The South Says No to War

This Saturday March 20, people from communities across the South will participate in a global day of action for peace: The World Still Says No to War. For the first time (that I'm aware of) we will be taking the movement to Fayetteville, where many of the soldiers currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are stationed.

On March 20, a march and rally is planned in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Nearby is the home of Ft. Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the U.S., and home of the 18th Airborne Corp, the 1st Corps Support Command, the JFK Special Warfare School, and the Joint Special Operations Command. It is also adjacent to Pope Air Force Base, which includes the 43rd Airlift Wing, and the 23rd Fighter Group, and the 18th Support Operations Group.

We join with our sponsoring organizations - Military Families Speak Out, Bring Them Home Now coalition, Quaker House of Fayetteville, September 11th Families of Peaceful Tomorrows, and the Fayetteville Peace with Justice Coalition, and Veterans for Peace on March 20 under the banners:

WE DEMAND REAL SUPPORT FOR THE TROOPS: BRING THEM HOME NOW!
MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION, NOT WAR AND OCCUPATIONS.
THE WORLD STILL SAYS NO TO WAR!

On March 20, we call on all people of conscience to show their solidarity with military families, and vets, as well as the untold millions of others who are disproportionately affected by war and occupations, and the war at home, to join us in Fayetteville. The N.C. March 20 Planning Committee, representing over 100 peace and justice groups from across North Carolina, will join with others from South Carolina, Richmond Virginia, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia to wage peace during this historical gathering in the South!

Bus tickets are available at Internationalist Books and Community Center. Call 919-942-1740 or visit them at 405 West Franklin Street (between CD Alley and Trilussa). So c'mon and get on the bus!

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There hasn't been much coverage of this, but this could be huge: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE240202004?open&of=ENG-SYR

There's been a wave of protests going on in Syrian Kurdistan, and they're being violently repressed. Amnesty has reported at least 20 deaths, and mass arrests of Kurds These are especially worrying because: "Those in detention may be subjected to torture or otherwise ill-treated, given the fact that their whereabouts are still unknown."

Given how the Syrian regime as dealt with internal opposition in the past (Hama), this could get really bad. On the other hand, coupled with reports of renewed anti-occupation protests in Lebanon, this could be a sign that the last NSDAP-based regime is finally being led to the scaffold.

It all just semantics.... a purposeful change from one word to another. That's what war propaganda has done.

Physical Slavery > Economic Slavery

Fascism/Nazism > Neo-Con Republicans

Communism > Russian Mobsters

Nothing has gained by waging war but money and resorces from one hand to another.

"Except for ending:Slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, War Never Solved Anything!"

By the way I just got an e-mail from a soldier who is stationed at Fort Bragg who plans to march with us "(much to the chagrin of my chain of command)" on Saturday!

Pro Peace (without saying who he or she is) said in response to my question, "Is there someone at Ft. Bragg (Fayetteville) who can order the troops home and the war stopped?",

"Yes. The troops themselves and their families who are sick of there compatriots and loved ones dying."

How that can be done without soldiers "quiting" and no lopnger doing their duty is beyond me. If you see another take on this, please explain.

I know of many soldiers who have exercised their right to peaceful protest; it is not illegal to do so and only becomes so when they violate the regulations. A link that explains some of this is:

http://www.veteransforpeace.org/GIRights.pdf

"Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed."

I believe everyone, including antiwar soldiers, would like an end to bloodshed. The idea that any one protesting for peace is against the individual that is a soldier is a craftily built untruth. Recently I heard a very experienced US solider say that he didn’t know anyone who was actually spit on upon returning from Vietnam. Nor anyone he knew or asked. Is it true?

I would herby like to admonish any peace loving individual that is anti-solider. I intend NO disrespect for any soldiers sacrifice. (most certainly not my grandfather and great-uncles) Yet I have no respect for the so called leaders who send men and women, often times mere children, to die for their political gain. There are other non-violent political means.

