“No War on Iran” Protest Vigil Wednesday Jan 8th at the SC Statehouse

 

 

 

No War on Iran Protest Vigil
WEDNESDAY Jan 8th 5PM-6:30PM
SC Statehouse (corner Main & Gervais)

Join us for a “No War on Iran” Protest Vigil held in response to rapid and disproportionate escalation and threats of war with Iran. Gather in front of the SC Statehouse for a sign line vigil, 1100 Gervais Street (corner of Main & Gervais). Some signs provided. Please no profanity. Media will be invited.

Facebook Event

The recent assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani via drone strike constituted a disproportionate and reckless escalation of a proxy war with Iran. Continue reading ““No War on Iran” Protest Vigil Wednesday Jan 8th at the SC Statehouse”

Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq

Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Reckoning

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, we commemorate the awful human cost of an unnecessary war and demand accountability.

The Iraq war took the lives of approximately 4,500 US servicemen, over a hundred thousand Iraqis and severely wounded tens of thousands more… all for a lie, the false claim that Iraq had threatening WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction), a flimsy reason before the war, a proven lie after the war. Beyond the staggering human cost of the Iraq war is the staggering financial cost: the cost to the US of the Iraq war is estimated at $2.2 Trillion; the financial cost to Iraqis may be incalculable.

The invasion of Iraq and occupation was a war crime and the war criminals who directed it should be held accountable…

Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Reckoning

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, we commemorate the awful human cost of an unnecessary war and demand accountability.

The Iraq war took the lives of approximately 4,500 US servicemen, over a hundred thousand Iraqis and severely wounded tens of thousands more… all for a lie, the false claim that Iraq had threatening WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction), a flimsy reason before the war, a proven lie after the war. Beyond the staggering human cost of the Iraq war is the staggering financial cost: the cost to the US of the Iraq war is estimated at $2.2 Trillion; the financial cost to Iraqis may be incalculable.

The invasion of Iraq and occupation was a war crime and the war criminals who directed it should be held accountable…

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Those here in the U.S. who lied and fabricated the claim that Iraq had WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and conned the American public into an unnecessary “preemptive war” should be investigated and held accountable.

We also demand accountability from those under any command who used torture or otherwise violated human rights in the prosecution of the Iraq war.

The unnecessary Iraq war was a military mistake as well, opening a second unnecessary front , drawing attention and resources from the US presence in Afghanistan, and giving Al-Qaeda a propaganda boost and renewed life. Instead of combating the threat of terrorism, the invasion of Iraq was an act of terrorism itself and only served to pour fuel on the fire. Further, the US government failed to supply adequate forces to responsibly occupy Iraq, as General Eric Shinseki warned before the war. Finally, from failing to secure weapons to disbanding the Iraqi military, the US occupation of Iraq took unconscionably incompetent actions that destabilized the country and lead to a cycle of sectarian blood-letting

We demand repentance and apologies from those who supported the war and positive action to repair the damage to lives… American and Iraqi… caused by the unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We demand a rejection of the idea of “preemption” as an excuse for war and note that some of the same folks who pushed for war with Iraq are now pushing for a preemptive war against Iran.

Ten years later, the horrific mistake of the Iraq war must be reckoned and those responsible held accountable… or else it will happen again.

David Matos

President, Carolina Peace Resource Center

www.carolinapeace.org

 

Afghanistan Ten Years Later Talk, WED Sept 28th at USC

Afghanistan Ten Years Later:

Time to End the War?

WED Sept 28th, 7PM

University of South Carolina

Discovery I Building, Suite 140

(Greene St & Lincoln)

featuring

David Axe

Globe-trotting war correspondent and author of the graphic novel War is Boring: Scared Stiff in the World’s Worst War Zones .

Sr. Ellen Francis

Episcopal nun of the Order of Saint Helena who has traveled on two peace missions to Afghanistan, volunteered with Afghan women’s groups in New York and Afghanistan, and co-lead four peace delegations to Iran.

