Follow the Soapbox
 
Join us in urging the German government to order the U.S. to close the Ramstein Air Base used for drone surveillance and drone attacks around the world. German human rights organizations have been pushing to close this base and are asking organizations in the U.S. to join the call.
Sponsored by the US Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative, Cindy Sheehan, and Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox Radio Show.

Tuesday, May 26at 3:30pm - 5:30pm

German Embassy Washington
4645 Reservoir Rd, Washington
District of Columbia 20007


Join us on Facebook

 
 
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“We can solve many of our problems with a higher level of consciousness”

Please join an amazing group of evolutionary leaders, pioneers   and visionaries who are coming together on Sat/Sun May 30-31 when Pier 35 is  transformed into a high impact idea-into-action conference and expo center.

There's something amazing about an event whose time has come

Free Exposition Hall Open to the Public!  Low Cost Idea-into-Action   Seminars -  Recorded for Broadcast and Social Action Networks!

PopUpsters and @access  are uniting local, regional and International  leaders and pioneers of a new economy on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday,  May 31 at Pier 35, 1454 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, for two days of  smart conversations, connection, ideas and actions to create long-term  systems and solutions based on whole-system thinking to strengthen area  communities as well as communities around the world


Tickets    Schedule   Presenters   Exhibit      Website Homepage


WHAT'S POSSIBLE? THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS

 Many of our current, pre-existing systems and infrastructures are  based on Industrial Age thinking  are failing and continue to break  down.  By uniting key pioneers and organizations creating stronger and more resilient projects, we have the potential to create smarter cities,  healthier communities, better health and wellness based on prevention  instead of disease management, better education, sustainable development  and ethical leadership.

 This unprecedented event series features

 Ideas into action Seminars

  • Keynote Presentations from Innovators, Pioneers and Future Legends
  • Collaborative hubs of Activity
  • A Global Partnership Accelerator
  • Free Exhibit Hall open to the public
  • Many opportunities for partnership creation and development
  • Tickets are only $39 in Advance until May 25th
  • Student Tickets only $10
Event recorded for TV Broadcast and Interactive Multimedia

POSSIBL  is being recorded for broadcast for our Broadcast Partnerships,  Free Speech TV and the Real News Network. Through the broadcast and dissemination of the ideas-into-action conversations that take place at  POSSIBL we will be sharing the programming with  leaders, business  improvement directors, community leaders and ministers of health from  around the world.

Many of us are collaboratively enabling new possibilities towards a better ecosystem that truly serves the needs of the communities, including those who live there work there.  Many of these resources and ideas have been hidden until now and it is the intention of POSSIBL to clearly  demonstrate and showcase A BETTER WAY FORWARD.

Experts and pioneers from the worlds of human rights, media literacy, the arts and culture, health and wellness, civil rights and sustainable development will kick-off the event with high-impact conversations about the new possibilities for a more empowered community and global  ecosystems, including:

 Mickey Huff, Project Censored

  • Sarah Van Gelder, Yes Magazine
  • Dr. Brian Kelly, President, Life West Chiropractic College
  • Marilyn Schlitz, CEO Emeritus, Institute for Noetic Sciences
  • Michael Levitin, Editor-in-Chief, Occupy.com
  • Ken Burrows, SFSU, Holistic Studies
  • Natalie Nava, The Story of Stuff Project
  • Jamie Lee Williams, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Michael Nagler, The Metta Center for Non-Violence
  • Khafre James, Hip Hop for Change
  • Kevin Kunze, Filmmaker "Mobilize"
  • Isabelle Wachsmuth, World Health Organization
  • Dana Ullman, Homeopathic.com
  • Barry James Dyke, Author, "The Pirates of Manhattan"
  • CIndy Sheehan, Celebrated Peace Activist and anti-War demonstrator
 POSSIBL is designed to shed the light on new opportunities and new  ecosystems to enable a brighter future, impact, connection, enable human  potential, and re-imagine ways of enabling a better strategy that is of  service to the communities, both those who live there—and who work there.


