[AUTHOR’S NOTE: I retitled this and edited a bit to make it sexier (or should I say more alluring?) Hope that’s kosher.]
Maybe we shouldn’t complain about the news media’s lack of coverage of the antiwar movement. They don’t even cover the issue when it’s debated for two days in the US Senate.
Senate Democrats, failing to pass anything this week, promise to try again in April, when an appropriations bill comes up. House Democrats are in a “wait til’ next year” mode.
All the more reason to turn up the heat in March. And there are plenty of opportunities to take action — in Washington or in your hometown — as the 5th anniversary of the invasion approaches on March 19.
The two proposals to change course in Iraq failed, predictably, this week, perhaps providing an excuse for the media’s lack of interest. (Depending, of course, on whether the chicken or the egg came first.) But what was taking place was nothing less than a matter of life and death, for US service members and Iraqi military and civilians alike.
The number of American service members who have given their lives in Iraq is nearing 4,000. Nearly 30,000 more have been wounded, and countless others have suffered permanent physical or psychological damage that will haunt them, their loved ones, and this country for decades to come. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and 4 million more have been displaced from their homes and become refugees.
Was the debate front page news? Hardly. It was hardly news at all. Here’s a brief CQ report, in case you missed the news entirely.
That’s all the more reason that the vast majority of Americans who want this senseless bloodshed to end must continue to speak out and act out, at every opportunity.
The sponsors of the two measures which were shelved again in the Senate, Sens. Russ Feingold and Harry Reid, say they will try again in April when appropriations for the war come up, even though House Democrats seem to have adopted a “wait til’ next year” strategy on Iraq.
Between now and then, let’s turn up the heat.
There are plenty of opportunities to do so in March.
Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold Winter Soldier hearings Mar. 13-16 in Washington, DC, modeled on the 1971 hearings held by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Here’s how IVAW describes the event:
The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan – and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support.
You’ll be able to follow live audio and video links on the web, and some groups are now making plans to screen the hearings in public places across the country, too.
The next week, March 19, is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Will we ever forget the shock and awe when we learned we had been duped about the reasons to invade? United for Peace and Justice, the nation’s largest antiwar coalition, is planning to mark the day:
March 19th will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Enough is enough! We are organizing creative, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in Washington DC to interrupt business as usual for those promoting and profiting from war and empire building. Focusing on the pillars of war, our actions will take place at multiple sites, demonstrating the real costs of war and offering visions for a more just and sustainable world, a world at peace.
Actions are bring planned in local communities as well to mark the anniversary.
Friday, March 21, is Iraq Moratorium #7, a day to take individual or collective action to call for an end to the war and the occupation. The Moratorium, a national grassroots movement, asks people to do something on the Third Friday of every month to disrupt their normal routine and call for an end to the war.
You’ll find lots of ideas for actions on the Moratorium website , along with a list of events on March 21 and reports, videos and photos of previous actions. There have been more than 600 group actions under the Iraq Moratorium banner since September.
So, march in March. Or do something, anything, besides waiting for the election. Unless we keep the pressure on, a Democratic president and Congress may not make this a priority, either. If you doubt that, ask Nancy Pelosi what she’s doing to end the war.