 2005
that the number of Iraqis killed was "30,000, more or
The first serious statistical investigation of the
war's impact was a survey by Johns Hopkins University
published in the British medical magazine, The Lancet.
According to the study, from the March 2003 invasion
through September 2006, the number of deaths due to the
war was 654, 965 Over half of those were women and
children. The Johns Hopkins study also used the 'excess
mortality' methodology, which measures not only deaths
from war, but violent crime and disease. It found that
91.8% of the excess mortality was due to violence, 31%
of that inflicted by coalition forces.
President Bush immediately dismissed the study's
methodology as "pretty well discredited," and the media
either ignored it or accepted the White House's
In fact, there is virtual unanimity among biostaticians
and mortality experts that the methodology used in the
Johns Hopkins study is accurate. Following up on an
earlier version of the study, Liala Guterman, a senior
reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, says
she contacted 10 experts in the field about the Lancet
article, and "not one of them took issue with the
study's methods or conclusions." Indeed, she said, the
experts found the conclusions "cautious."
According to John Zogby of Zogby International, one of
the world's most respected polling services, "The
sampling [in the Lancet survey] is solid, the
methodology is as good as it gets." Ronald Waldman, a
Columbia University epidemiologist, said the method was
"tried and true," and British Defense Ministry science
advisor, Sir Roy Anderson, said the survey was "close
to the best practice."
Indeed, the Bush administration used exactly the same
methodology to determine the number of deaths in
Darfur, figures that were used to convince the U.S.
Congress to label the current crisis in the Sudan
The administration's sleight of hand on deaths and
casualties even extends to its own forces. There are,
for instance, no hard figures on the number of private
U.S. and British contractors wounded or killed, even
though private contractors outnumber the number of
coalition troops in Iraq.
And when casualty statistics come out in ways the DOD
doesn't like, it just changes how they are counted.
On January 29, 2007, the Pentagon listed 47,657 "non-
mortal" casualties in Iraq. One day later this number
had fallen to 31,493 by the simple device of dropping
any casualty that did not require "medical air
transport." The DOD also doesn't include vehicle
accidents, or soldiers who are taken ill, including
those with mental problems.
No one has systematically collected information on the
number of Iraqis wounded by the war, although a ratio
of two or three to one wounded to killed in excess of
one million people -- is considered a good rule-of-
Besides the deaths and injuries, the war had unleashed,
according to the Financial Times, "The worst refugee
crisis in the Middle East since the mass exodus of
Palestinians that was part of the violent birth of the
state of Israel in 1948." According to the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, 2.2 million Iraqis have fled
their country, mostly to Jordan and Syria, and another
2 million have been turned into internal refugees. If
one adds to that the ORB figures for deaths, it means
at least 20% of Iraqi's pre-war population of 26
million has been killed, wounded, exiled, or displaced.
The White House has simply ignored the refugee crisis.
In 2006, the United States budgeted $3 million for
refugees, although according to Amman-based researcher
Noah Merrill, none of the relief organizations,
including the UN, has seen any of that money. And if
they had, Merrill points out, it would come to a grand
total of $3.50 per person. "Jordan is an expensive
country, " he says, "and $3.50 will not help anyone --
not even for a day."
Half of Iraq's population are children, nearly 20% of
them under the age of five. Some 25% are malnourished
and 10% suffer from acute malnutrition. According to a
UNICEF study, 70% of Iraqi's children suffer from
traumatic stress syndrome.
Food rationing, a system on which five million Iraqis
rely to stay alive, is breaking down, and according to
Patrick Cockburn of The Independent, two million can no
longer be fed because of security concerns.
Unemployment is at 68%. Once the most industrial
country in the Arab world, Iraq is devolving into an
oil-rich, agrarian backwater. Some 75% of the country's
doctors and pharmacists have fled, bringing its medical
system -- at one time the best in the Arab world -- to
the point of collapse.
And finally, like a biblical plague, cholera is working
itself down the country's river system, from the
Kurdish north to Basra in the south. Over 7,000 cases
have been confirmed in northern Iraq, according to the
World Health Organization.
In 1258 the Mongol generals Hulagu and Guo Kan besieged
and took the city of Baghdad. They murdered its
inhabitants, burned its libraries, and ravished its
lands. The Bush administration has done the same, but
hidden it behind a smoke screen of lies and voodoo
For the average Iraqi, there is little difference
between the Mongols and the United States. Both have
laid waste to their country.
[Conn Hallinan is a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist.]