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Obama Declares War on Iraq an Honorable Success 2 Weeks Early for April Fool's Day

President Proclaims ‘National Day of Honor’

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012 – On the ninth anniversary of U.S. forces moving into Iraq, President Barack Obama has proclaimed today to be “A National Day of Honor.”

Here’s is the text of the president’s proclamation:

"Nine years ago, members of the United States Armed Forces crossed the sands of the Iraq-Kuwait border and began one of the most challenging missions our military has ever known. They left the comforts of home and family, volunteering in service to a cause greater than themselves. They braved insurgency and sectarian strife, knowing too well the danger of combat and the cost of conflict. Yet, through the dust and din and the fog of war, they never lost their resolve. Demonstrating unshakable fortitude and unwavering commitment to duty, our men and women in uniform served tour after tour, fighting block by block to help the Iraqi people seize the chance for a better future. And on December 18, 2011, their mission came to an end."

Wait. Wasn't it more challenging when the U.S. military used to fight wealthy, armed nations?  Isn't sacrificing for a cause a separate question from whether the cause was worthwhile?  Isn't braving insurgency and sectarian strife an inevitable part of occupying someone else's country and using death squads to stir up sectarian strife?  Isn't fighting block by block an atrocity, because people live there?  Isn't helping the Iraqi people against the will of the Iraqi people a bit arrogant?  Didn't the mission come to an end because the Iraqi people compelled the Iraqi government to no longer allow criminal immunity for US troops and mercenaries killing, raping, and pillaging?  Didn't the mission end without finding the mythical weapons, without forcing the Iraqis to accept U.S. domination, and with the country essentially destroyed -- causing a majority of Iraqis to say they'd been better off before the invasion?

"Today, we honor their success, their service, and their sacrifice. In one of our Nation's longest wars, veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in American military history. When highways became mine fields and uncertainty waited behind every corner, service members rose to meet the task at hand with unmatched courage and determination. They learned languages and cultures, taking on new roles as diplomats and development experts to improve the communities where they served. Their strength toppled a tyrant, and their valor helped build opportunity in oppression's place. Across nearly 9 years of conflict, the glory of their service -- as well as the contributions of other members of the U.S. Government and our coalition partners -- always shone through."

Always? Even in Haditha? Even in Fallujah?  Even in Collateral Murder? Even in Nisour Square? Wait a minute: what does nine years of pointless murderous occupation have to do with overthrowing the former U.S. ally who was overthrown immediately?

"The war left wounds not always seen, but forever felt. The burden of distance and the pain of loss weighed heavily on the hearts of millions at home and overseas. Behind every member of our military stood a parent, a spouse, or a son or daughter who proudly served their community and prayed for their loved one's safe return. For wounded warriors, coming home marked the end of one battle and the beginning of another -- to stand, to walk, to recover, and to serve again. And, in war's most profound cost, there were those who never came home. Separated by time and space but united by their love of country, nearly 4,500 men and women are eternally bound; though we have laid them to rest, they will live on in the soul of our Nation now and forever. To them, to their families, and to all who served, we owe a debt that can never be fully repaid."

There's something sick about mourning the loss of life while erasing 99.5% of the losses, those of the victims, those of the people whose country we destroyed.  There's something repulsive too about mourning the damage done to the U.S. warriors while simultaneously lying about the war in order to send more such men and women into other equally criminal and senseless wars or what Obama himself used to call dumb wars.

"When we returned the colors of United States Forces-Iraq and the last of our troops set foot on American soil, we reflected on the extraordinary service and sacrifice of those who answered our country's call. Their example embodied that fundamental American faith that tells us no mission is too hard, no challenge is too great, and that through tests and through trials, we will always emerge stronger than before. Now, our Nation reaffirms our commitment to serve veterans of Iraq as well as they served us -- to uphold the sacred trust we share with all who have worn the uniform. Our future is brighter for their service, and today, we express our gratitude by saying once more: Welcome home."

Many of our veterans are homeless, as Obama dumps over half of federal discretionary spending into the war machine and lies to us all.  Better off? We destroyed our economy, lost our civil liberties, damaged the natural environment, endangered our country, brought murder and torture into acceptability, enflamed religious bigotry, and made sociocide something our president brags about.  Our future is brighter?

