June 24, 2004

Huge Union Wants End To Iraq War

This looks to me to be the largest organized opposition to the war yet. Read the whole resolution for details but:
SEIU Convention Calls for End to U.S. Occupation of Iraq and Return of U.S. Troops

As recently confirmed by the 9/11 Commission, in violation of the above principles, and based on deception, lies and false promises to the American people and the World, the Bush Administration launched its unilateral, preemptive war against Iraq. The war in Iraq has resulted in the death of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US soldiers. Already more of our soldiers, our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, have died in this war than any other war since Vietnam. And, this war is costing our nation’s taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. […]

That SEIU supports the principles in the Mission Statement adopted at the National Labor Assembly of US Labor Against The War (USLAW), October 25, 2003, namely:
A Just Foreign Policy based on International law and global justice that promotes genuine security and prosperity at home and abroad;

An end to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq;
The Redirecting of the Nation’s Resources from inflated military spending to meeting the needs of working families for health care, education, a clean environment, housing and a decent standard of living;

Supporting Our Troops and their families by bringing our troops home safely, by not recklessly putting them in harms way, by providing adequate veterans’ benefits and promoting domestic policies that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the bulk of the military;

This, the nation’s largest union, represents somehting like 1.6 million members.

As we near the election, I think you will see more and more of the stops being pulled out to oppose Bush. People have had it.

Posted by James at June 24, 2004 11:54 AM
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I'm ready to start planning the party today.

Posted by: Julie at June 24, 2004 2:16 PM

I'd like to pull out of Iraq today.

I firmly believe we shouldn't have been there to begin with.

That having been said, I feel that we are duty bound to remain. We have destabilized an already dangerous region of the world, and an unsettled country specifically. If we leave now, there will be a bloodbath. We must, sadly, remain there as a "peace-keeping" force, and that may be our lot for some time to come.

It's satisfying to say "Let's get our people out of there" until you think of what would happen if we pull out too early. It'll be just like when we exhorted the minority to rise up against Sadaam and then left to be slaughtered.

We're in it for the long haul, as much as I wish we weren't.

Posted by: Patti M. at June 24, 2004 4:20 PM

I'm not sure we have to be in it for the long haul. That is, I think bad things wil happen if we leave. Bad things will happen if we stay. The damage is done.

We can't be honest brokers of peace because we are not trusted. UN peace keepers can't save the day because the UN imposed the economic sanctions that lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousand children - so the folks in Iraq don't trust the UN either. (Besides, the UN wanted to enforce its resolutions against Iraq while they have rarely enforced resolutions against Israel.) Maybe the Arab League? I don't know.

And there's are time boms ticking to the south - Saudi Arabia - and time bombs to the North - the Kurds. Not much has been said about this one, but it impacts Turkey and Iran big time.

One encouraging note - the new major polls show that at last the majority of Americans agree - we should not have gone in there and in the first place and our own position vis-a-vis terrorists is worst because we invaded Iraq.

But how we regain world respect and become a force for peace that can be taken seriously in Iraq and elsewhere is hard to imagine. ;-(

Posted by: Greg Stone at June 25, 2004 7:27 AM

If someone came into my house uninvited, said he was there to help me, and then made a complete mess, I'd want him to leave.

Having seen how he "helps," there's no way I'd want him to hang around and clean up the mess, even if he offered.

Posted by: Julie at June 25, 2004 11:46 AM

Good analogy, Julie.

Still, I worry about us leaving just yet.

I wish I could believe that there would be peace and stability when we leave. It's not that I think the Iraqi people are not smart enough to take care of themselves, it's more that without infrastructure and systems in place, especially policing, they'll be frustrated at their attempts, and frustration will boil over into full-fledged tribal war.

I don't know. I don't know what to do! I'm nervous and sad thinking of what's going to happen to these people.

Doctors' family members are being abducted for ransome, so doctors are leaving their own country. Police are being shot, bombed, and threatened.

Water, sewer, and electricity isn't on in many parts of the country, or is sporadic at best, because the basics were stolen after Saddam's removal and rebuilding efforts are being thwarted at every turn.

Granted, it wasn't like it was perfect before this "war," but things are definitely worse now. What will we leave behind? A mess, I fear.

Posted by: Patti M. at June 25, 2004 12:05 PM

Julie,

A better analogy might be if you lived in a house with two other people you hated but previously lived with a forth that beat you all into submission. Someone came in and took away the 4th. Now you all hate that person but at least they don't beat you up and they prevent you (or at least try) from beating up each other. Do you still want them to leave?

