Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Speaking Out Against U.S. Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq

image is from here

First, a video about the above action:  
Global Day of Listening to Afghans

What follows are two cross-posted pieces from progressive media sources. What that means is that women's experience and feminist analysis will not be brought to bear on the matter of war, militarism, and any other U.S. foreign terrorism.


We Want You Out: an open letter from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Afghans for Peace
As the Obama administration releases its December Review of U.S. war in Afghanistan, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, along with Afghans for Peace, have issued a review of their experiences. To express support for their letter, follow this link.

We Want You Out: an open letter from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Afghans for Peace

To all the leaders of our world, the leaders of the US-led coalition, the Afghan government, the ‘Taliban/Al-Qaeda’ and regional countries,

We are intolerably angry.

All our senses are hurting.

Our women, our men and yes shame on you, our children are grieving.

Your Afghan civilian-military strategy is a murderous stench we smell, see, hear and breathe.

President Obama, and all the elite players and people of the world, why?

America’s 250-million-dollar annual communications budget just to scream propaganda on this war of perceptions, with its nauseating rhetoric mimicked by Osama and other warlords, is powerless before the silent wailing of every anaemic mother.

We will no longer be passive prey to your disrespectful systems of oligarchic, plutocratic war against the people.

Your systems feed the rich and powerful. They are glaringly un-equal, they do not listen, do not think and worst, they do not care.

We choose not to gluttonize with you. We choose not to be trained by you. We choose not to be pawned by you.

We henceforth refuse every weapon you kill us with, every dollar you bait us with and every lie you manipulate us with.

We are not beasts.

We are Afghans, Americans, Europeans, Asians and global citizens.

Yes, you have the false, self-appointed power to arrest us over expressing the public opinion of ordinary folk, students, farmers, shepherds, labourers, teachers, doctors . . . , people who now have nowhere to turn and nowhere to hide. ( Open Letter to our World Leaders )

This world public opinion against the Afghan war has been clearly expressed and is larger than any number of Wikileaks you seek to suppress. So, come arrest us all as we civilly disobey you. Come arrest us all. ( See excerpt below from Wikipedia’s ‘International public opinion on the war in Afghanistan’ )

Yes, you have the army, police and apparatchik to smother us and to bribe those who are Pavlov-reflexed to money, but you cannot stop us from restoring our voice.

We refuse to prostitute our hearts and minds.

We refuse you.

Not you the human person, but you the greedy system of self-interested power.

Again and again here in Afghanistan, we have seen a hope for non-violence light up; every day we see a yearning for humane relationships, and because of this, love is how we now firmly take our stand.

We will listen to the People on December 19th, on the Global Day of Listening to Afghans and we invite every one of you to pick up your phone to call us, to share one another’s pain, and to call our world to urgent reconciliation. We invite the world public opinion to overwhelm us! (email to arrange a call).

We wish to invite all the people of the world because when the powers are not listening to the people, listening becomes an act of love, it becomes a solidarity of non-violent resistance.

How can we do any less?

14-year-old Abdulai’s father was killed by the ‘Taliban’ and so, like every other human being, he copes with sorrow, hate, fear and anger.

But, he wakes up to the chronic war days in his land sensing that ‘something is very wrong with the world I’m caught up in’, ‘these elders of the world are not getting it…..’.

How does trillion-deficit killing, followed by the strategy of escalated killing and yet another review for more killing, work?

How does it make anyone safer?

How does it solve the incorruptible corruption, unequalled inequality and inviolate violence we face daily?

Your policies, skewed-ly ‘diagnosed’ and ‘reviewed’ in a cold clinical manner divorced from reality, have been deaf to the concerns and needs of the people, thus we endeavour to have a People’s Afghanistan December Review, because that’s what ordinary people can do.

We would try not to ‘throw’ our shoes at you. We would try to recognize the better side of all human beings and thus continue to serve our commoner’s tea and bread to one and all. But we do ask, plead and demand that you stop your unsustainable, superpower militarism.

We want peace.

We want you out.