Duty is a threat of violence against a person. People who demand and brainwash young people plant naive romantic lies about how killing and dying IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES will protect your home. I MIGHT be able to believe, *maybe*, that killing and dying in your own home country defending your neighbors and loved ones is justified. Yes that was an isolationist statement.

This all boils down to the political and moneyed interests of the few exploiting the LIVES to conduct a war. Fear, at the level it is now, is out of control and illogical. To the point where we’ll defend the killing of people thousands of miles away we don’t even know. Just because all of those people died in NYC doesn’t mean vengeance is right.

The soldiers and their family can say “STOP!!!” and bring an end to the violence. If they acted for peace and revenge was enacted upon them for “not doing their [so called] duity” then it wouldn’t be the first time that a person was jailed, beat, or humiliated in passive resistance to political bullies. But this sacrafice for peace can achieve results.

Now I don’t think anyone here is demanding that soilders should quit. But quiting what is wrong is not incorect.

p.s. Anonymity protects us from violent people who don’t want to talk but hurt someone for expressing there opinion.

Hey y'all I am just checking in here from Wilmington, Delaware where I am travelling for work.

Fred, where did you hear anyone say that the military should quit their jobs? No-one is suggesting that they break the law and go AWOL. The purpose of the demonstration is to question the decision-makers running this war, and to show our concern and support for servicemembers and their families.

The word "quit" appears 3 times on this page, all in your comments, Fred. Are you reading into this something that isn't there?

Fred--We could make a pact as participants on this site to try and keep the posturing to a minimum; to promote dialogue rather than rhetoric. We could agree to try and understand why someone holds a particular point of view instead of immediately jumping into a liberal vs. conservative name calling (you didn't do this--just an example of other discussions). And we could agree to answer questions on the assumption that they are honestly asked rather than posed as set ups. I don't think we will always succeed but we could agree to try! I'm not trying to be naive or Pollyannaish. I truly believe that many people, including myself, would benefit from trying to understand differ political perspectives.

Terri

Terri, you make the compelling case for why we have competitive elections and get to choose between candidates offering us a choice of policy preferences.

My point is that we need not blame those in the military for following the law of the land and the executive orders you mentioned. It is much too simplistic to suggest that they just quit doing their jobs and the wars will end forever.

Yes, it is tough for them and their loved ones, but quitting is not the answer. And FWIW, I'm afraid that we will not avoid the "political posturing" in what is shaping up to be a very nasty campaign.

I agree that many military personnel dislike war but feel compelled to follow the executive orders they are sworn to uphold. To me that means the executive branch needs to hold themselves to a higher standard of truthfulness and self-reflection. It seems pretty clear that this president and his staff came into office expecting to go to war in Iraq--but instead of honestly saying so, they have used 9/11 and terrorism to justify their actions. What would the congress'/publics response been to an honest declaration of intent? How would any of us respond to a upfront acknowledgement that Iraq wasn't a threat for nuclear/chemical warfare despite the beliefs of many, including David Kay? I don't support the actions taken by this president in Iraq, and I am very angry about what I feel has been manipulation, but I also think we have an obligation to the Iraqi people to stay and make things closer to right for them. To leave now would be as unjust as what we have done in Afghanistan.

Hopefully in preparation for the upcoming election, we will have frank public discussions about terrorism and the preemptive war philosophy, instead of the meaningless stump speeches we've had so far. What's the tradeoff between civil liberties and physical safety? Does the inter-relatedness that comes from globalization change the stigma against interfering in another country's governance decisions? These are just a couple of the complex issues that I hope we can discuss as a community--without all the political posturing--in the next few months.

I asked, "Is there someone at Ft. Bragg (Fayetteville) who can order the troops home and the war stopped?"

Pro Peace answered, "Yes. The troops themselves and their families who are sick of there compatriots and loved ones dying."

I fail to follow your logic here, as most of the troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you are suggesting that the ones at Ft. Bragg should just quit and go to jail, then I have to wonder about your seriousness.

In all of my years in the military, I never met anyone who liked war or glorified it. Those who defend your freedoms are probably the most antiwar people that you will ever meet. They do, however, understand that when they respond to the call to arms, they are not interested in a fair fight; they want swift and decisive victory. If you think the terrorists are going to follow any rules on the books or approach what they do from a rational perspective, you are very wrong.