Posted by: Bob at June 25, 2004 2:08 PM

The solution I would want in the original invaded-house scenario would be for the "helper" to leave, but I'd expect him to pay the contractor of *my* choice to clean up the mess. If the Bush administration really wants to help Iraq (stop making that face, or it'll get stuck that way), that's what they have to do. Let the Iraqis rebuild with someone they trust. If they decide they want the US to do it, then I guess we're committed. If not, it's high time the president respected their wishes.

As for Bob's analogy: Yes, I definitely want the "helpful" person to leave.

1. I'm an adult. It's my choice to either deal with problems on my own, or ask for outside help. This person shows up uninvited, on false pretenses, saying that he's going to solve my problems because he's so much more powerful and wise and smart than I. How patronizing, not to mention untrue. Naturally, I am resentful. In fact, this may be one of the few things my roommates and I can agree on: maybe we look different, maybe we have more problems, but that doesn't mean we have no pride or will or intelligence.

Helping is not the same thing as dominating. They are treating us like children.

2. I'm still fighting with my roommates. Maybe the new guy has good intentions, but you can't stop a bullet with good intentions. In a way, that's working to the new guy's advantage, because if we were to stop fighting with one another, we might band together and focus on him.

3. We're subject to more violence now. Supposedly, the attackers are mostly aiming at the new guy, but they're pretty sloppy and we could easily get caught in the crossfire. More of our friends are desperate and suicidal, and they don't care who they take down with them.

4. It's nice that he got rid of that fourth person, but his motives were not entirely altruistic. We're glad he doesn't beat us, but he's not supposed to beat us, so he doesn't deserve special credit for that.

5. He solved one problem for us, but he's created multiple new ones and he doesn't know how to solve them. Hell, he never understood our old (still unresolved) problems to begin with. He didn't seem to care.

6. He's constantly telling us how lucky we are that he's moved in with us. At first we thought he was joking, what with all the guns and bombs he brought with him, but he doesn't seem to have a sense of humor. He tries to manipulate our loyalty with propaganda and sporadic assistance, interspersed with unpredictable periods of neglect, all motivated by the desires of wealthy people halfway around the globe. Again, how dumb does he think we are??

7. This person might be better or more trustworthy than the fourth person or either of my roommates, but I've heard things to the contrary. As far as I can tell, he's a big liar and a bully. For example, he said he was going to stop telling us what to do and let us move on with our lives, but the deadline for that is only a few days away and I just heard that he's actually sending for *more* of his friends to hang out here.

8. That fourth person was a tyrant, but he was *our* tyrant. Don't laugh. We had common culture and history, which the new guy doesn't understand or respect. If I have to choose between two tyrants, I'll pick the one I have more in common with.

9. We didn't get to negotiate with the helper for what he expects in return for his services. Instead, he's "negotiating" that with his friends.

Posted by: Julie at June 25, 2004 5:24 PM

Analogy Wars can be a fun game, but it's really still just a game. We don't reall yneed an analogy. Many people in the country are experiencing worse conditions than before. Before was an intolerable situation which the Iraqis were somehow tolerating.

If you see the "liberation" of Iraq as a good deed, how about this old adage: 'no good deed goes unpunished.' It's true, especially when the person who did the deed used deception to get support, wants to gloss over the problems he caused, killed some people, and still wants to be praised for it. That would rankle anyone. And it's no analogy.

I don't know if we should pull out immediately. If the administrairton can't even get its intelligence straight, how am I supposed to know what's best for Iraq? And I guess that's part of the problem. We don't know what's best for Iraq. We didn't then and don't now.

Our sense of patriotism is one of the things that pulls us together in the most difficult of times. We call back to our songs and stories, of how our forefathers fought for their independence and how those ideas are so valuable to us that we fight to preserve them for our children. It's the story that holds America together.

What story will hold Iraq together? How we came in and bombed their electricity after helping Saddam in the first place? We call back 220 years for our story. You think the Iraqis are going to sing songs about us 220 years from now, and forget the rest of our involvement?

These people need something to pull them together. Guess what the easiest, most convenient thing there is available to pull them together? What pulled Americans together at the birth of our country?

Why is opposition a surprise to anyone?

Posted by: James at June 25, 2004 9:11 PM

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