With singular sincerity,

Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

Afghans for Peace

Notes :

“My people, the suppressed millions, are my heroes. They are the real source of any positive change in Afghanistan and their power is stronger than anything else. And anti-war protesters around the world, those who are standing against the destructive policies of world powers. There is a superpower in the world besides the US government -- world public opinion.” Malalai Joya

Excerpts from Wikipedia:
International public opinion is largely opposed to the war in Afghanistan.
The 25-nation Pew Global Attitudes survey in June 2009 reported that majorities or pluralities in 18 out of 25 countries want U.S. and NATO to remove their military troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Despite American calls for NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, there was majority or plurality opposition to such action in every one of the NATO countries surveyed: Germany (63% opposition), France (62%), Poland (57%), Canada (55%), Britain (51%), Spain (50%), and Turkey (49%).
In Europe, poll after poll in France, Germany and even Britain show that the European public want their troops to be pulled out and less money spent on the war in Afghanistan
ABC News/BBC/ARD/Washington Post poll of 1,691 Afghan adults from Oct. 29-Nov. 13, 2010
Afghans indicated they were more pessimistic about the direction of their country, less confident about U.S.-led coalition troops providing security and more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than a year ago.
More than half of Afghans interviewed said U.S. and NATO forces should begin withdrawing from the country in mid-2011 or sooner.
“There are the occupation forces from the sky, dropping cluster bombs and depleted uranium, and on the ground there are the fundamentalist warlords and the Taliban, with their own guns. If I should die, and you should choose to carry on my work, you are welcome to visit my grave. Pour some water on it and shout three times. I want to hear your voice.” Malalai Joya

*          *          *

Next, from,

The United States of War Criminals

People from poorer places and poorer countries have to call upon their compassion not to be angry with ordinary people in America.
– Arundhati Roy
More than half (53.3%) of US tax dollars go to a criminal enterprise known as the US Department of Defense (sic), a.k.a. the worst polluter on the planet. We hear about tax cuts this and budget that and all kinds of other bullshit from the US government and the corporations that own it…but the reality remains: Roughly one million tax dollars per minute are spent to fund the largest military machine (read: global terrorist operation) the world has ever known.

What do we get for all that money? To follow, is but one tiny example that mostly slipped through the cracks earlier this year.

On July 23, 2010, Tom Eley at Global Research wrote:

“According to the authors of a new study, ‘Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,’ the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.”

For those unfamiliar with the US attacks on Fallujah, first of all: You should be fuckin’ ashamed of yourselves. Secondly, here’s Patrick Cockburn’s basic description:
US Marines first besieged and bombarded Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, in April 2004 after four employees of the American security company Blackwater were killed and their bodies burned. After an eight-month stand-off, the Marines stormed the city in November using artillery and aerial bombing against rebel positions. US forces later admitted that they had employed white phosphorus as well as other munitions. In the assault US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops. British officers were appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties.
Of crucial importance is this: A high proportion of the weaponry used by the US in the assault contained depleted uranium (DU).

And you and I paid for it all.

The aforementioned study found that the cancer rate “had increased fourfold since before the US attack” and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are “similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Yeah, Americans paid for those bombs, too.
In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies:
• 24 percent were dead within the first seven days • 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed
Cockburn writes of a “12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighboring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.”

Dig this: After 2005, thanks to this “major mutagenic event” (DU), the proportion of girls born in Fallujah has increased sharply likely because “girls have a redundant X-chromosome and can therefore absorb the loss of one chromosome through genetic damage,” explains Eley.

And you and I paid for it all.

“The impact of war on civilians was more severe in Fallujah than anywhere else in Iraq because the city continued to be blockaded and cut off from the rest of the country long after 2004,” adds Cockburn. While I could go on with the gory details, I’d much rather you ask a few questions:
• Now that you know these facts (and they are just the tiniest proverbial tip of a massive proverbial iceberg), how do you feel and what are you going to do about it? • Is it time you stop buying military video games, hanging yellow ribbons, and allowing our hard-earned money to finance mass murder? • Can enjoy “the holidays” while women in Fallujah are petrified to have children? • Are you still able to insulate yourself with all those cute puppy videos on YouTube? • Are you ready to stop believing there’s a difference between the two wings of the same corporate/military party and start accepting that they’re all accessories to heinous crimes? • Will you still “support” the volunteer mercenaries as “heroes” or will you recognize them as willing—and paid—accomplices to war crimes? • Are you okay with 85.1% of US wealth being owned by the top 20% while 53.3% of your tax dollars subsidize atrocities, torture, oppression, occupation, and the literal destruction of the planet’s eco-system? • What is your threshold? Which taxpayer-funded horror story is the one that will finally make you scream “enough”? • When you’ve screamed “enough,” what can/will you do and how soon will you start doing it?
You don’t have to tell me your answers. I’m a co-conspirator just like you.

Save your answers for the children of Fallujah. I’m sure they’re wondering why the fuck we all choose to remain silent and inactive.

Mickey Z. is probably the only person on the planet to have appeared in both a karate flick with Billy "Tae Bo" Blanks and a political book with Howard Zinn. He is the author of 9 books—most recently Self Defense for Radicals and his second novel, Dear Vito—and can be found on the Web

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