Please join us for the important conversation.  Many of us are working  on development new systems and ideas that have the potential to enable  more potential, prosperity, freedom, human rights and solutions for the  long term.

POSSIBL: A BETTER WAY FORWARD

San Francisco, May 30-31

 Produced by Pop Upsters and @access

www.possibl4.us



 
 
The Answer to the Police Murder of Walter Scott,

Michael Brown, Eric Garner and thousands more unarmed black and Latino people...
WILL BE DELIVERED IN THE STREETS

April 14 National Call to STOP Wanton Police Murder
NO SCHOOL! NO WORK! STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL!


What: Nationwide Shut-Down Day to Stop Police Killings of Unarmed People

When: Tuesday April 14

Where: 28 locations nationwide

The call to “stop business as usual” on Tuesday April 14 because “the normal routine of this society includes wanton police murder of Black and Brown people” is aimed, says the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, at ending “end the system putting its stamp of approval on police murdering people.”

Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a co-initiator with Dr. Cornel West of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network said this week, “Everybody needs to be in the streets on A14 saying NO MORE to police killing people again and again and getting away with it. These are our youth being beaten down, warehoused in prison & shot down in the streets. I don’t care if you’re Black, Latino, Asian or white; these are our youth and we have to stop what’s being done to them.”

Dix, Dr. West and the families of 30 unarmed people killed by police around the U.S. will be joined for Tuesday's “national shut down day” by Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III; musicians Arturo O'Farrill and Tom Morello; antiwar leader Cindy Sheehan; performers Eve Ensler and Jasiri X.

Cornel West (video) “They’ve been shooting young folk for so long—older folk too– but when it reaches that point of such unadulterated disrespect if you don’t straighten your back up and go somewhere, something is wrong...That's why we're gonna march on April 14th.”

Nicholas Heyward Sr. whose 13 year old son was killed by NYPD in 1994, said, “He wasn’t just killed, he was murdered. Whenever you shoot an innocent unarmed human being who isn’t committing any crimes, that is considered murder...Since Nicholas Jr was murdered, there has been over 300 innocent unarmed humans that were also murdered by the NYPD – and I’m just talking New York City.”

Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, NYC: "I am supporting mass protest on April 14. Shut It Down! We think pressure needs to stay on for justice in regards to the killing of Eric Garner, and of Black and Brown people all across the country. April 14 we will assemble on Union Square North at 2 p.m. We want to make sure that we all are there. We want to see our congregations, our ministers and pastors around the city there on that day, and we will continue to press our case for justice."

Playwright Eve Ensler "On April 14 I will walk out and stand up with #ShutDownA14 to say with all my heart that the murder of black and brown people by the police MUST stop. That there must be immediate justice for all the victims of brutal, murdering police.”

List of planned events Tuesday April 14: http://stopmassincarceration.net/content/plansa14

Contact Stop Mass Incarceration Network for interviews.


 
 
We have an excellent lineup of the leading authorities on criminal justice reform and police accountability for our year-end panel discussion. Angela J. Davis is a leading authority on prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Jonathan Smith is the former Department of Justice Chief of the Special Litigation section. His section was responsible for the report on Ferguson. Dr. Phil Lee has an extensive background in critical race theory and history of the police in America. Come early seating is limited.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081663348514227/
 
 
CNN- By Laurie Ure, CNN- 03/22/2015
Washington (CNN)Hundreds of protesters on Saturday marked the 12-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War by rallying in front of the White House and then marching to the Capitol, rejecting an "endless war."

The group carried mock coffins, dropping them off in front of the White House and near lawmaker offices at the Russell Senate Office Building near the Capitol. Along the way, they also dropped coffins in front of various defense contractor offices.

The "Spring Rising" event was organized by the Answer Coalition, which characterized the rally as "an antiwar intervention."

Speakers at the rally expressed concern about U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, its drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and its "provocation" in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The assembled warned against war with Iran.

The United States and its allies are negotiating a possible deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program. If such a deal is not reached, the United States has not completely ruled out a future military strike to prevent the Iranian regime from developing a nuclear weapon.

