Kevin Martin / Peace Action – 2004-05-07 09:13:21
We just returned earlier today from Israel/Palestine, where we witnessed, as in Iraq, the devastating effects of military force on a civilian population. In both places, that force is coming from the US, with heart-breaking consequences for the local peoples. As a Zapatista, I know that the same sad story is true in Latin America as well.
With all that in mind, I forward a message from Kevin Martin, the Executive Director of Peace Action, on the ongoing crisis in Iraq. While it is addressed primarily to the Peace Action network in the US, it will give those of you in other countries a glimpse at what we are trying to do to end this madness.
To those of you reading this who may be US citizens, I urge you, as a member of Peace Action, to join us in the tremendous task that we face in reclaiming democracy in our own country, and turning from violence and brutality in our relations with other countries, toward a foreign policy based on humanity, respect for human rights, and international law.
The Worsening Iraq Crisis
Kevin Martin / Peace Action
(May 6, 2004) — I am sure you share my disgust, outrage and sorrow at the worsening quagmire in Iraq. The ongoing, widening revelations of torture in the prisons, the new military assault begun today in southern Iraq, the announcement that 138,000 troops will remain in Iraq at least through 2005, the Administration finally acknowledging it will request a $25 billion supplemental appropriation for the war (which is just a down payment on much, much more money for occupation) — the news from just this week boggles the mind and tries the soul.
• Even conservative commentators are saying the revelations of torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, which have outraged the world, will make the US and Americans less safe. We need to make this point strongly, and it connects perfectly with our call for a new direction in US foreign policy based on democracy and human rights.
• While Bush and Rumsfeld claim to be revolted by the actions of a few out of control soldiers, Rumsfeld himself set the tone by claiming two years ago the US is no longer bound by the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of prisoners in wartime situations. See the lead editorial on this in today’s edition of the pro-war Washington Post at www.washingtonpost.com (The Postalso published more sickening photos of abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison today.)
• Dumping Rumsfeld, as the Administration appears to be considering, is not the answer. The whole war policy is wrong, and we need an exit strategy, now, to get the US out of Iraq, replace US forces with a short-term international security force, transfer real political authority to the Iraqi people, and re-build Iraq with Iraqis doing the rebuilding, not Halliburton, Bechtel and company.
The two major anti-war coalitions Peace Action belongs to, United for Peace and Justice and Win Without War, are collaborating on calls to action later this month. The United for Peace and Justice call centers around Congressional pressure and grassroots lobbying visits when Congressmembers are at home for the pre-Memorial Day recess the last week of May.
The alert and supporting materials are at
The Win Without War call for coordinated grassroots actions at post offices later in May, to deliver a “special delivery” message to Bush to end the war, should be ready to distribute tomorrow, we’ll let you know as soon as it is ready.
The National staff is preparing materials connecting the current outrages in Iraq with the need to mobilize the peace vote in this year’s elections. The national board meets next weekend, May 15-16 in Sacramento, California and will take up these issues as well
Friends, if you feel anything like I do, it’s hard to get up in the morning and face the daily news of the accelerating fast train to hell our government is driving. Please, take care of yourselves, and each other, we have so much important work to do to turn our country around.
Peace and Love,
Kevin Martin Executive Director Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund 1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1020 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone (301) 565-4050, ext. 307 Fax (301) 565-0850 www.peace-action.org