True, there is not a simple answer, but I opt for protecting and preserving out freedoms rather than surrendering to the objectives of the terrorists. Doing nothing makes the world an even more unsafe place.

REAL answers are not found in a single sentence, or a few paragraphs, or even mass volumes. If it were that simple allot of intelligent people would have figured out these problems long ago.

My answers to Mr. Blacks questions:

>Do you believe the problem will be solved by pulling the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

It would be a step in the right direction of convincing the world that the USA is NOT aiming for global domination. The violent and non-violent actions of the worlds citizens make it pretty clear they think the US government is run by a bunch of bulleys incapable of compromise.

>Surely a demonstration in Fayetteville will draw media attention, but what's your solution?

There is not ONE solution but many. There is not one action that will fix the world. There are many answers and many actions. I’m not trying to be vague, just acknowledge the true complexity of the world situations and strive towards a peaceful future.

The first step is bring our troops home. So all of the children of our soldiers can have their parents back. Good fist step.

>Is there someone at Ft. Bragg (Fayetteville) who can order the troops home and the war stopped?

Yes. The troops themselves and their families who are sick of there compatriots and loved ones dying.

Please realize that the reason this discussion (argument) is circular is because our basis of understanding is fundamentally different. I hope to understand your position better so I can find common ground and thus peace on earth. I hope you are all willing to do the same.

I asked - irrespective of who is in the WH - what would you do about the terrorist threat we face today? And for what it's worth, the president cannot reduce combat pay; on Congress can do that. All of these side issues are not my part of my question - what do we do?

Ruby

If you want to support our troops, visit my other site, http://www.ThankOurTroops.com or http://www.uso.org or http://www.harmsway4kids.com/

Through ThankOurTroops, I have met and stayed in touch with dozens of military families at Bragg. Each and every one of them I know, is proud of our actions in Iraq, proud of our President, and proud to be American at this time. I got a call today about the protest, from a wife who is sick about the protest you are promoting. She is working hard to counter the protest by getting folks to show real support for our troops.

Before you head off to Fayetteville, I challenge you to read the poem written by 11 year old Jenessa on her home page at http://www.harmsway4kids.com/ which talks about protests, and the impact it has on military families. It's too long to paste in, but it opens "My mommy and daddy have gone to fight, To do what they know is just and right. Protestors chant, "No war in Iraq",

While my parents fight to bring freedom back."

I understand not 100% of military people serving wanted us in Iraq, but I also understand that a vast majority of them do not share any of the emotions being shared at the protest. In fact, my favorite MilBlogger "Letters from Iraq" is against the war. I can assure you that he would still be sickened by this protest message.

I would also love to hear a real answer to Fred Black's question!

Best,

Todd

Fred, I think the very real threat we face today is largely a RESULT of the current administration's policies (both pre and post 9-11) of acting like a global bully. So it does matter who is in the White House. (I didn't used to think so, either.)

Specifically, I think demonstrating in Fayetteville draws attention to the fact that many of us oppose war and still "support our troops." In fact, I'd argue we support them more than the President has done. First, there's the big picture: increasing global hostility to the U.S., initiating combat in other nations, and putting troops in harm's way. In my opinion, all of these things have made Americans in general less safe, and have contributed to hundreds of military servicepeople's deaths. (See http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx for tallies of military deaths and http://www.iraqbodycount.net for civilians.)

But even in addition to that, Bush has not supported the troops domestically. He has reduced combat pay, pulled all kinds of tricks to force service members to stay longer than they committed to, not supplied them adequately in the desert, and treated them like campaign window dressing. More about this perspective is at the very wonderful http://bringthemhomenow.org

This is an outrage, but not a surprise.

Ruby, Not being a fan of war, I would like to hear your views - irrespective of who is in the WH - on how you would deal with the very real terrorist threat that we face today. Do you believe the problem will be solved by pulling the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Surely a demonstration in Fayetteville will draw media attention, but what's your solution? Is there someone at Ft. Bragg (Fayetteville) who can order the troops home and the war stopped?

