When I consider the word "anniversary" - I immediately conjure up fond memories of beautiful relationships and happy times. Well, there is anything but happy times when recognizing this anniversary. On March 19th, 2003 the nightmare, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom officially began. Of course, the bait and switch game with Iraq started long before this date. The first Gulf War was a feeble attempt for regional domination back in 1991, and it was followed by the inhumane and unjust embargo that went on for 10 long years against the Iraqi people. Documentation suggests that over 500,000 Iraqi children alone, died during those years as the country was not only cut them off from food, industrial goods and technology but to the most simple items like sheets and pencils. Medical personnel had to do without the most standard tools including utensils, bandages, medicines, gowns, etc. Conditions were so horrendous as women gave birth without anesthetics, and many other operations were performed in the most primitive manner. How much more must we inflicted on this population just because they were born on top of the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world?
When our country lead the attack on their country, we have further subjected the Iraqi people to food and water shortages, utlility outages, daily violence, humiliation and brutality. All provided with the help of our tax dollars - yes yours and mine... as our money fuels the war engine driven by Neo-Mads. That is my new name for them - "The Neo-Mads" Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, Perle, Wolfowitz and the other diabolic psycho-pathetic criminals that are controlling - lock, stock and barrel our country.
Even as thousands of outraged citizens hit the streets this past weekend, the Neo-Mads insist that we the people are wrong. Even as the Republicans leadership has successfully passed the raising of the debt ceiling this week to $9Trillion- that's $9,000,000,000,000 - right - we are told that all is ok. (Yes, the party proudly known as "fiscally responsible" has brought us closer to collapse than any other administration. ) And just in case you think we are partial...the Democratic leadership is not innocent in any of this. They could hold up the budget bills in the Senate. They should be walking out and creating havoc and chaos at every corner. The best description about our people's Congress was last Friday night on PBS' NOW show..."the most dysfunctional congress ever in the history of the U.S".
Let me ask you about this one from last week's activity in the House & Senate...remember that great threat of terrorism that lurks in every possible corner - you know the one that makes you take out your toe nail clipper before you load the plane? Well, I guess it is not significant enough for the Republican lead Congress to consider funding a method to check and secure incoming cargo at U.S. ports of entry. We have several metric tons of cargo entering this country daily...see for yourself on a visit to Oakland, Oxnard, Los Angeles or San Pedro and watch the cargo carriers come in loaded up to the top with containers full of goods. Then go to any international airport cargo sections and see all the cartons of incoming goods. Those goods are then transported by tractor trailers across the U.S. on interstate highways, criss-crossing our communities.
And yet - the party that was overwhelmingly elected because our fellow citizens felt safer with them has denied the Customs people the resources to insure this cargo is secure. That is bizzaro if you ask me. Really. Somehow it is ok to spend $300 Billion Dollars on a war that is going from bad to worse in every aspect, while destroying thousands of innocents lives on both sides, but we could not spend $1.2 B to expand overseas cargo checks. Hmmm. I don't know what it says to you, but it reinforces what I already thought: 1) if one of the defense manufacturers couldn't make any money on it, the bill was not going to pass 2) the war is about oil, oil & more oil and 3) the terrorist threat is very over stated. But you watch, my prediction is that somehow, someway, another bill will come forth from the Republicans hiring a non-governmental "group" i.e. no-bid contract - to somehow give the illusion that this port security will be done - for $3B instead. Ha! Not funny if it does happen but these days, they are so blatant in their corruption that I wouldn't doubt it.
Back to CodePink...we were pretty quiet this weekend. We had a flash mob on Saturday. It was a trial action that went well, but the impact was hard to gauge. Right now, we have to get our website up and running asap so we can keep all informed of actions and opportunities to get involved - like our counter recruitment efforts, student empowerment efforts, campaigns for new and improved respresentatives for various seats and many other ways to make a small difference.
I want to write something about CodePink and what good, if any we do. Yes, we need to act on our philosophies every day. Not drive gas guzzling cars. Not purchase goods made by children in sweat shops or adults reduced to slave status. It would be great to reduce our demands for foods not grown locally or organically. And in the big picture for me - not pay taxes to a federal government that literally throws billions and billions toward the Pentagon and the Department of Defense while nickeling the other agencies. By the way, check out www.nwtrcc.org - for an official statement to put into your tax returns about just that issue.
But really, fundamental lifestyle changes do make for challenges beyond what many of us can put into action now. However...steps are being made. Changing the way we think is a start and we continue to do this at CodePink. How we live and how we relate to each other in our democracy. How we participate in it. This is something that is remarkable to me - hundreds of women who may have never taken a stand before - getting out and doing just that. Learning about foreign policy and history and more. This will encourage changes in the right direction, including sustainable and justice issues. I believe it and I believe in each of you. We will prevail.