Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Benchmarks for progress in Iraq

Bush is pushing his new line called "benchmarks for progress in Iraq."

Hundreds of Minnesotans have been notified they will be called up for another tour of duty in Iraq. We have a Governor, Pawlenty, who has been a cheerleader for this dirty war even before it started. Presently, Pawlenty has hitched his cart to the fascist-minded, anti-labor, warmongering Republican John McCain.

Conservative Democrats, aligned with the Hubert Humphrey/Walter Mondale group of well-heeled, high-rollers presently dominate the Minnesota state legislature and the congressional delegation.

There really is no difference between Pawlenty's Republicans and this dominant group of Minnesota Democrats led by the likes of Rep. Thomas Huntley, Bernie Leider, and Leroy Stumpf in the Minnesota legislature and Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and Collin Peterson in Washington.

The real progressives in the Minnesota legislature can be counted on two hands; and of those who will not bend to corporate pressure, they can be counted on one hand if a couple fingers are missing from that hand.

When we look at the rest of the country the situation is, generally, even worse than in Minnesota.

Here we have the overwhelming majority of the American people completely at odds with the best representatives that corporate money can purchase in the world's greatest democracy.

Now this group of politicians is going to reach an agreement with Bush to set "benchmarks for progress in Iraq" while they have no concept of "benchmarks" established by voters last November 7 on Election Day as hundreds of Minnesotans will join thousands of others from across this country who will join the 4,000 additional troops that have just arrived in Iraq to fight a war that was based upon lies and deceit. Many of these troops will be coming home in body bags. The more troops Bush and his Democratic "compromisers" send to Iraq the bigger the target they create; the side of the barn gets bigger, so to speak.

It is time for the American people to become active participants in the struggle to end this dirty war. Every voter who cast a ballot in opposition to this war will have to be brought into the struggle for peace in Iraq and the entire Middle East.

This will only be accomplished if a united anti-war organization is established and the stupid bickering between a couple factions in the anti-war movement comes to an end. The top leaderships of A.N.S.W.E.R and United for Peace and Justice should be removed from their positions and a conference called to merge these two peace organizations on a program that supports George McGovern's proposal while advancing a domestic agenda that includes single-payer, universal health care; an end to predatory lending by making the government the direct lender to homeowners; establishing a no-interest student subsidies while free higher education is being put in place; unemployment compensation from the time of lay-off until a job is secured. These are the kind of "benchmarks" the American people want to hear about... not pious pronouncements about the "first 100 hours." And, the American people are intelligent enough to know you can't just stand out on street corners waving signs saying, "Out Now!" as legitimate as this call is, and it must remain prominent... however, there will never be an end to this war unless those for peace get behind a proposal like George McGovern has put forward.

The common sense approach would be to take up the proposal of George McGovern to bring an end to this dirty war. We all know that George McGovern was right in 1972 in putting forward a very similar proposal to end the war in Vietnam. McGovern's proposal is anti-imperialist and considers the war in its totality as being a war to occupy Iraq with all the inhumanity such an imperialist debacle implies, while this dirty war robs our own country of social programs and real human progress here at home.

McGovern's proposal does not call for "benchmarks" or "re-deployment of troops." It is a proposal to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and out of harms way as quickly as boats and planes can get them out.

If the American people can not create an anti-war movement up to the task, the only other alternative will be for a united secular movement in Iraq to develop capable of leading a united armed struggle against these invaders of their country. No doubt there will be such a development; and, no doubt that development is in the making as we recently saw tens of thousands of Iraqis turn out for huge Communist Party rallies all over the country of people wanting an end to the sectarian violence and wanting the United States out of their country.

We should understand though, if this is going to be the solution to ending this dirty war, that tremendous bloodshed is going to occur and many Americans will be coming home in body bags.

Commanding General, David Petraeus, in true Hitlerite fashion, has already made it very clear that the United States intends to stay in Iraq for a very long time; his is the voice of the military-financial-industrial complex. Petraeus is not concerned in the least with "benchmarks" or any kind of political compromises between Bush and the Democrats... to Patraeus these political maneuvers are mere shenanigans that give him the cover to "stay the course." That "course" has always been to conquer the oil fields of Iraq while establishing a permanent U.S. regional domination of the Middle East.

To end this war will require that the American people be educated as to the true nature of U.S. imperialism--- and this education can take place very rapidly if this peace movement sets for itself some concrete goals and objectives with "benchmarks" of its own; and, be brought into the anti-imperialist struggle in alliance with the rest of the peoples of the world. This can not be accomplished with the two at present largest anti-war organizations at logger-heads. For the peace movement to "stay the course" means we accept the proposition that this war will only come to an end when the Iraqi people and the people of that region can muster the force themselves to end this occupation of their country.

I don't see that tall, skinny, old man that stood up to support Keith Ellison's vote to continue this dirty war buying his ticket, and a ticket for Keith Ellison, to go over to Iraq to fight until the funds Ellison and his Democratic colleagues got sucked into voting for run out. Because I travel a lot, I do hear from many concerned parents, grand parents, brothers and sisters who are quite literally crying because they are afraid their loved ones are going to be returning in body bags... and let us be perfectly clear, these filled body bags will continue returning, and there will be more and more the longer this dirty imperialist war for oil and regional domination continues.