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 19, 2012, as a National Day of Honor. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the return of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq."

Funny how my Constitution never mentions any of the crap Obama finds in his Constitution. I hereby commit myself to getting drunk enough on St Patrick's Day to vommit appropriately on the National Day of Honor.

"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
nineteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

"BARACK OBAMA"

In my 42nd year without a lord or a dictator, I hereby cordially invite you to stick a sock in it.

Nine Years Out of Government and Pinning Hopes on Those Who Challenge it!!

By Ann Wright

Nine years ago, on March 19, 2003, I resigned from the U.S. Department of State in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the past nine years, but the concerns I have about our government and its policies have only grown—with the second 4 years of President Bush and now 3 years of President Obama.

U.S. policies continue to elicit concern/hatred around the world

U.S. continues to create and implement policies that invite concern and/or hatred from most of the people of the world while governments/heads of governments continue to be coerced, bribed, and bought off to go along with whatever the United States decides is best for itself.

Nine Years Later: More Shocked, Less Awed

By David Swanson, Remarks at the Left Forum

When I lived in New York 20 years ago, the United States was beginning a 20-year war on Iraq. We protested at the United Nations. The Miami Herald depicted Saddam Hussein as a giant fanged spider attacking the United States. Hussein was frequently compared to Adolf Hitler. On October 9, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl told a U.S. congressional committee that she’d seen Iraqi soldiers take 15 babies out of an incubator in a Kuwaiti hospital and leave them on the cold floor to die. Some congress members, including the late Tom Lantos (D., Calif.), knew but did not tell the U.S. public that the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, that she’d been coached by a major U.S. public relations company paid by the Kuwaiti government, and that there was no other evidence for the story. President George H. W. Bush used the dead babies story 10 times in the next 40 days, and seven senators used it in the Senate debate on whether to approve military action. The Kuwaiti disinformation campaign for the Gulf War would be successfully reprised by Iraqi groups favoring the overthrow of the Iraqi government twelve years later.

Join Us in DC on the 19th

A number of organizations have gathered to mark the tenth year of the Iraq invasion on March 19 at 6:30 pm at the 14th and V St Busboys & Poets.
You can find out details for the event here:
http://washingtonpeacecenter.net/node/6912.  
RSVP via Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/194107337360924/

The evening event will include time for participants to reflect on what the many years of anti-Iraq war organizing has meant to us, our communities and the movements.
 
As part of this reflection we are inviting many individuals to prepare and present a 3 to 5 minute personal story about organizing against the war, lessons learned and transformation.  Would you be interested in telling a story? 

Below are questions and guidelines to help you prepare. Please let us know if you wish to tell your story no later than Wed, 3/14.

Many thanks in advance for generously considering our request.
 
Possible story ideas:
  • tell a story from anti-iraq war organizing about a moment that made you realize why you were doing this work
  • tell a story from anti-iraq war organizing about something that made you realize a lesson about how to organize/movement build/create the world we want. 
  • how have you felt the impact of the war and the organizing in your own life
  • how has organizing against the war changed you and your life.
  • where were you during “shock and awe” – March 19, 2003?
  • what was the moment you came out against the war and why?  
  • how did the Feb 15, 2003 protests happen?
While thinking through your stories (of which we all have so many!), ask yourself “So what?”  Why do people care about this story? What can we learn and take with us? 
 
If you're interested in sharing a story, please fill out this form here: http://washingtonpeacecenter.net/iraqstories

As mentioned, below are more guidelines for thinking through your story:
 

 “A community that loses its stories loses its memory” ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Our history is kept alive when we bear witness to our significant life experiences—recalling and honoring our stories in the presence of the community.

________________________________________________________________________

Storytelling Guidelines (By Candace Wolf, Storyteller)

CHOOSING A STORY – follow these two principles:

The ‘one suitcase’ principal—

Imagine that you were suddenly ordered into political exile and allowed to take only one small suitcase. You would have to think deeply about what was most important to pack. Now, imagine that you were allowed to share ONE—and only ONE STORYfrom your anti-war/peace work. Be sure to tell a story that has great personal meaning, so that you can tell it with passion and conviction. Ask yourself: ‘Why is this story important to tell?’ Choose a story that you feel will INSPIRE in some way. ‘Inspire’ means to breathe again. Stories have the power to encourage us to take one more breath—to swim up to the surface, above our despair, above disappointments and failures—to go forward with our life and work with greater courage and determination.

