Millions will protest war with Iraq
The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.. for the sake of humanity, I cannot be silent.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Bush administration’s imperative toward “first strike” sets a precedent that is unconscionable in the eyes of the world. Demonstrations worldwide are being organized for Jan. 18 (the Martin Luther King anniversary weekend and the 12th anniversary of the Gulf War). Millions of people around the globe are marching against a new “war” on Iraq. What better way to honor the legacy and life of Dr. King than to stand in this critical hour against war and racism?
Reports on the costs of this war in lives, global security, and money continue to come in on an almost daily basis. A Yale economist has placed the total cost of the “war” at up to $1.6 trillion dollars. Like Dr. King during the Vietnam War, we will demand that these much needed monies be spent on jobs, education, housing, health care and to meet human needs, not for wars of aggression on the Third World.
Innumerable informed sources contend that the Bush administration is in convenient error when it claims that Iraq poses a grave and imminent danger. The fabricated goal of “regime change” will not create a more democratic and humane government. Even administration pundits acknowledge they haven’t a clue as to who will pop up, bigger and badder, in Saddam’s shoes. What we do know is which multinational oil companies have already divvied up Iraq’s oil reserves.
Let’s keep some perspective on these facts: There is no connection between Hussein and bin Laden (they are avowed enemies). The U.S. bombs Iraq almost every day but Iraq is not bombing the United States. Iraq has never possessed a nuclear weapon but the U.S. government has 6,000 nuclear weapons. There is only one country in the world that has used nuclear weapons as a tactic of war. As Pogo would remind us: “We sees the enemy, and they is us.”
In the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon made massive use of depleted uranium weapons, subjecting civilians and soldiers to vast toxic exposure. According to the Veterans Administration, over 30 percent of the U.S. Gulf War veterans are receiving disability benefits for illness and injury.
Nearly 2 million Iraqi civilians, mostly children, have already died from a U.S.-imposed economic blockade. Twelve years of allied bombing has devastated the carefully constructed infrastructures supporting Iraqi health and sanitation, and has decimated countless exquisite historic structures. Still, many deeply loving families survive, as do the beautiful, spaciously laid boulevards that connect them.
Though most responses to PCNC’s silent vigils-for-peace during Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas street fairs were grateful and supportive, one young man’s comments to us remain burned in my heart. He advised us that his religion, Christianity, assured him that Armageddon was “a good thing,” and that “we should just bomb Iraq and put them out of their misery.” If this so-called “war” does indeed become a war of religion, please remember that Islamic extremists are no more representative of Islam than the Ku Klux Klan is representative of true Christian ideals.And if we, as a people, don’t stand up to this rogue administration, our beloved country must expect to be the biggest, fattest target on the block.
On Jan. 18, chartered buses will depart Nevada City at 7 a.m. to return from San Francisco around 9 p.m. Local musicians and donated snacks will grace our ride. Our next PCNC general meeting takes place Jan. 16. For further information, call PCNC at 470-9797.
Loraine Webb is an out-of-work mother, gardener, actor and poet. She resides in Nevada City and is a member of Peace Center of Nevada County.
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