Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

#17: Celebrating March 20

Dear Friends, Family, and All Good People,

March 20 is the date the United States invaded Iraq on the pretenses that Iraq had been involved in the attack on the World Trade Center, had weapons of mass destruction, and was connected with the Al Qaeda terrorist network. All of those accusations were later proven unfounded, but, by then, the war had destroyed the government and the civilian infrastructure of Iraq. There was no way to bring back lives, or even to rebuild the country when most of the investment was for U.S. security.

It was two years ago that the "Shock and Awe" bombing devastated Baghdad. The dead civilians did not count, and were not counted by the United States. Dead U.S. soldiers piled up and the U.S. and Iraqi injured became hidden casualties of war.

Today, noble words flood the airwaves. "Occupying troops should be removed from Lebanon before the elections in May so that the elections can be fair." Do we forget the 160,000 U.S. troops occupying Iraq when the Iraqis voted January 30? Do we ignore the 38-year occupation of Palestine by Israel when their election took place in early January?

"Syria and Iran should stop interfering in the internal politics of Iraq." That is correct. Should we overlook the way the United States has manipulated the political and economic arena of Iraq for U.S. interests?

President Bush has demanded that President Assad of Syria set a timetable for withdrawal of troops back to Syria. Excellent! But when the Iraq Muslim Scholars' Board and Ayatollah Sistani asked the U.S. for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, the U.S. ignored the request. Why do we use this double standard?

Here is a suggestion. President Bush should not be the one to respond to the request for a timetable of withdrawal of U.S. forces. He can't see the hypocrisy of his demands. He hasn't been on the ground in Iraq to understand the implications of his decisions. CPT has been here in Iraq for well over two years. Please hear this proposal.

Let March 20 this year be a celebration of the beginning of the end of the war and occupation. This is the day the U.S. public should proclaim the end of the war.

March 20, the U.S. soldiers may return home. They can stop obeying orders to kill and detain Iraqis. They can lay down the guns and weapons of war and return home to families. Their lives and spirits don't have to be destroyed by the orders to kill.

This will also allow the resistance to lay down their weapons and return to their homes. The fighting between the U.S. and these groups has made life in Iraq unbearable. If these groups stop fighting and all foreign fighters in Iraq return home, life for Iraqis can improve!

This celebration also requires work to be done in the United States. Citizens should place ribbons around the weapons factories to close them down. They only encourage more fighting. The arms merchants of the world must be shut down. Each patriot is responsible to develop work that produces life instead of death.

Each person must encourage soldiers to refuse to obey orders to kill. Cities can celebrate the communities of support for military resisters. Each taxpayer should send a joy-filled greeting card to the IRS as they stop paying half their income tax for war.

On March 20 communities should transform homes and schools into places where children and adults learn to build friendship and understanding across lines of difference. People can invite strangers into their home. They can learn to know foreigners. They can interact across religious and cultural lines.

Volunteer peace teams can nonviolently respond to crisis when invited by local people. That response might be in Darfur or Sri Lanka/Tamil Elam. Tools of war don't repair problems in setting of violence or natural disaster.

March 20 will no longer be a time to remember war, but a time of new beginnings. This year the United States can turn March 20 on its head! The U.S. can start peace in Iraq. It can end the war and bring the troops home now. It can start to put families back together. It can heal the trauma of war and rebuild the cities that have been destroyed by sanctions and war. This year everyone can celebrate March 20 with actions for peace.

Peace to you!

Cliff Kindy


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