The news today on foreign policy is bad on many fronts. It is time for the peace movement to step up its activities throughout the country.
The U.S. passed the 5,000th death of a U.S. service member in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This sad milestone is the tip of the iceberg of the dire effects of these wars - mass deaths and maiming of civilians, millions forced to flea their homes described as "an exodus that is beyond biblical."
Wars are raging. Indeed, the deadline for U.S. troops to leave Iraqi cities has passed. To meet the deadline Iraq needed to redraw city boundaries. So, the troops didn't move but they are no longer within city limits. General Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two wars - up to ten more years in Iraq.
And, a new report from the Pentagon indicated that there were now 250,000 private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is fair to call these people mercenaries since they do the jobs that service members did in Vietnam and other wars. When the mercenaries are added to the active duty troops it totals nearly 450,000 military personnel in the Iraq and Af/Pak wars.
And, to top off the hawkish news, on Monday President Obama appointed Rep. John McHugh, who has been in Congress since 1993 and is the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. McHugh, an advocate for military spending and a supporter of both wars, comes on top of the appointment of General McChrystal to head the Afghanistan War - a general whose commands have been tied to torture and abuse of prisoners.
On the torture front General Petraeus, in a stunning admission, acknowledges the US has violated the Geneva Conventions and international law. General Sanchez, the former top coalition commander in Iraq, has called for a truth commission to investigate abusive interrogation practices. Former President Jimmy Carter disagreed with Obama's decision not to release the photos and failure to fully investigate torture and abuse to determine whether prosecution is necessary. Unfortunately, President Obama is doing all he can to block release of the photos, supporting a bill co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham that will re-write the Freedom of Information Act to prevent the release of the torture and abuse photos.
Is the news bad enough yet?
We need to consistently let our representatives know that we oppose these actions and organize events to push them to end these wars and apply the rule of law to torture.
You can write your representatives and President Obama by clicking here.
If you want to organize an event in your community we will publicize it to people in your area. Please let us know your plans and we can do a mailing to the Voters For Peace list in your area. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web calendar at http://votersforpeace.us/events/month.php.
If you don't like the direction the country is going it will not change without action by you and others. It is time to step up efforts to end the wars.
Voters For Peace