The ‘personal’principle

Tell a story about something that you experienced firsthand—not just heard or read about. The story might be about a personally transformative encounter or event that is unforgettable—that still grips your soul and memory. Remember that folks listen with keen interest to compelling stories about authentic and dramatic lived experiences.

SHAPING YOUR STORY– follow these two principles:

The ‘sense of immediacy’ principle—

In order to tell your story effectively, you must reach back and reconnect with the sensations, images and emotions of the memory, so that you can take the listener on a journey through the landscape of your experience. Relive the experience in your memory and then paint a picture using vivid descriptions in order to bring the story to life for the listener.

The ‘lessons learned’ principle—

Reflect on the larger significance of your personal experience. Figure out what you want people to understand; a story ismore satisfying if the listener takes away fresh insights.

Speak from your heart....and please keep your story fairly brief: 3-5 minutes

www.washingtonpeacecenter.org

Perriellian Wars

Virginia's Fifth Congressional District had been long disgraced by the racist buffoon Democrat turned Republican Virgil Goode when Tom Perriello was elected as a non-racist buffoon Democrat in 2008.  For partisans, just getting elected and doing what President Obama told him was all Perriello needed to do.  For national "progressives" he was a star, which was usually explained to me in terms of how awful his district was relative to how limitedly awful he was. 

Israel Lobby Beats the Drums For War

 

By John Grant

 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.

Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.

Be in DC on March 19th

Iraq: 9 Years of War and Activism.  Is It Over?

On the 9th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, join us for an evening of reflection and looking forward.  

We’ll hear stories from big and small actors in the anti-Iraq occupation movement about how the past nine years impacted them and their lives, and the lasting lessons for us as a movement. 

See photos and videos from Feb 15, 2003, the largest mobilization that the world had ever seen, and other historic protests against the continued occupation.

 Also hear short panels discussing:

-          Is the occupation truly over?  What are we leaving behind?

-          What do Iraqis and US veterans want from us?

-          How is the current posturing around Iran similar and different from the buildup to Iraq?

-          What has the impact of 9 years of organizing been on the movement, the individuals who were a part of it and our ongoing collective struggles?

Date: Monday, March 19, 6:30-8:30

Location: Busboys and Poets, 14th and V St NW.

RSVP via Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/194107337360924/

Sponsored by: Washington Peace Center, Military Families Speak Out, United for Peace and Justice, Civilian-Soldier Alliance, CODEPINK, Veterans For Peace-DC Area Chapter, Peace Action, Peace Action Montgomery, DC Labor for Peace and Justice and US Labor Against the War.

Kucinich to Congress: We Must Learn from Disastrous Iraq War

Washington D.C. (February 22, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has consistently highlighted the similarities between the march to war in Iraq and the current coverage of Iran, today urged fellow Members of Congress to recognize the parallels.

Kucinich wrote to colleagues to share a recent article in the Huffington Post which documents the similarities. Kucinich wrote, “As the U.S. only now begins to extricate itself from devastating military confrontations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must not allow the United States to be plunged into yet another disastrous war.”

The full text of Kucinich’s letter follows. Read the Huffington Post article by Michael Calderone and Joshua Hersh here.

“Wait. Haven’t We Seen This Movie Before?”

Stop the Drum Beat for War with Iran

Dear Colleague:

I write to commend your attention to a recent article published in the Huffington Post regarding the parallels between the media coverage on Iran and the lead up to the disastrous U.S. war in Iraq.  Almost a decade after a U.S. war in Iraq based on lies, we are treading down a similar and dangerous path with Iran.    

As the U.S. only now begins to extricate itself from devastating military confrontations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must not allow the United States to be plunged into yet another disastrous war.  Top members of the U.S. military, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen have warned against a strike on Iran and a lack of dialogue with the country. 