Sorry if this has already been talked about, but I thought I'd throw in my perspective.

I'm against the war and I want the troops withdrawn as quickly as possible without destabilizing things more than this senseless war already has done.

However, I don't support this protest.

I grew up on military bases because my family was poor. My step-father was a career soldier who served in Vietnam and my father served in Vietnam. They didn't want to fight in those wars anymore than I would imagine a good number of current soldiers in this war want to fight.

I just think it sends the wrong message to confront soldiers instead of focusing on the administration. It's not their fault. I hope the March 19 action is more of a "Support the Troops" rally than criticizing the troops who are already in a bad situation.

I've met many in the military who are not progressive and would love this war, but it's hard to sort them out from the ones who are well-intentioned though caught in a bad situation. We need soldiers unfortunately so I want to support the people who make sacrifices. Many of us are trying to do our part to make the world a better, safer place, and to serve society. Some chose the military route.

I hope we instead stay focused on the Bush Administration's policies instead of alienating people who would otherwise agree with our cause to see an end to the war.

Just my virtual 2 cents. Again, sorry if this has already been said... Just busy at work today.

There is no more authentic way to help the young people caught in this mess than to bring them home. I personally believe that each individual who participates in war bears responsibility for their decisions and I'm not going to support someone's decision to become a killer, but I recognize the incredible amount of bullshit that underlies our national mythology and the economic dilemmas that can cause some ignorant, unfortunate person to sign up. I'm sympathetic and Ican't think of a better way to help them regain some control over their lives than to get them out of the mess. I don't support the troops, I support the people caught in the mess.

Eli, the demonstration in Fayetteville (second annual coming up this Saturday 3/19) is not to confront soldiers, it is being organized by soldiers (and veterans and military families). I think they are one of the most important constituencies to listen to on matters of putting American service people in harm's way and I will be there front and center to support their right to speak out.

Fred,

I don't get the relevance of your repeated query about how one would fight the war on terrorism. What does a "Rally and March to End the War in Iraq" have to do with terrorism?

You apparently support Bush' military actions in Iraq (correct me if I'm wrong). But you can't possibly buy his long-since and thoroughly discredited attempt to link Iraq under Hussein to the terrorist threat to the US. Or, do you?

It' interesting that this thread that Ruby started a year ago yesterday was picked up again today.

Yes Dan, there is a link between terrorism and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not a discredited link as you seem to believe. We have traced money that has funded worldwide terrorist training and operations to Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

I'm all for end the war rallies and bringing the troops home; I just don't believe that it doesn't matter how it's done. I did not support this pre-emptive war; I support those who are now required to fight it.

So my repeated question was to determine what ideas folks have as to best fight the terrorist who are committed to killing us and destroying this nation. Overstated? Only if you believe that there is no terrorist threat to America.

Fred--I believe the way you stop terrorism is to end poverty or at least make a better effort. If the world saw the US and other developed nations as people who care about quality of life, regardless of where that life is lived; if we were more respectful of world religions; if we weren't perpetrating human rights violations on others while demanding that other countries cease and desist, the environment which supports and recruits terrorists would be much less widespread. I'm not saying it's a total solution, but I definitely think we could do more with good works than we are doing with military action.

Fred, looking at recent history you should be able to see the best course of action to decrease terrorism is to get out of Iraq.

Just as the Afghanistan conflict served has the training/recruiting ground for the upper echelon of Al Queda, Iraq is serving as the source for the training/recruiting/justification of the next crop - the terrorist that'll be giving our kids grief.

Considering that, the call tomorrow to get out of Iraq is the most sensible way to begin to heal the breach and reduce the menace of terrorism (stop digging the hole deeper).