One of the event's key organizers, activist Cindy Sheehan, told CNN that President Barack Obama has expanded the U.S. war footprint "to more countries than even (former President George W.) Bush."

"With the new authorization to use military force being requested by the President to Congress, it was urgent to come to Washington, D.C. We're in opposition to that," said Sheehan, who was a leader of the opposition to the Iraq War. Her son Casey, an Army specialist, died in 2004 while serving in Iraq.

The group was peaceful, and there were no arrests.

CNN's Brandie Patterson contributed to this report.


 
 
Press TV- 03/22/2014
Antiwar activists protested an “endless war” on the 12-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion by demonstrating in front of the White House and then marching to the Capitol.

As a symbolic gesture on Saturday, the protesters dropped mock coffins in front of the White House and near lawmaker offices as well as offices of several security contractors in Washington DC, CNN reported.

The rally, dubbed the "Spring Rising”, was organized by the ANSWER Coalition, a protest group consisting of many antiwar and civil rights organizations which is “dedicated to the fight against racism and imperialism.”

Speakers at the event condemned the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone attacks targeting civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia as well as US “provocation” in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

They also warned against war with Iran.

Cindy Sheehan, one of the rally’s key organizers, criticized US President Barack Obama for expanding the US wars to include more countries than even his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"With the new authorization to use military force being requested by the President to Congress, it was urgent to come to Washington, D.C. We're in opposition to that," Sheehan, whose son US Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, died in Iraq 2004, told CNN.

A similar rally was also held in Los Angeles, where demonstrators slammed the US military involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The protesters chanted antiwar slogans and carried coffins and banners as they marched through the streets.

The US and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In October 2004, however, a CIA report revealed that Saddam did not have an active WMD program at the time of the invasion.

HRJ/HRJ
 
 
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OpEd News
by Medea Benjamin
03/19/2015



March 19 marks two gloomy anniversaries: the 12th anniversary of US invasion of Iraq and the 5th anniversary of the NATO intervention in Libya. Both overthrew Arab dictators; both left the local people in such horrific straits that many of them look back with nostalgia to the days of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi.

I was in Iraq with a dozen of my CODEPINK colleagues a month before the US invasion in 2003. While we found a country wracked by 13 years of draconian Western sanctions and a people scared to openly criticize Saddam Hussein, we also found a middle class country with an extremely well-educated population where women made up the majority of university students and participated in all aspects of public life.

I'll never forget my first conversation with an Iraqi woman in Baghdad, Eman Khammas. "Oh, you're from the United States," she remarked in perfect English. "Who is your favorite black woman poet? Do you like Nikki Giovanni or June Jordan or Alice Walker?" Taken aback, I asked how she knew about these women. "I studied them when I was doing my English degree at the University of Baghdad," she replied somewhat condescendingly, as if that were common knowledge.

Today Khammas and her family are refugees, as are millions of Iraqis who were forced to flee the violence unleashed by "Operation Iraqi Freedom." By 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that the number of people fleeing Iraq reached 2 million and that within Iraq there were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people. With the civil war raging today, that number has only increased, as have deaths. An academic study published in 2013 found that nearly half a million Iraqis had died from war-related causes since the US-led invasion in 2003.

While military contractors made out like bandits, US taxpayers wasted $1.7 trillion dollars on the Iraq war; money that could have funded healthcare and education here at home. American families lost 4,488 of their loved ones, with tens of thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD and other war-related maladies.

- Advertisement - Yes, the US overthrew Saddam Hussein, but it also destroyed the nation's infrastructure and tore asunder the societal fabric. By disbanding the entire Iraqi military and bureaucracy, and supporting a sectarian Shia government, the US created a power vacuum -- a space for ISIS to seize power. ISIS currently controls a huge swath of Iraq, some 13,000 square miles, and wreaks havoc on the predominantly Shia'a population by carrying out ethnic cleansing, taking women as slaves, beheading children, and displacing entire communities.