Congress and the United Kingdom have passed crippling sanctions on Iran, with many touting them as a last best effort to prevent war with Iran.  Yet history does not support that claim.  Tensions with Iran are escalating rapidly and it is critical that we do everything necessary to prevent war, not take further steps that would undermine future negotiations.  Yet such negotiations will take time.  As Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council recently stated:

 

“Ultimately, the failure of diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran came down to insufficient political will and the atmosphere of mis­trust that granted neither side any margin for error. The proposals put on the table may have been flawed; at different points either side may have played for time or sought to delay talks and goodwill measures may not have been reciprocated. But these phenomena do not make U.S.-Iran talks unique; they are common features in almost all negotiations. Talks that succeed do not do so because the pro­posals are flawless and because both sides play fair. Rather, they succeed because the many flaws associated with the talks are over­come by the political will to reach a solution.”

Congress and the media have a responsibility to create the political space needed for sustained diplomatic engagement with Iran.  The United States cannot afford to repeat the mistakes it made with the war in Iraq. 

Sincerely,
/s/
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

###

Insourcing Death: What Iraq Needs Is More Weapons

 

Dear Colleague,
 
We would like to invite you to participate in our upcoming 6th Iraq Aviation and Defense Summit on March 1-2, 2012 at Sheraton Premier at Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia.
 
The 6th IADS provide attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to network and have direct access to senior ranking military officers from Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, Iraqi law enforcement agencies and government’s decision makers.
 
This summit is the only event where you can network with Iraqi officers and security ministries who are making headways on strengthening security & stability and enhancing capabilities to deter all threats against Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
 
One-on-One meetings with top Iraqi officials and decision makers are available on first-come, first-served basis. Please find below lists of confirmed speakers

The US and Its Dark Passenger

 

By John Grant

 

I could have been a vicious raving monster who killed and killed and left towers of rotting flesh in my wake. Instead, here I was on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Still a monster, of course, but I cleaned up nicely afterward, and I was OUR monster, dressed in red, white and blue 100 percent synthetic virtue.
 
-Jeff Lindsay
Dearly Devoted Dexter

 


I teach creative writing in a maximum security prison in Philadelphia. During the week I scour two thrift shops for 35-cent paperbacks that I haul in to stock a small lending library I created for inmates. Amazingly, the prison had no library.

US Ambassy in Iraq to Cut 16K Staff in Half

This move will leave this nonetheless the world's biggest embassy, just as cutting the world's biggest military in half would leave it the world's biggest military -- if only that were done.

Another War on Iraq Veteran Fails to Immediately Stop Doing What He Was Trained to Do

AP: Police investigators say a highly decorated Iraqi war veteran shot and killed his wife before fatally shooting himself in their Daytona Beach apartment.

Authorities found the bodies of 28-year-old Jason Pemberton and his 25-year-old wife Tiffany on Sunday after a neighbor called police about a dog on the couple's balcony. Police say the shootings likely occurred Saturday.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood says neighbors told them they frequently heard arguing in the apartment.

Pemberton's uncle, Darrell Pemberton of Evergreen, Ala., told the Daytona Beach News-Journal his nephew earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and other medals during three tours of duty. The uncle says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and received a medical discharge from the U.S. Army in 2009 due to a back injury.

IRAQI PEOPLE POWER

Citizens Leading the Way to Peace and Development in Iraq
 
 
A Conversation with Iraqi Civil Society Leaders
 
February 6th, 2012
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Busboys & Poets - 5th & K
1025 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

 

 
Come to Busboys & Poets (5th & K, NW) on February 6th from 6pm – 8pm to hear four prominent leaders of Iraq’s growing citizen sector speak about the current challenges and opportunities for long-term transformation following the U.S. troop withdrawal. The speakers are deeply-rooted in the complex struggles and fears still weighing heavily on Iraqi communities, and are working through Iraqi nonprofit service organizations to prevent bloodshed and help their country forge a brighter future. This is an opportunity for people who support Iraqis in their search for peace to engage Iraqi citizen leaders in informal conversation.  