Facebook/ RSVP:  https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=218444838209152

Sponsored by the Carolina Peace Resource Center

An open letter to President-elect Obama

Dear President-elect Obama,

Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War congratulate you on your victory, and we admire and respect both Senator John McCain and you for your strong, patriotic dedication and desire to fix the deep problems our country now faces.

We appreciate your inspiring words spoken at Grant Park in Chicago on Tuesday night – words which should give all Americans hope for our future. But we also remember the hope your words gave to many Americans in an August 2007 speech – especially those serving in our military: "Ending this war will be my first priority when I take office. There is no military solution in Iraq. Only Iraq’s leaders can settle the grievances at the heart of Iraq’s civil war." Read entire letter.

Wrecked Iraq

TomDispatch.com

As the Smoke Clears in Iraq: Even before the spectacular presidential election campaign became a national obsession, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression crowded out other news, coverage of the Iraq War had dwindled to next to nothing. National newspapers had long since discontinued their daily feasts of multiple — usually front page – reports on the country, replacing them with meager meals of mostly inside-the-fold summary stories. On broadcast and cable TV channels, where violence in Iraq had once been the nightly lead, whole news cycles went by without a mention of the war. Go to Counter Currents.

Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition!

Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition! Action in Smithfield, North Carolina
BY MICHAEL BERG

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16842591@N05/

Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition! This was the message of around 160
activists, including five Columbia residents, in Smithfield, North Carolina, where they marched held a vigil on Saturday, October 27, 2007.

Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition! Action in Smithfield, North Carolina
BY MICHAEL BERG

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16842591@N05/

Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition! This was the message of around 160 activists, including five Columbia residents, in Smithfield, North Carolina, where they marched held a vigil on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Continue reading “Stop the War! Stop Torture! Stop Rendition!”

“A JUST PEACE THEORY APPLIED TO IRAQ”

BY HAL W. FRENCH, University of South Carolina

Presentation at WCRP Conference, “Iraq for All Iraqis”
Held at the United Nations, June 11, 2007

I am very grateful to be part of this conference, which deals with perhaps the most crucial topic of our time- the future of Iraq- and this conference clearly is held under the belief that there can be no peace between the nations without peace between the religions.  Let me identify myself by a course that I teach, “Learning Non-violence from Gandhi and Friends,” from which you may choose to classify me as an impractical idealist!  But my students helped me to become an activist for peace in Iraq, in October of 2002, when our nation was beginning to set the stage for the invasion of Iraq.

BY HAL W. FRENCH, University of South Carolina

Presentation at WCRP Conference, “Iraq for All Iraqis”
Held at the United Nations, June 11, 2007

I am very grateful to be part of this conference, which deals with perhaps the most crucial topic of our time- the future of Iraq- and this conference clearly is held under the belief that there can be no peace between the nations without peace between the religions.  Let me identify myself by a course that I teach, “Learning Non-violence from Gandhi and Friends,” from which you may choose to classify me as an impractical idealist!  But my students helped me to become an activist for peace in Iraq, in October of 2002, when our nation was beginning to set the stage for the invasion of Iraq.

They began to take the material on non-violence seriously- sometimes students do that (!!), and to apply it to Iraq, conducting a teach-in on the impending war.  Many of us spoke, students and faculty alike, almost all in opposition to the war.  And then the next May, a few weeks after our invasion, George W. Bush was our commencement speaker.  And my students and others from the Carolina Peace Resource Center organized an alternative commencement program across the street.  With ten minutes notice, they asked me to be their commencement speaker!  We gave out copies of the Bill of Rights to the graduates and others there, which guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion.  It is those same freedoms that I covet for the nation of Iraq.  Again, it was my students who gave me the impetus to become an activist in opposition to the war.  Our voices, of course, were not heard.  And now that those voices have swelled to a crescendo of opposition to the war’s continuance, they are still not heard by this administration.