Libya is a similarly tragic tale. When the peaceful protests against Muammar Gaddafi were met with government violence, an armed rebellion emerged that called for military help from the West. With NATO's help in this "humanitarian intervention," Gaddafi was overthrown in October 2011.

A summary of the intervention in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs concluded: "By any measure, NATO succeeded in Libya. It saved tens of thousands of lives from almost certain destruction. It conducted an air campaign of unparalleled precision, which, although not perfect, greatly minimized collateral damage. It enabled the Libyan opposition to overthrow one of the world's longest-ruling dictators. And it accomplished all of this without a single allied casualty and at a cost -- $1.1 billion for the United States and several billion dollars overall -- that was a fraction of that spent on previous interventions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq."

Today, Libya is considered a "failed state" run by extremist militias and two opposing governments vying for power. Ex-rebel commanders, former exiles, Islamists, tribal leaders are all fighting for control, leaving no authoritative government or legitimate institutions.

Before the "liberation," Libya was the richest country in Africa. It provided all Libyans with free healthcare and education. Today Libyans have almost no functioning public services, with daily blackouts and water shortages.

On the anniversaries of these two epic failures in Iraq and Libya, anti-war activists are gathering for four days of actions from March 18-21. They will protest the past interventions, the present-day US participation in wars in the Middle East and the possibility of a new war with Iran. "As people are being killed by the Empire every day, billions of dollars that could be used for education, housing, healthcare, and sustainable and clean forms of energy are being poured into these Imperial wars for the profit of a few and the heartache of many," said Spring Rising organizer Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son was killed in Iraq.

The activities include a "spring cleaning of Congress," where activists will march into the offices of the most hawkish members of Congress, dusting off the cobwebs of war and the fingerprints of military contractors. They'll take a bus tour of warmakers and their enablers, including the Pentagon, the FBI, the lobby group AIPAC and the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. The gathering will culminate at a rally at the White House on Saturday, March 21.

*****

In an interview with VICE news, for the first time President Obama admitted that ISIS was a "direct outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq that grew out of our invasion." He called it an example of "unintended consequences." But his conclusion that we should "aim before we shoot" was off the mark. A more accurate conclusion is that we shouldn't shoot at all, we shouldn't invade other people's countries and try to socially engineer their societies to ally with our economic interests.

On our trip to Iraq under Saddam Hussein in 2003, in hushed voices, a group of women told us that they wanted to be freed from the oppressive regime they were living under. But with the US invasion pending, they pleaded with us, "Go home and tell your government that our liberation will not come on the wings of US bombs or from the barrels of US guns. Go home and tell your government that we will liberate ourselves." If only our leaders would listen.

Www.globalexchange.org

Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace


 
 
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11 March 2015
By Nick Mottern


It's estimated that the attack against Mosul in Iraq that the United States is hoping to launch to remove ISIS governance, using Iraq troops, will result in 1.5 million refugees. Two million people were already "displaced" in the fighting over Mosul last summer, according to McClatchy News.

The warnings of the new refugee flood coming from the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross may have been a factor causing the Obama administration to back off from publicizing a spring assault on Mosul. But the US plan is apparently still in place to use Iraqis and Kurds to retake Mosul on behalf of the US puppet government in Baghdad.

Clearly civilians will be the primary casualties in the slaughter that is now being engineered in Washington. The assault by Iraqi troops against Tikrit that began on March 2, 2015, reported The New York Times, could come at a great cost, given "the prominent role of Shiite militias, which are feared by the Sunni population." Most people in Mosul are Sunni.

The historic playbook of US military intervention, as well as propaganda coming from the Congress and television commentators, suggests that US troops will soon re-penetrate Iraq en masse to "assist" in fighting ISIS - ISIS being the latest great evil identified by an American government controlled by oil moguls, weapons makers and bankers.

"Legal" cover for this latest tragedy to be visited on the Iraqi people by the United States is intended to be provided by President Barack Obama's new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), now before the Congress. There, debate on the bill seems to be about how much more suffering America will continue to deliver to the people of Iraq, not whether the bill should be scrapped, along with the existing AUMF.

