The invasion of Iraq – a country severely weakened by 12 ½ years of genocidal sanctions and disarmed by the U.N. at the insistence of the attackers – was not a war. It was a war crime. It appears now that the real problem wasn’t bad intelligence, but rather the “misrepresentation” of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to the U.S. public and the rest of the world. (Washington Post, June 7, 2003) In the rush to implement the vision of total world domination by U.S. military force rooted in the “Defense Planning Guidance” written by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in 1992, a constant barrage of lies about connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction were hurled at the United Nations and at the U.S. public through the corporation-controlled media to justify an illegal “preventive” war.

We knew that the war was not about connections to terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, and that it had nothing to do with democracy in Iraq. It had everything to do regime change that would enable the U.S. and Great Britain to control the vast oil resources of the region and establish an empire to control the region. Those of us who didn’t believe the lies (the U.N., Europe, and millions of people worldwide) have been dismissed as “irrelevant.” Shortly following the invasion, U.N. Resolution 1483 ended the economic sanctions on Iraq and gave the U.S. and U.K. broad control over Iraq’s oil, government, and development.

Bush claimed we needed to “disarm” Iraq because it posed a threat to its neighbors. Now that Iraq is under occupation by U.S. and British troops, Bush is threatening Iraq’s neighbors, and the desperate search for weapons of mass destruction frantically continues. The complicity of the occupiers in the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein was reaffirmed when mobile biological warfare production units found in Iraq turned out to “very likely be” equipment for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons – a system originally sold to Saddam by Britain in 1987. (The Guardian, June 15, 2003)

Our members of Congress, on the other hand, bought the story promoted by the Axis of Evil Doers (Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld) and passed the legislation authorizing a U.S. preemptive unilateral invasion of Iraq. They abrogated their responsibility to represent us after congressional hearings that featured those “who were for the war and those who were not so for the war” (Personal Communication, Joseph Biden’s office). They didn’t hear the voice of Phyllis Bennis telling them that they had no right under international law to invade Iraq on spec. Scott Ritter was not permitted to testify that the U.N. weapons inspectors had fundamentally disarmed Iraq by 1998, including the means of production of weapons of mass destruction. Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee (Mike DeWine is a member) is preparing to hold a closed investigation into the pre-war intelligence that they will make public only if “they think it is warranted.” Can we trust them to do this?

The humanitarian situation in Iraq has worsened by all reports. More than 300,000 Iraqi children risk death from acute malnutrition, twice as many as before the U.S. invasion (Reuters 5/14/03). The number of children in Iraq suffering from diarrhea and related diseases has risen dramatically (2.5 times higher) compared to last year (Unicef, May, 2003). There were 88 confirmed cases of cholera in Basra alone, mostly among children. Three deaths resulted from the outbreak. Another recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme stressed the need for urgent measures to restore the water supply and sanitation systems, conduct assessment of sites contaminated by depleted uranium weapons and distribute guidelines to both military and civilian personnel, and to the general public, on how to minimize the risk of exposure.

The Iraqi people cannot be liberated as long as their county is occupied by foreign powers. In fact, democracy has been banned in Iraq by the senior U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, who issued a proclamation outlawing any “gatherings, pronouncements or publications” that call for the return of the Ba’ath party or for opposition to the U.S. occupation — so much for basic freedoms of speech and assembly (The Guardian, June 16, 2003).

The vicious cycle of violence that characterizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being duplicated now as the Iraqi people suffer under the U.S. and U.K. occupation of their land. The failure of the occupation to liberate the people of Iraq is evidenced by incidences of lethal force against civilian demonstrators in Falluja. Between 16 and 20 civilians (including children) were killed and more than 78 were wounded by U.S. troops. Amnesty International has called on U.S. authorities to “establish a thorough, independent and public investigation into these killings” due to “very real concerns that the U.S. forces may have used excessive force.” You can find a complete copy of Amnesty International’s report “Iraq: Responsibilities of the Occupying Powers” on their website.

The Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio (DSCO) was a co-sponsor of the May 10th Columbus Rally for Peace, and many of our members have made it a priority to stand up for peace at local rallies and events. DSCO is an organization that is strongly committed to the struggle for economic justice. Frank Llewellyn, National Director of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), stated, “The struggle against US militarism abroad is also a fight against the neo-liberal economic policies of gutting the public sector, redistributing income and wealth to the rich, and deregulating the global economy. In DSA’s daily work in the anti-war movement, we must calmly put forth our commitment to building a mainstream peace movement that can speak to ordinary Americans who do not already concur with our alternative vision. Only by doing so, can we help build a anti-war movement that can bring about the “regime change” at home necessary to constructing a truly global, post-Cold War international community” (March 17, 2003,

The most important thing for the peace community now is to remember the people of Iraq and continue our struggle for justice. We can transform our moral outrage at the war into efforts to bring about a real liberation of Iraq and a restoration of democracy to our own country. We can unite to oppose the occupations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine) and any extension of the “war on terrorism” to Syria, Iran, North Korea or other parts of the world. We can continue demanding a halt to the vicious cycle of violence by demonstrating with Women in Black (every Friday from 5:30-6:30 PM at 15th and High). Other anti-war demonstrations continuing throughout Columbus need our support (see for the locations and times). We can support one of the many NGOs working in Iraq to alleviate the immediate crisis (American Friends Service Committee, Doctors without Borders, Oxfam America, Unicef, Mennonite Central Committee, Church World Service, and Unicef – to name a few). If you have not already done so, please join me in signing the Education for Peace in Iraq’s CITIZENS’ HUMANITARIAN PLEDGE ( to hold our country accountable!

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