In introducing my topic, “A Just Peace Theory Applied to Iraq, I want to cite the title of Ali Allawi’s recent book, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace.”  It is an occupation, as defined by the CPA (the Coalition Provisional Authority) under the leadership of Paul Bremer, immediately after the takeover of Baghdad.  We’ve heard enough about attempts to justify war.  And while it is highly dubious that the occupation could ever have been justified in terms of classic just war criteria, the question now must be posed, “Is there a Just Peace theory that we could formulate which would guide the people of Iraq into a more hopeful future than is presently visible?”  What would be the qualities which might characterize such a theory?  Are they only idealistic, or could they be put into practice?  Consider the following seven points with me, and follow what someone has called imagineering: let your imagination, your dreams, your visions of peace soar, and then do the task of engineering them down to earth, or as a speaker said this morning, “giving concrete shape to truth.”

First, peace as the first resort, the first, second and last resort.  Unlike the last resort criterion for the waging of a just war, peace must be pervasive in our minds.  And in terms of a just peace theory and our common usage, it must be pursued as a just and lasting peace.  It is not a cease fire, it is not simply the absence of chaos, but it is built on a love ethic, implemented by people who are committed to non-violent solutions, exercising the highest levels of sensitive diplomatic skills, in a determined and undiscouraged way.

Second, the principle of self-determination.  The destiny of Iraq is for the Iraqi people to forge.  Albert Camus once stated, “Freedom is the concern of the oppressed, and her natural protectors must come from the ranks of the oppressed.”  Is there anyone in Iraq who has not experienced oppression in the last 20 years?  There well may be those who have exploited and profited, but these would be the only persons who could not now be the leaders of the new Iraq, unless they can be reeducated and rehabilitated.  Not persons outside, not persons inside Iraq who have oppressed, but the oppressed themselves, the vast majority of the people of Iraq, must chart the course for Iraq’s future.  Ways must be found to hear their voices and to implement their wisdom in a constitutional framework.

Third, the welcoming of outside cooperation and support.  This must not impinge on self-determination, but it must be secured.  Too many outside powers and persons have presided over the incredible damage done to the fabric of Iraqi society and all of its material culture to escape now the responsibility of being engaged in rebuilding, not again as exploiters but enablers of the people of Iraq to realize their own identity as citizens of a free and sovereign nation.  Neighboring Middle Eastern states and Western powers, along with NGOs must be part of this process.  For assistance received, Iraq will reciprocate by experiencing her identity as a vital member of the community of nations, with broad concerns for human rights and other issues beyond her borders.

Fourth,  inclusiveness, which means fair and equal representation of all segments of society.  Of course this will be difficult to implement.  Those of you who are Iraqis know this far better than I.  But it is an ideal which must be strived for in any just peace theory.  What unitive elements could be identified?  Is Islam itself, certainly in its essence a religion of peace, capable of helping persons to see themselves first as Muslims, and secondarily by their sectarian divisions?  Can it find common cause with other religious groups in the pursuit of peace?  Or is the idea of a nation state of Iraq powerful enough to generate loyalty and unitive fidelity?  Could this overcome tribal rivalries?

Fifth, Respect for diversity.  Inclusion must be accompanied by an acceptance of those distinguishing identities which also will remain important, welcoming the insights that each can bring.  Differences will persist; must these become so hardened by hatred, so cemented by bitterness that some may feel that the only way to keep faith with their kindred who have been killed must be to continue the conflict?  How do we break the cycle of violence?  Again, the unitive elements must dominate.

Sixth, Economic justice.  In India, the term is swadeshi, self-reliance defined in economic terms, as the companion to swaraj, which refers to personal and political self-rule, or again, self-determination.  The cherished pillar of almsgiving in Islam must be accompanied by the secular ideal of wage-earning.  The people of Iraq must experience that their creative and productive energies are valued within the total economy.  There must be an equitable program of sharing goods and services and the wealth of the nation.

Seventh, A realization of Al-Amin.  This title, given to the Prophet, which means trustworthy, truthful, peaceful, must be the ideal of the people of Iraq.  This is the nearly all-encompassing ideal. Truth, in similar meaning for Gandhi, was linked to radical openness and non-violence.  No secret deals, no strategies forged by a few with no general accountability, but Al-Amin, by all public officials and citizens alike, truth, trustworthiness, peace.  It may become a contagion as we are ourselves committed to this, and to sharing it in our lives.

A just and lasting peace?  Is it possible?  We may become the visionaries who give shape to these ideals.