The current AUMF has been used to justify, among other crimes against humanity: the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq; the drone war; torture; the horror that is Guantanamo prison; assassinations by special operations death squads; domestic and international electronic surveillance of hundreds of millions of people; and other vile activities that will probably never be fully documented.

What is so extraordinary about this situation is that an objective analysis of what the United States has been doing under the AUMF would find that these actions have been a total failure practically, as well as morally and legally. For example, US killing and detention in Iraq created the ground from which ISIS sprang. The violence the United States continues to perpetrate in the Middle East appears to be a major factor drawing recruits to ISIS.

On Saturday, March 21, there will be a noon rally in front of the White House not only to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, that some estimates find brought the deaths of more than a million Iraqis, but also to demand a halt to US bombing and drone attacks everywhere and total withdrawal of US forces, covert as well as overt, from the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The rally and march will be the culmination of "Spring Rising," which starts on the afternoon of March 18, with a meet and greet and an evening of music, and includes on Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20: lobbying on Capitol Hill organized by CODEPINK; a bus tour of work places in Washington of war planners and profiteers, organized by Cindy Sheehan; and at least six teach-ins that will include learning about the relationship of US military activity to climate change as well as to the militarization of US policy and the military's lack of accountability.

If it will be a hardship to be in Washington, then please do your utmost to organize an event in your community.

March 21 is a critical moment in history when we must be in the street.

Reprinted by permission of the Author


 
 
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By KEITH ROGERS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
03/06/2015

INDIAN SPRINGS — Metro police arrested Father Louis Vitale and 32 others early Friday for trespassing at Creech Air Force Base where 140 peace activists had gathered to protest U.S. drone operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan that are controlled remotely at the base, 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The protesters, who anticipated as many as 30 arrests for civil disobedience, blame operators of remotely piloted Predator and Reaper aircraft for killing innocent civilians in their attempts to curb overseas terrorist attacks with laser-guided Hellfire missiles and smart bombs.

“Shut down Creech!” the throng chanted after Las Vegas police gave a five-minute warning for the crowd to disperse as base personnel arrived at 7:20 a.m.

“This is an outrage to God and the universe,” Vitale, a Franciscan priest from Oakland, Calif., said as he knelt on the base side of a white line on an entrance road.

“Here we are reaching out thousands of miles away and killing people. It’s a horrible thing,” he said as police approached to apprehend him. “I have talked to people here that work on the drones … scared to death and say, ‘I love the Air Force but can’t stand what I do.’ ”

The protest was nonviolent. No one was injured.

Creech officials provided a reaction to a Review-Journal query early in the week that quotes the 432nd Wing commander, Col. Jim Cluff.

“We respect the members’ rights to protest peacefully, and as we’ve done in the past,” he said. “We are working closely with civilian law enforcement to ensure safety of those entering and exiting the base, as well as the safety of those protesting off base.”

In all, about 25 were arrested in three waves of civil disobedience actions outside two base entrances. They were arrested on state misdeamnor charges of trespass or pedestrian in the roadway.

The protest was organized by contingents of peace and faith-based activists, including those from the Nevada Desert Experience, Veterans for Peace and Code Pink, of Women for Peace.


 
 
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Imperialism, the Islamic State and the Policy of Endless War posted by ANSWER Coalition - National | 5pt
February 19, 2015 Why we are marching in Washington, D.C., on Saturday March 21, 2015, to say NO to authorization for new war in Iraq and Syria


A statement by Brian Becker, Director of the ANSWER Coalition On Saturday, March 21 the ANSWER Coalition is taking a lead role, as part of a broader coalition, in organizing a National March in Washington, D.C., to oppose the policy of “endless war" in Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. The March 21 National March will gather at the White House at 12:00 Noon and will be the culmination of four days of actions in the Capitol. The events are being organized under the banner of Spring Rising.

This is a critical moment as the Obama administration seeks Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the Middle East and perhaps beyond.

