Friday, January 27, 2012

Abolish War, For the People's Sake!

A quiet celebration took place in Baghdad not long ago. Highly acclaimed in political circles, it left no "Mission Accomplished" ... no victory parade for nine years work … no cheering crowds grateful for freedom from Saddam. Associated Press reported it “officially declared end to its mission in Iraq with a business-like closing ceremony behind blast-proof walls.”

Nine years killed 4,500 Americans, and more than 100,000 Iraqis. Other damages included 32,000 wounded Americans, “far more Iraqis wounded,” and $800 billion drained from our public treasury. Initially supported as an extension of 9/11, that proved fraudulent and left Iraq fractured by violence and fearful of its future. Defense Secretary Panetta told troops, "You will leave with great pride — lasting pride ... Secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to begin a new chapter in history."

Views vary however.” AP quoted Mariam Khazim as saying, "With this withdrawal, the Americans are leaving behind a destroyed country.“ A Shiite whose father was killed when a mortar shell struck his home in Sadr City, concluded, "The Americans did not leave modern schools or big factories behind them. Instead, they left thousands of widows and orphans. The Americans did not leave a free people and country behind them, in fact they left a ruined country and a divided nation."

Others celebrated our exit as “neither invited nor welcome”. An Iraqi lawmaker declared "The American ceremony represents the failure of the U.S. occupation of Iraq due to the great resistance of the Iraqi people." Many were grateful for ousting Saddam, but most agreed the war lasted too long.

On the other hand, Gen. Lloyd Austin, top U.S. commander in Iraq, closed our Iraqi bases and outposts, and methodically relocated more than 50,000 U.S. troops and their equipment out of Iraq, while “still conducting training, security assistance and counterterrorism battles.” He added this insight: The war "tested our military's strength and our ability to adapt and evolve." He also noted the development of the new counterinsurgency doctrine. Despite the war's toll and unpopularity, claimed Secretary Panetta it "has not been in vain."

I beg to differ with Mr. Secretary Panetta. That view of the political powers is what keeps the Military Industrial Complex at the throttle of American political life, manipulating Main Street America into supporting causes not in the best interest of the citizenry.

By ending Iraq, the powers that be can now focus on Afghanistan, but we are still at war; we are still losing sons and daughters--substitutes--for those signing the decrees of war. We are doing little “nation building” abroad or at home. Rather, we politicize the National Debt, while continually losing ground on our own “nation building.” All the while, entrenched powers seek better ways to take more from the masses and funnel to the already powerful and wealthy.

The AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMISSION noted that the first four years in Iraq cost “us” $1 trillion and projected that for every “ONE DAY in Iraq“ we could have funded -
95,364 Head Start Places for Children or
12,478 Elementary School Teachers or
163,525 People with Health Care or
34,904 Four Year College Scholarships or 6,482 Families with Homes.

Now in my eighth decade, I suggest today is pregnant with opportunity for people-of-peace to rise up, occupy the seats of power, and establish peace policies for peaceful people. Citizens would happily co-exist, were it not for the politicians and the people in power.

Consider the following:
“If, early that year [1787], you had stood on a London street corner and insisted slavery was morally wrong and should be stopped, nine out of ten listeners would have laughed you off as a crackpot. The tenth might have agreed with you in principle, but assured you that ending slavery was wildly impractical: the British Empire’s economy would collapse. The Parliamentarian Edmund Burke ... opposed slavery but thought that the prospect of ending even just the Atlantic slave trade was ‘chimerical.’ Within a few short years, however, the issue of slavery had moved to center stage in British political life. There was an abolition committee in every major city or town … more than 300,000 Britons were refusing to eat slave-grown sugar. Parliament was flooded with far more signatures than it had ever received on any other subject. And in 1792, the House of Commons passed the first law banning the slave trade … It would become interwoven with great historical currents which, on that afternoon in the George Yard printing shop in 1787, no one foresaw…” (Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains, 2005, p. 7).

From that Quaker Print Shop in May 1787 came 9 Quaker men and 3 Anglican men--12 strongly Evangelical Christians that gave their lives opposing slavery. They established Britain’s Abolitionist Movement and launched a human tidal wave of advocacy for human rights now extending far beyond the Christian Church.

Yet, it all began 2000 years ago with a man called Jesus. Today, approximately 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 per day. Some 9.2 million children (25,000 per day) under the age of 5 die yearly, mostly from preventable diseases. We have 2.5 billion people without access to adequate sanitation, and about 900 million without access to clean water. Nearly 11,500 people die every day from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Is this not reason enough for peaceful-people-everywhere to turn from the violence of war and commit our lives to peace on earth among all people of good will?

From Warner‘s World … walkingwithwarner.blogspot

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