An opportunity to meet four extraordinary activists with extensive knowledge of the current Iraqi situation.
Ms. Hanaa Edwar
is the secretary general of one of Iraq’s largest and oldest NGO’s, the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, founded in 1992. She has been a Human Rights,

Ms Hanaa Edwar

woman’s rights, and democracy activist for more than 40 years. In 2011 she was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau for her contribution "to the advancement of democracy and human rights,” and her "firm stand against violence and war.” Hanaa has led campaigns in Iraq for women’s equality, enhancing women’s role in decision-making positions and in the constitutional process. She was a founder of the "Civil Initiative to Preserve the Constitution,” which won an Iraqi Supreme Court lawsuit that forced the Iraqi Parliament to convene in late 2010. Hanaa holds a law degree from Baghdad University.
 
Mr. Hashim al-Assaf heads the Iraq office of the NGOs Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI), the main umbrella organization for Iraqi NGOs working in the country. As Iraq Coordinator of NCCI, Hashim works to enhance cooperation among NGOs and to strengthen civil society participation in public policy-making in Iraq. He and his staff at NCCI work to facilitate NGO relations with the Government of Iraq and are advocates for humanitarian work and the protection of human rights. Hashim has designed and implemented training sessions for Iraqi NGO staff on human rights, non-profit management, monitoring and evaluation, conflict resolution, and other topics.
 
Mr. Abdulsatar Younis is the coordinator of the Iraqi Kurdistan NGOs Network (IKNN), the voluntary association established as an umbrella network to support Kurdish and Arab NGOs registered with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). IKNN has helped shape the new KRG law regulating NGOs in the region. Abdulsatar is also the Erbil coordinator of the Iraq-wide "La Onf” (Non-Violence) network. He was the principle organizer of the October 2011 "First Iraqi International Marathon in Erbil for Peace and Nonviolence” sponsored by La Onf, which attracted hundreds of runners and received extensive coverage in the local media. During his five-year tenure at the head of IKNN Abdulsatar has also played a key role in election monitoring in Erbil.
 

Ms. Noof Assi

Ms. Noof Assi is a Baghdad activist who last year monitored and reported on the Arab Uprisings demonstrations in Baghdad. She has conducted human rights, citizenship, and conflict management training for Iraqi youth and women and taken part in advocacy activities on the problems facing Iraqi youth. Over the past four years Noof has participated in numerous training sessions offered by the National Democratic Institute in Iraq and other groups. She is also a former blogger and radio program presenter and has participated in the youth programs of the Beirut-based Arab Thought Foundation. Noof is currently working with Iraqi Al-Amal Association, one of Iraq’s largest and oldest NGOs.


United for Peace & Justice

Documentary "Incident in New Bagdad" up for Academy Award

Congratulations to Director James Spione and Ethan McCord. Ethan is the subject of the film Incident in New Baghdad, nominated for an Academy Award in documentary film.

The Haditha Massacre: No Justice for Iraqis

By Marjorie Cohn

They ranged from little babies to adult males and females.

I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood.

This left something in my head and heart.

            -Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones

Last week, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich was sentenced to a reduction in rank but no jail time for leading his squad in a rampage known as “The Haditha Massacre.” Wuterich, who was charged with nine counts of manslaughter, pled guilty to dereliction of duty. Six other Marines have had their charges dismissed and another was acquitted for his part in the massacre.

If You Want to Kill 24 People And Get Away With It, Make Sure They're Iraqis

From the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, accused in the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqis in 2005, announced an agreement Monday to settle the case.

Wuterich will plead guilty to a single count of negligent dereliction of duty. Other charges were dropped. No announcement was made on what kind of discharge Wuterich would receive.

The maximum sentence is three months in the brig. That decision will be made by the judge.

US Media Iraq Reporting: See No Evil

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.

 

On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River. 

 

N.C. Human Rights Group Report on Torture Flights

Human rights group calls on state to probe alleged 'torture flights'

19 January 2012 - A North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.

North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.

A MOMENTUM OF CYNICISM

By Robert C. Koehler

“But no matter how futile, repulsive or dysfunctional war may be,” Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in her book Blood Rites, “it persists.”

A fascinating story in the New York Times just after Christmas showed this persistence unfolding before our very eyes.

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