I hope you will participate in these actions, spread the word and show your support.

This message is written to explain why we consider the situation now to be of critical importance.

A grave moment We are on the eve of what is being planned as a decades-long war — a war that will expand and grow. Although there was a promise by the President to “limit” the war, that should be understood as merely a talking point to soothe a skeptical public. If Obama had said that he was ordering a new “surge” of tens of thousands of troops to Iraq there would be massive anti-war protests in the streets of this country.

The President couldn’t risk that. Neither could the chest-thumping Republicans who always depict Obama as a weak leader. They too are afraid to tell the public that this is just the start and that the commitment will lead to a huge number of troops in Iraq — that military advisers and trainers will not succeed in defeating the Islamic State and that their failure will result in a steady expansion of U.S. troops to the battlefield.

Despite the initial promise of “No Boots on the Ground” we now see several thousand more U.S. troops in Iraq. On February 14, the Pentagon announced that it is sending a 4,000-strong brigade equipped with heavy weaponry to Kuwait. Massive U.S. airpower is deployed on bases and ships in the region. Iraqi cities and towns will be bombed again but the “limited war” will not succeed any more than it did in Vietnam and thus there will be a call for more and then more troops.

The U.S. Army has set up a Division Headquarters in Iraq. The only reason to establish such a Headquarters is for it to lead a Division. The Division hasn’t arrived yet but it will. A Division consists of 20,000 troops.

The problems in Iraq and Syria today are the consequences of U.S. military action. More U.S. military action now will strengthen the Islamic State, not weaken it. The catastrophe of an open-ended U.S. war will impact not only the people of the region, but the entire globe. To say that the stakes are high does not capture the magnitude of the possible disaster.

Now is the time for people to go into the streets to say NO to Congressional authorization for endless war.

U.S. military action broke up Iraq, Syria and Libya There is a great deal of confusion about what the Obama administration is doing and why they are doing it. The confusion is caused by the deceptive presentation about the U.S. military struggle against the so-called Islamic State.

The Islamic State has established a formidable military presence in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and its influence is growing in other countries as well.

We must tell the truth, expose the lies and help the people of this country understand how they are being deceived by the Pentagon and the leadership of both the Republicans and Democrats.

The U.S. military strategy in the Middle East has been and is the primary catalyst for the growth of the Islamic State. Now, fighting the Islamic State is the public rationale for authorization for an open ended war by the Pentagon in the Middle East. That will require military bases, thousands of troops, fighter jets and hundreds of billions of dollars in military expenditures.

The Pentagon destroyed the secular governments and state apparatus in Iraq and Libya that created the political space for the rise of the Islamic State and other right-wing Islamic militias. The CIA, through Jordan and Turkey, coordinated the massive foreign arms flow into Syria to those the State Department and the mainstream media labeled “freedom fighters” from 2011 to 2014. Flush with arms and funding from abroad, and their victory in Libya, these armed units successfully captured large areas of Syrian territory from the government. These spaces have been used to create the so-called Islamic State Caliphate.

In August/September 2013, Secretary of State Kerry and his neo-conservative friends in Congress were demanding that the United States start the massive bombing of the Syrian Army. That was prevented only by the grassroots anti-war opposition in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. Kerry and McCain led the charge for the bombing of the Syrian Arab Army at that time and not once during that entire episode did they call for military action against the Islamic State. By then (August/September 2013) the Islamic State and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra were the dominant military force in the armed opposition in Syria and would have been the prime beneficiary of U.S. military action.

The rise of the Islamic State is the direct outcome of U.S. military policies Without the criminally destructive actions of U.S. politicians and the Pentagon high command, the Islamic State would not exist today except perhaps as a very small entity.

Under the direction of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon invaded Iraq. U.S. authorities immediately dissolved the national government and the national army. Since the UN would not authorize this action, the Bush White House premised the “legality” of its actions on the spineless Congressional Authorization of October 2002.