Many people will recall, as I traveled across Minnesota urging that Bush not be allowed to start this war in the first place--- I was attacked and called every dirty name in the book, and a few I had never even heard before--- by the leaders of the American Legion and the warmongers... they all said that I was not telling the truth to people when I stated that this would be a very long, drawn out war and we would see thousands of Americans returning home in body bags; they said, "We are the strongest Nation on earth, this will be very short, a few weeks, perhaps a month or two." Those attending the debate in International Falls at Rainy River Community College will remember this exchange I am sure as the war was just getting underway.

I made these statements from International Falls to Mankato, from Duluth to Thief River Falls. I traveled to over 90 communities in Minnesota as we built up Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice among people in the "podunks" throughout Minnesota. Many of those "podunks" now have regular vigils. Many people in these "podunks" have been writing letters to public officials and to their local newspapers; whatever they do, they do whenever they can do it, they are trying to end this dirty war--- and such activities are taking place in communities, large and small, all across this country; but as we can see, this is not enough. We organized over 130 delegates from these 90 "podunks" to go to the State Conventions of the Minnesota DFL as delegates in order to get a full debate on this issue and we were never joined in our calls for a debate by Keith Ellison or the Kucinich delegates or Peace in the Precincts or Peace First or the DFL Progressive Caucus... instead, these so-called peace candidates and peace organizations worked behind the scenes to "compromise" for political expediency and in order to curry favor with those who support this dirty war like Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and Walter Mondale in order to silence our voices in the same way the Minnesota DFL Executive Committee has tried to silence me as, with few exceptions, the DFL State Central Committee--- the money-bags--- have successfully stifled and prevented a democratic debate on this issue of the war in Iraq. Not one single member of the State Central Committee has joined my call for a discussion of the merits of George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war.

A lot of dirty work has taken place by political opportunists who claim they are for peace and say they are "winning respect" and "credibility" through compromises with these opportunists politicians who talk peace as they vote for more war. To be for peace is what gives one respect and credibility--- it is the warmongers, the merchants of death and destruction, the military-financial-industrial complex of U.S. imperialism which is losing credibility and respect and to submit to those who support war in seeking "credibility" and "respect" only helps to give these capitalist vultures looking to make profits in the oil fields of Iraq a semblance of respect and credibility; when what they really deserve is scorn, and to be impeached and tried as the war criminals they are.

I am sure we will see Minnesota Congress persons and Senators call for supporting "benchmarks for progress in Iraq." I would not be surprised to see the entire DFL caucus end up unanimously supporting these "benchmarks for progress in Iraq." The only problem is, they are not the ones on the streets of Baghdad and driving and walking over mines in the desert.

I hope peace activists now begin to discuss what initiatives can be taken to begin to involve each and every American who went to the polls on November 7 (and those who didn't bother to vote because they are fed up with not having any real choices) to become an active participant in struggle to end this dirty war in Iraq... voting was a first step, but it will take a lot more because those who were elected didn't get the message. That message is: cut the funding for this dirty war now and get the troops on boats and planes back home as quickly as possible... that means a full mobilization of boats and planes working on 24/seven schedules. This is what the American people want; this is what Americans voted for on Election Day. This is what the Iraqis want. This is what the rest of the world wants.

The leader of Canada's increasingly popular socialist New Democratic Party, Jack Layton, has put forward a proposal to get Canada out of Afghanistan; his proposal is based on George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war in Iraq. This proposal has gained wide acceptance among the Canadian people. George McGovern's proposal to end this dirty war will gain wide acceptance among the American people if brought forward by the peace movement.

I think we need to have an explanation from the leaders of A.N.S.W.E.R and United for Peace and Justice why they have ignored George McGovern's "Blueprint" to end the war in Iraq. We need some accountability. So far, no one has suggested anything better; except to "compromise" to keep the war going.

This war was begun by George Bush at the behest of the military-financial-industrial complex with the intent of taking over the oil fields of Iraq and for regional domination. The American people, not the Iraqis, have a responsibility of bring an end to this war. In the process of bringing an end to this war we should throw this whole damn bunch of crooked and corrupt self-serving, warmongering politicians out on their asses.

It is time for the peace movement to begin establishing some real "benchmarks" of its own in the struggle to end this war in Iraq. It is time for every American who is opposed to this dirty war in Iraq to begin giving some time to thinking about what this war is really all about and what they can do to help bring it to an end.

You can access George McGovern's "Blueprint" to end the war through a link on my blog to the right under the photo of McGovern. I can't help but wonder why Walter Mondale, Keith Ellison, the DFL Progressive Caucus, Peace First, and Peace in the Precincts and people like Charley Underwood and Jack Nelson-Palmeyer continue to scuttle discussion of McGovern's "Blueprint." Please take the time to read it and circulate it widely so we can get this war ended as quickly as possible in order to turn the call of "Out Now!" from the realm of fairytale to reality; from despicable "compromises" and "benchmarks" to real peace.

Once again, I will be raising my voice on the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee for this discussion to take place; thanks to each and every one of you who stood up and made your voices heard in some way that Minnesotans will not tolerate a small group of well-heeled money-bags having the only voice on the MN DFL State Central Committee along with an even smaller group of "go along to get along" compromisers as other Minnesotans get shipped off to Iraq and many of those return either in body bags or crippled and maimed; while others enter into a world where they can not cope with daily living any more and the lives of Iraqis are not even of any concern.