3
Sep
2005

END THE WAR ON IRAQ! BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

United for Peace and Justice

ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE //www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545 |

THE GULF WARS

Statement from United for Peace and Justice

Sept. 2, 2005

//www.unitedforpeace.org

The effects of Katrina are tragic, causing death, the disruption of lives, and the loss of property on an unimaginable scale. Although Katrina was a natural catastrophe, its effects were largely avoidable and parallel another tragedy unfolding daily near another Gulf, 7000 miles away. Both disasters flow from the criminal behavior of the Bush administration and are closely related. Much can be said about how long-term policies -- from denying the existence of global warming to permitting greedy developers to destroy protective offshore islands and wetlands -- may have contributed to the severity of Katrina. But now there are more immediate concerns.

FEMA and President Bush have failed to provide timely aid for the poorest people of New Orleans. They had no way to escape. They have been virtually abandoned for days in waist-deep polluted water, the Convention Center, or the Superdome, sharing space with the already dead, surrounded by stinking garbage and human waste, without potable water, food, or medical care.

This reminds us of Iraq, where the infrastructure has been destroyed by blockade and war causing people to endure sweltering heat, without electricity, medical care and jobs. Both disasters were predicted. Numerous studies anticipated that a major hurricane could flood New Orleans, while many predicted that the invasion of Iraq would punish millions of innocents, bringing resistance and possibly civil war. However, these studies were ignored by federal administrations, hell-bent on domination and profit.

In both the Persian and American gulfs, the poorest people suffer most. In both places, people of color are neglected and brutalized by racist policies. This ugliness is reflected in graphic images of neglect that come bursting daily from the TV screens. People desperate for necessities are now criminalized as looters. The New Orleans police were ordered to stop rescue efforts and instead protect property, and the National Guard has been given "shoot to kill" orders.

The war in the Persian Gulf impacts directly on the unfolding catastrophe in our Southern states. Budgets for flood control, strengthening the levees, evacuation, and relief have been inadequate and have actually been reduced. Last year $71 million was cut from the budget for flood control in New Orleans alone. Meanwhile more than $200 billion has been squandered in Iraq. Where are the giant helicopters that could rescue stranded people? Where are the giant air conditioned tents and the ready-to-eat meals that could house and feed refugees -- the same tents and meals that Halliburton provides so expensively in Iraq? Why are 35-40% of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guards in Iraq, on missions of death, instead of back home where they are so desperately needed?

Disruption of Middle East oil production (by the Iraq War) and refining capabilities on the Gulf coast (by Katrina) are forcing gas prices to spiral upward. These shortages are already being used by the big oil, pipeline and refining companies as pretexts to extort ever greater profits from the working people of the U.S. Because of this exploitation, the economy will be globally affected, potentially bringing inflation together with joblessness, a re-enactment of the "stagflation" that punished us during the Vietnam War.

Now, more than ever, our voices must be heard. Call the White House to demand immediate and effective relief efforts in New Orleans, along the Gulf coast and wherever the refugees are being taken. The White House phone number is 202-456-1111. And make our own contribution through either of these two special hurricane relief funds:

AFL-CIO – //www.aflcio.org/

NAACP - https://www.naacp.org/disaster/contribute.php


END THE WAR ON IRAQ! BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

3 Days of Peace & Justice Actions in Washington, D.C.

September 24-26, 2005

Visit our website today to download leaflets, endorse the mobilization, and learn more about the plans for this powerful weekend of action.

//www.unitedforpeace.org/septmobe


Informant: Martin Greenhut
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