As a direct result of this premeditated act of aggression, the nation of Iraq fragmented along ethnic and sectarian lines. Bush and Cheney, after ordering the dissolution of the Iraqi government, established their own military dictatorship in Iraq under the control of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Led by an American, L. Paul Bremer, who did not even speak Arabic, the CPA tore up Iraq’s Constitution and set about to re-create Iraq under the tutelage of American military occupation. From the beginning, the U.S. occupation, both wittingly and unwittingly, fragmented Iraq along ethnic and religious lines.

In response to the Iraqi armed resistance – unanticipated by Washington – against the occupation that began in the summer of 2003, U.S. officials consciously re-organized and funded Iraqi political life and the government on a strictly sectarian basis: A Shiite would be Prime Minister, a Kurd would be President, a Sunni would be the Speaker of the National Assembly. And then, starting in 2004, in an effort prevent the emergence of unified, nationwide Iraqi resistance front, U.S. occupation officials and the Pentagon and CIA started funding militias whose identity was anchored in religion or ethnicity. It was a classic divide-and-conquer tool that British colonialism had employed in the Indian sub-continent and throughout its far-flung empire.

It was precisely U.S. policies that fragmented Iraq. And today, Iraq as it existed up until 13 years ago is no more. That is why the Islamic State exists as a force in Iraq.

The areas that the Islamic State now control are the population centers that were bombed and occupied by U.S. military forces, marginalized and brutalized by the U.S.-created central Iraqi government and the sectarian militias who supported the government.

The urgent task of the anti-war movement in the United States As we know — and knew then — the invasion of Iraq was based entirely on lies. It was an aggression based on power alone.

The criminals who ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq were not arrested nor are they demonized in the U.S. media. In fact, both Bush and Cheney are making large sums of money giving speeches, engaged in partisan fundraising, and writing and selling books while they appear on television talk shows to render their opinion on this or that issue.

For those who argue that the “United States must do something” in Iraq, it must be pointed out that the “something” is the bombing of the very cities and towns in Iraq that the U.S. military bombed and brutally occupied during the Bush years. The “something” is the arming and directing of sectarian militias and the national Iraqi army that for the past years has carried out a reign of terror against the population centers that are now under the control of the Islamic State.

It is important to think through the contradictory public positions adopted by the U.S. government — again, including both its Democratic and Republican wings.

U.S. foreign policy is an imperialist policy. Having wreaked so much destruction and suffering on the peoples of the Middle East, it is either crudely naive or an act of unabashed cynicism to assert that the Pentagon can be the agency to bring justice in the same countries it violently destroyed. The growing strength of the Islamic State and other such reactionary political forces is a dominant problem for progressive people in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world. For the past half century, the U.S. foreign policy and military strategy has been to destroy leftist and secular anti-imperialist movements and governments that constituted the leadership of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements in the region. Having fulfilled that agenda, the officialdom in United States should not act surprised that loathsome organizations like the Islamic State have risen to fill the void.

Progressive forces in the Middle East are locked in a life-and-death struggle for the leadership of society against brutal reactionaries like the Islamic State. U.S. military action is not designed to nor can it help them. We, in the West, can offer political support and solidarity for their struggle to rescue the region from imperialism, the reactionary monarchies, the Israeli military machine and the revanchist reactionaries like the Islamic State.

For our part, progressive people in the United States have to mobilize now against the policies of our “own” government that has created a firestorm of destruction in the Middle East and now seeks “authorization” for decades more of war in the same countries and against the same peoples. Authorized by an imperial establishment, the policy of endless war that will be carried out by the Pentagon military machine can only lead to more suffering – neither peace nor liberation for the targeted peoples.

It is urgent that we revive the broad anti-war movement. Let’s start with the March 21 National March gathering at 12:00 Noon at the White House and by joining in the other actions scheduled in the days before in Washington, D.C.

Click here for a detailed list of the March 18-21 Spring Rising events.

Statement of Brian Becker, Director of the ANSWER Coalition

For more info go to: http://www.ANSWERCoalition.org.
Click this link to make an urgently needed donation to build the anti-war movement.