My brother is a captain in the Air Force & has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over and over for the past four years. I am incredibly proud of his service in the military, and of his love for our country. It has been a challenge for me to be a peace activist without feeling unsupportive of my brother's--and all of the other soldiers'--deep sacrifices. But I am blessed to have a brother who is also proud of my activism--and who has rejected the propaganda that says being against the war, questioning the president, and wanting our soliders home NOW means not supporting the troops. The "support the war/support the troops; fight the war/hurt the troops" mentality is an extremely manipulative way to silence dissent. I am participating in the March 19th action in support of my brother and all of the other soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My family has been spared the agony of having my brother die or be maimed in his service to our country, but many other families have not. Military families deserve better than what we're giving them--higher death benefits, higher combat pay, more support services. And that is why I am not only marching on Saturday to protest the war--I am also educating my church & my community about how we can directly support our soldiers, through donations of phone cards, frequent flyer miles, and by lobbying our legislators to oppose Bush's immoral budget which will further erode support for military families here at home. I ask all who participate on March 19th to also consider concrete ways you can help the troops feel supported while they are serving. Go to AnySoldier.com to learn more about how you can support them.

Mark,

So here you sit enjoying the freedoms secured for you by the blood of american servicemen and women--posting your opinions on blogs, writing your little articles for the chapel hill news--and then you turn and described these same men and women as "ignorant" and "unfortunate" people who decided "to become a killer"? Pathetic...

Fred, I agree with you that Iraq and Afghanistan are *obvious* fronts in the war and terror.

Islamo-fascism is the result of huge swaths of the population who live with no control of their own destiny, who are suppressed by ruthless regimes and fed a huge bowlful of propaganda that all their woes are the result of the devil west. Bringing some freedom and self-determination to that population can end this cycle.

Most here will disagree but that strategy is bearing fruit--elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine; the movement to oust the Syrians from Lebanon.

I think this quote from Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Druze leader: "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Berlin Wall has fallen."

Bill,

My freedoms were secured by people who thought for themselves and had the intelligence and integrity to take public stands for authentic freedom and democracy.

Mark

Can you share some names Mark?

Uh Will, what does "voted" mean?? Is that like when Ruby talks about "Christians"?

I'm afraid the Iraqis are enthusiastic:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=5&u=/usatoday/20050316/ts_usatod...

Mark,

It is an impressive list indeed, filled with people who have truly made unique contributions to our Republic. I note, however, that the list seems to be lacking some of the names (except Lieutenant Jackie Robinson) that account for us not speaking with a British accent, or Spanish, or French, or German, or Japanese, or Chinese, or Russian, or any of the languages spoken by those who wished to destroy this Republic and the freedoms we treasure.

You may have a low opinion of those who have kept you free but be very glad that there are those throughout our history who were willing to defend what we value. All of them gave some, and some gave all.

Bill, I'm afraid the Iraqis aren't quite as enthusiastic. From today's NYT (with excuses to RantingP):

Haithm Ali, a wiry blacksmith, was welding an iron gate in his shop in Sadr City, the vast Shiite slum in northeastern Baghdad, when he was asked for his thoughts about the country's new national assembly. Mr. Ali's face broke into a bitter smile.

"I don't expect any government to be formed," he said, his welding glasses pushed up over his forehead. "And they won't find any solutions to the situation we find ourselves in."

Nothing like a scientific poll is possible yet in Iraq. But as the national assembly's first brief meeting came and went, broadcast into thousands of Iraqi homes on television, a sampling of street opinion in two Iraqi cities found a widespread dismay and even anger that the elections have not yet translated into a new government.

The interviews - which included members of Iraq's major religious and ethnic groups - indicated in particular a striking sense of disillusionment among Shiites, who make up 60 percent of Iraq's population but were brutally suppressed under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Ali said he had traveled a long road of disappointment since the election on Jan. 30. On that day, like many Iraqis, especially Shiites, he risked his life to vote and felt a thrilling surge of excitement about his country's future.

Since then, with Iraq's leading political groups still haggling over how to share power and suicide bombers striking almost every day, he - again, like many others - has lapsed back into cynicism.

"The president and cabinet won't do anything for this neighborhood," Mr. Ali said, sweeping an arm toward the sewage-flooded streets around him. "They are only looking out for their own interests."

