20
Aug
2005

More US Legislators for Withdrawal from Iraq

The deepening division among the powers that be over the Iraq war is beginning to make itself felt among those in the legislative arena. The national legislature of the US gave Bush and company a virtual blank check for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, but the wars are coming unstuck as the numbers of dead US soldiers escalates. Discussion and debate over US policy on Iraq are more and more necessary.

The more debate there is, the more legitimate it becomes to mobilize to raise the alternative to the conquest and occupation of Iraq, which is withdrawal from that country.

In a way some of the deepest and most significant voices in the anti-war struggle now come from those like Walter Jones, that conservative legislator who made his national reputation by calling for "French Fries" to be re-dubbed "Freedom Fries" because of French opposition to Washington and its course in Iraq.

Today's edition of Pacifica Radio's DEMOCRACY NOW provides a glimpse of the wide range of anti-war sentiment which is growing daily even within the world of the military as well as among the Gold Star families.
//www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/19/1441247

Parallelling the discussion given on Democracy NOW, Mumia Abu-Jamal, reporting live from Pennsylvania's Death Row, provides an additional perspective on Cindy Sheehan's act of democratic rebellion. It's but four minutes long yet it provides the keys to reaching out and mobilizing a broad new layer into action against the war for the first time:

//www.prisonradio.org/audio/mumia/2005maj/Aug05/8-16-05TheMammB.mp3

Discussion, debate and disagreement on US foreign policy toward Iraq can only be good for the Cuban Revolution as it also helps open up possible avenues for debate over US policy toward the island, also in overdue need of change.

All out for a vigorous and united protest September 24th.

Let's all join with Cindy Sheehan who's pointing the way to reach out to a new and broader public than ever.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews //www.walterlippmann


More US Legislators for Withdrawal from Iraq

Washington, Aug 19 (Prensa Latina) Some 50 US congressmen will co-sponsor a resolution urging US President George W. Bush to announce a schedule for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Republican representative Walter Jones announced.

I think people have understood what we have been doing, said the legislator, who presented the draft last June together with another three colleagues from the House.

The proposal urges Bush to start evacuating US troops from October 1, 2006.

Besides Jones, other initial sponsors are Texas Republican Ron Paul, and Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Neil Abercrombie, from Ohio and Hawai, respectively.

The deputy said there are five conservatives among supporters of the new initiative.

There has been an increasing wave of criticism over Bush's handling of conflict in Iraq, where more than 1,860 US troops have been killed.

At least 54 percent of the US people think the US aggression of Iraq was a mistake, according to results of Gallup survey conducted just a few days ago.

mh/rma/rob

//www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-hayden16aug16,1,7418541.story An exit strategy for Iraq now By Tom Hayden TOM HAYDEN is a former state senator and the author of "Street Wars" (Dimensions, 2004).

August 16, 2005

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS so far fended off Cindy Sheehan, a grieving mother demanding to know the "noble purpose" of her son's death in Iraq. However, Bush has been forced to address the existence of the antiwar constituency for perhaps the first time, if only to distort and discredit its message of "troops out now." It is the right moment for the peace movement to turn its slogan into a strategy.

The rallying cry of "out now" expresses the belief that the Iraq war is not worth another minute in lost lives, lost honor, lost taxes, lost allies. But its very simplicity makes the demand easy to ignore or dismiss.

Meanwhile, the administration focuses on the appearance of progress in Iraq (thus its desperate interest in an Iraqi constitution, any constitution). It may well order a token withdrawal of troops to pacify peace sentiment through the 2006 congressional elections. Then, as with Vietnam in 1969, the war is likely to continue.

Those who have been proved right in opposing this war deserve a hearing alongside the military and national security "experts" who have dominated commentary since the March 2003 invasion. It is time to explain "out now" and for peace advocates to propose exit strategies of their own. Otherwise, both political parties will be stuck with the mind-set that an exit is possible only after "stability," meaning a military victory years from now (if ever).

Peace movement advocates have lobbied successfully for members of Congress to hold Capitol Hill forums in mid-September to explore exit strategies. Here is a starting point that is being discussed in peace circles. It is based on deciding now to get out of Iraq and outlining how to do it. The basis of the plan is a shift from a military model to a conflict-resolution model, then to a peace process that ends in a negotiated political settlement alongside a U.S. withdrawal. The main themes are these:

First, as confidence-building measures, Washington should declare that it has no interest in permanent military bases or the control of Iraqi oil. It must immediately announce goals for ending the occupation and bringing all our troops home - in months, not years, beginning with an initial gesture by the end of this year.

Second, the U.S. should request that the United Nations, or a body blessed by the U.N., monitor the process of military disengagement and de-escalation, and take the lead in organizing a peaceful reconstruction effort.

Third, the president should appoint a peace envoy, independent of the occupation authorities, to begin an entirely different mission in Iraq. The envoy should encourage and cooperate in peace talks with Iraqi groups opposed to the occupation, including insurgents, to explore a political settlement.

Already 82 members of the Iraqi National Assembly have signed a public letter calling for "the departure of the occupation." A former minister in the Iraqi interim government, Aiham Alsammarae, is talking with 11 insurgent groups about a transition to politics. Even the militant Shiites led by Muqtada Sadr have shown interest in the political process by collecting a million signatures for American withdrawal. Surveys earlier this year showed that 69% of Iraqi Shiites and more than 75% of Sunnis favored a near-term U.S. withdrawal.

Neither the Bush administration nor the news media have shown interest in these voices, perhaps because they undercut the argument that we are fighting to save Iraqis from each other. By most accounts, the U.S. military presence has attracted and enlarged the hard-core jihadist forces. The course we are on also contributes to incipient civil war because of subsidies and training for Shiite and Kurdish forces against the estranged Sunnis. It was not enough to invite a handful of Sunnis into the constitutional talks.

Any settlement proposal must guarantee a troop withdrawal and new efforts at reconstruction. A successful peace process will guarantee representation for the Iraqi opposition in a final governing arrangement. It will encourage power-sharing arrangements in economic and energy development as well as governance. The handing over of the Iraqi economy to private and mostly U.S. interests will by definition end with the occupation.

These are plausible steps toward conflict resolution. Perhaps Cindy Sheehan's moral stance will awaken courage among politicians who openly or privately deplore the fabricated origins of the war but cannot bring themselves to be honest about the war itself.

NOTE FROM WALTER: Tom Hayden discussed his proposal on Democracy NOW this week also: //www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/16/1326257


Informant: Walter Lippmann
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