Death of Congress shifts resistance to military

“DEATH” OF CONGRESS SHIFTS WEIGHT OF
WAR RESISTANCE MORE HEAVILY ON MILITARY

By Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.org
March 2, 2007

One can argue that Congress died as a representative body on Feb. 16-17, 2007 when it went on record as doing nothing to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. Statements of the Democratic leadership about the war since then can be compared to the chattering of microbes in a cadaver.

The Congressional Iraq failure made it even more clear that Congress will not block an attack against Iran, despite mounting evidence that such an attack is likely within a few months if not weeks.

And nothing can be expected from Congress to reduce U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, which, in the shadow cast by the death toll in Iraq, is becoming a war and occupation with no foreseeable end, a war possibly spreading into Pakistan. Indeed, the Afghanistan Plus war seems to have wide support in the Congress.

Impeachment, a possible war deterent, say two Congressional aides of anit-war Congresspeople who prefer to remain anonymous, is not on a back burner, it is not even on the stove.

Thus, in the absence of representative government, the task of ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and escalation of violence generally, is falling immediately, directly and heavily on the shoulders of those whom the military is trying to recruit and those already in the military. Put simply: No soldiers, no war.

This development is exemplified in the February 13 “Appeal to Conscience” of retired Army Col. Ann Wright, issued at a time when it was becoming clear that Congress would very likely not reverse the escalation of any of the wars:

“I appeal to the conscience of US Air Force and US Navy pilots and military personnel who command cruise missiles and pilot bombers and those who plan the missions for the pilots and missile commanders. I ask that they refuse what I believe will be unlawful orders to attack Iran.”

The shift in antiwar burden to the military is also seen in the report in The (London) Sunday Times of February 25:

“Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.”

The newspaper said also that: “A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented.”

It is also important to note that on February 23, the US Army refiled charges in its widely publicized case against First Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq and for conduct unbecoming an officer, accusing him of making statements critical of the war or George W. Bush on four occasions. Lt. Watada faces six years in prison. His first trial ended in a mistrial earlier in February. At that time he planned to testify that he wanted to avoid committing war crimes by fighting in an illegal war.

The current political situation presents a huge challenge to anti-war groups to undertake sustained systematic grassroots education, particularly among people most involved in the wars or likely to be involved. This likely means long-term plans for touring in low-income rural as well as urban areas and to military bases, with education relying on personal contact and not dependent on press coverage.

At least three major tours/campaigns are now being organized to begin to address this need.

Before discussing them, however, it is important to note that the next major national event in anti-war mobilization, marking the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be a rally for ending the war and for impeachment on Saturday, March 17 at the Pentagon. While the rally, organized by ANSWER, is directed at Congress, it also is intended to inspire local organizing, bringing people from more than 200 communities across the country to Washington.

The rally will give a major push to impeachment, incorporating the message of Impeach 07, a group of organizations that came together in February to try to force Congress to undertake impeachment, in large part to create additional pressure on the Bush/Cheney Administration to stop war.

On the same day as the march on the Pentagon, Veterans for Peace and will hold an anti-war demonstration at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville North Carolina, followed the next day by workshops and presentations. During the remainder of the month, Veterans for Peace will conduct a bus tour visiting five other military bases in the South. Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War will also participate. (See itinerary below.)

Also on March 17, the national Make Hip Hop Not War Tour will begin with the march on the Pentagon in Washington, DC and then get underway for the University of New Hampshire in Manchester. Over the next month it will visit at least 16 cities and towns from coast to coast and back, concluding April 21 in Baltimore, Maryland.

One of the main goals of the tour is to: “Create a new network of young people, primarily from low-income communities and communities of color to respond to calls for action against war and nuclear proliferation.” One aspect of the tour, which will use a bus, will be “’Community Drive-bys’ in conjunction with door-to-door canvassing by local partner organizations where the bus will add ‘street value’ to traditional outreach.”
(See itinerary below.)

In an extremely important development, Iraq Veterans Against the War is beginning to organize a national campaign that will, according to a draft fund-raising letter:

“1. Mobilize active duty service members to resist the illegal occupation of Iraq,
“2. Amplify the voices of veterans who say that this war is not winnable, and
“3. Persuade young people considering military service that they should think twice before serving in this war.”

The campaign will begin with weekend training sessions for IVAW members. “At these intensive retreats,” the letter says, “our members will learn about the strategic concepts of our campaign and how they can be turned into practical opportunities for action at the local level.”

The campaign will focus on National Guard troops as well as regular military as these troops are expected to be engaged in increasing numbers. The Guard is also facing new rules allowing “back to back” deployment.

For more information on this campaign contact www.ivaw.org.

In addition to these actions, Citizen Soldier has established the Different Drummer Café outside Fort Drum in Watertown, NY. The café was established, says www.differentdrummercafe.org: “to provide active duty and reserve military personnel and families…with an inviting, comfortable and warm place to socialize, listen to music and enjoy other live entertainment. Soldiers will also have access to legal counseling, a bookstore, and a regular program of film showings and discussions on current issues.”

Ann Wright will be appearing at the Different Drummer on March 9 at 7 p.m.

(Perhaps the most popular film with respect to military resistance to war is “Sir, No Sir”, which gives a remarkable history of troop resistance to the Viet Nam War. The film shows the breadth and depth of this resistance, which I believe has not be documented before in such an accessible way for the general public. See www.sirnosir.com.)

Finally, GI Special provides a daily report on military resistance to the Iraq War, including news from Iraq and commentaries by troops. It is run by Thomas Barton at thomasfbarton@earthlink.net. GI Special issues are archived at www.militaryproject.org.

VETERANS FOR PEACE TOUR March 17 – 31

17 – Fayetteville, North Carolina (Fort Bragg) Mass demonstration.
18 – Fayetteville, NC – Workshops and presentations. Evening vigil at Market House
on Hay St.
19 – At Fayetteville. Film and discussion – First Christian Church (1505 Fort Bragg Rd.)
– 7 p.m.
20 – Depart Fayetteville for Ft. Jackson, SC (170 miles)
21 – Depart Ft. Jackson for Ft. Stewart, Savannah, Georgia (160 miles)
22 – Depart Ft. Stewart for Mayport/Jacksonville Naval Air Sta. (140 miles)
23 – Depart Jacksonville for Ft. Benning, Georgia (290 miles)
24 – Depart Ft. Benning for Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Montgomery, AL (90 miles)
25 – Depart Montgomery for Pascagoula, MS, via Mobile, (210 miles)
26 – 31 – Assist in Katrina rebuilding in Pascagoula.

Plans for the tour are developing on a daily basis. Monitor www.veteransforpeace.org

HIP HOP CAUCUS MAKE HIP HOP NOT WAR TOUR March 17 – April 21

March

17 – March on the Pentagon
21 – Manchester, NH (University of New Hampshire)
22 – Boston, MA
24 – New York, NY (Columbia University)
27 – Greensboro, NC (North Carolina A&T)
29 – Orangeburg, SC (South Carolina State)

April

1 – Atlanta, GA (Morehouse and Spellman College)
4 – Memphis, TN (University of Memphis)
8 – Crawford, TX (Camp Casey)
9 – Phoenix, AZ (University of Phoenix)
10 – Los Angeles, CA
11 – San Francisco, CA (University of California)
14 – Des Moines, IA (Iowa State University)
17 – Chicago, IL
18 – South Bend, IN (University of Notre Dame)
20 – Pittsburgh, PA
21 – Baltimore, MD (Morgan State University)

For specifics on the tour monitor www.hiphopcaucus.org

Originally published at ConsumersforPeace.org
We thank the author for contributing it to this blog.