Of course, this is an unscientific poll, but I'd venture somewhat more accurate than the Neocon's "poll" claiming 8 million Iraqis "voted".

Fred,

Here's the tip of the proverbial iceberg on great Americans who have contributed to freedom & democracy.

Henry David Thoreau
Wendell Berry
Ken Kesey
Gary Snyder
Jackie Robinson
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Branch Rickey
Emma Goldman
Mother Jones
Walt Whitman
Allen Ginsberg
Paul Krassner
Abby Hoffman
John Taylor Gatto
Harriet Tubman
Ron Kovics
Ralph Nader
Jerry Brown
Rosa Parks
Susan B. Anthony
Daniel Ellsberg
Patti Smith
Paul Robeson
Jim Hightower
Muhammed Ali
Stewart Brand
Buckminster Fuller
Dick Gregory
Bruce Springsteen
Tom Robbins
Tim Robbins
Susan Sarandon
Ward Churchill
Winona LaDuke
Hunter Thompson
Wes Jackson
Robert Rodale, Jr.
Lenny Bruce
William McDonough
Smedley Butler
Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Rachel Carson
Amory Lovins
Hunter Lovins
Paul Hawken
Michael Moore

I make the distinction between "voted" and voted this way. When the Iraqis "voted", they cast ballots for a slate of candidates whose names and backgrounds they had no information on as distinguished from our style of voting, where people, even if they vote for candidates they know nothing about, at least know their candidate's name. And while we have our own homegrown types of disenfranchisement, in Iraq whole blocks of "voters" couldn't or wouldn't participate. Look at the administration's prop aganda on how many Iraqis voted, first %83, then %78, then %60, etc.

How about their lies on Afghanistan's turnout - claiming at one point %106 of the adult population turned out! Speaking of Afganistan, it's now the largest narco-state in the world - how's that for reducing terrorism?

The Iraq War is a monumental mistake. The election was a sham. Any amount of spin you want to make won't change that...

Mark,
I am really offended by your comment above: "I recognize the incredible amount of bullshit that underlies our national mythology and the economic dilemmas that can cause some ignorant, unfortunate person to sign up." My brother, who is a captain in the Air Force, DID sign up because of an economic dilemma: he needed to pay for college. It's the same way my dad got to college, on the GI Bill. Just because they were not economically priveleged enough to be able to go to college without ROTC does NOT mean that they are ignorant. Yes, it is true that many lower-income kids (and especially kids of color) have no other way to go to college than through ROTC or the GI Bill, and this is shameful--we should offer many more options for people to access higher education than military service. But to make the blanket & insulting statement that anyone who signs up for military service is ignorant smacks of classism, and, in my opinion, shows that you an appalling lack of respect for lower-income people who have to make tough choices that the priveleged are not faced with.

Fred,

My studies of history and current events lead me to believe that many died in the name of freedom & religion, but there is precious little evidence that they died to actually protect our freedom & democracy. In fact, there is much evidence that they were used.

Mark,

Where's Martin Sheen, Jane Fonda, Ted Turner, Robert Reford? Barbra Streisand doesn't even make the cut?

How can someone oppose dealing with dictators? Next someone will be spouting the whole "well maybe democracy isn't right for everyone" crap that I hear on campus occasionally.

I imagine that many of the people here would have opposed intervening to rid the world of Fascism.

Mark, I notice that your list includes very few people who actually defended our freedoms and those of others when our colors called. While you have many notable names that certainly deserve recognition, I fail to see how a man like Michael Moore qualifies as a "great American" - a man who is guilty of just as maliciously slanted spin as he accuses others of. You may as well throw in Tokyo Rose with a man like that.

As the world powerhouse, we have a duty to spread democracy and protect those who cannot protect themselves from tyranny. If you don't like the idea of peace through strength, then maybe you would like China or Russia to take the lead in world politics? Even if you're not a fan of American hegemony, you should at least realize that the world is a better place with us than it would be with an empire-builder (Tibet, Sinxiang, and all of Eastern Europe can attest to how fun that is). All we do is stop genocides and set up friendly democracies.

Long live the Republic!

 

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