Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, November 19, 2005

FEAR OF WITHDRAWAL - LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE


Late last night I watched the House of Representatives debate the war and then vote on an "immediate withdrawal" resolution that was disingenously introduced by the Republican leadership. Having been stung by the Rep. John Murtha call for a planned withdrawal, the Repubs thought they'd go one step better and challenge the Dems to vote on an immediate withdrawal. In the end the vote was 403-3 to defeat the resolution, as both Repubs and Dems alike spoke out against it. The three Dems who did vote for an immediate withdrawal should be remembered - Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA).

Some of the key things that came out during the debate were that there is a growing number of troops, both in Iraq and in the military hospitals in the U.S. after being wounded, that are speaking out about the war. Another is the growing talk about the military falling apart as they are stretched beyond the breaking point. And finally, even with all the massive amount of money the Pentagon has been receiving for the war, they are now saying it is not enough money and that they will need a huge amount more to replace equipment that is falling apart as a result of the war. Where will the money come from?

The Dems are slowly creeping up, and I stress the word slowly, on supporting a planned withdrawal. But even Murtha's plan just calls for a pullout of troops into Kuwait so they can quickly be redeployed if things don't go well after we left Iraq. In addition the Murtha plan calls for a rapid-deployment force to do quick preemptive strikes back into Iraq whenever necessary so in the end the war would continue - the difference being that we'd do it from a bit of a distance. No real solution. The peace movement should not grab onto this sinking ship of a plan.

Rep. Murtha said during the debate last night that his phone calls were coming in at a rate of 4-1 in favor of a withdrawal. He said the American people are ahead of the politicians. About that he is right. Unfortunately only 3 members of the House reflected that in their vote last night on the withdrawal resolution.

Friday, November 18, 2005

CHENEY - DISHONEST & REPREHENSIBLE


Dick Cheney has joined the campaign to attack, attack, attack any critics of the administration's war policy. In recent days he has been calling any criticism of the war "dishonest and reprehensible."

Just yesterday long-time war hawk, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) called the war unwinnable and concluded that "we have become a catalyst for violence." Some years ago, on a anti-Star Wars lobbying trip to Washington, I met with Rep. Murtha's staff in his DC office. All over the walls he had photos of weapons systems, model planes and ships on all the desks...the man is a real drummer for the military industrial complex. I heard a few of his remarks on TV last night and he talked about how the war was tearing the military apart. My guess is that there is a simmering mutiny in the ranks of the military and that he is giving voice to it. He mentioned that many troops are now on their third assignment to Iraq. This is what is forcing many GI's to want out and my guess is that Murtha's loyalty to the military is such that he feels he must speak out about Iraq or face having the military services internally torn to shreds.

The Bush crew is showing that they are going to play out their hand. They have gone this far, staked their careers on this occupation for oil in Iraq, and are determined not to back down. And they will keep slinging hash at any of their critics that dare speak up. One Bush supporter, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), yesterday accused the Dems of making "shameful statements" and said the Dems have "cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies."

The Bush bunch are trying to rally their ever-shrinking base but this strategy is doomed to failure. The country is onto their game now and in time the opposition is only going to grow. The peace movement must step on the gas now - escalate our anti-war activity like never before.

All of the Dems are not to be trusted. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said on the news last night that he disagreed with Rep. Murtha on the question of pulling out of Iraq. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (a Democratic party presidential candidate in the last election) agreed with Sen. Kerry saying "you have to still work the problem." Translation - the U.S. can't cut and run from Iraq. Not much different from the Bush program.

The South Korean government has announced that they will bring 1/3 of their present troops in Iraq home in the near future. They made this announcement while Bush was in their country. This is an obvious testament to how unpopular Bush is in South Korea.

In the end the peace movement must press to cut all funding for the war. It is one thing to say bring the troops home and then vote for the funding to wage the war. The determining factor, just like with the Vietnam War, is that wars end when Congress cuts the money. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) has introduced legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to deploy U.S. troops to Iraq. We must build awareness and support for this legislation. And we need to force the Dems to have to choose between guns and butter. We can't have both.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BUSH FLYS THE COOP


The Senate debated a bill yesterday to establish a time-table to end the war. Since Republicans control the Congress it did not pass though a weakened Republican drafted version, calling on Bush to begin to do more frequent reporting to Congress on the war, indicates that even the war-thumping Repubs are beginning to fear the next election.

Bush has just flown the coop again and is doing an extended tour of the Asian-Pacific region. He knows he has to get out of the country in order to try to repair his sagging poll numbers. Support for the war is at an all time low. The more he opens his mouth, the worse his numbers get. Maybe being on the other side of the world, looking presidential, will help his advisors must figure.

The war is not going well. As of today 2,069 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq with 15,568 GI's wounded in action. The war has now cost U.S. taxpayers $300 billion - money that will not be now available for home heating assistance this winter, health care, hurricane relief, education, and the like.

Increasing numbers of U.S. troops, and their families, are speaking out against the war. Many GI's have become disillusioned as they witness first-hand that the rhetoric about "freedom" in Iraq does not match up with the reality of U.S. torture and killing of legions of innocent civilians.

This was supposed to be a high-tech war from a distance. A computer terminal kind of war where the U.S. military did not have to get their "hands dirty". But the reality of the occupation has been a different story. The Iraqi's, not ready to hand over the country to an occupation for oil, increasingly fight back just as Americans would do if a foreign power had attacked and occupied our nation.

Bush's war to control the oil of the Middle East is not going as expected. Or maybe it is. Maybe when Bush warned the American people to "Be patient...it is going to be a long, long war" - maybe he meant it. Maybe Bush knew that the only way he could justify creating permanent bases in Iraq was if the entire country was a mess, in chaos. Then he could make the case that we can't "cut and run" because if the U.S. military was to leave there would be a bloody civil war.

Well now we have a bloody civil war and our troops are right in the middle of the mess. Many of the GI's have been there two or even three times. The odds of them getting home safe and sound dimish with each IED or mortar attack.

The time has come for the Congress to demand that the troops come home. Let Bush and Cheney and the rest of their Congressional team go take up arms in Iraq if they want to. My guess is that they'd fly the coop pretty fast if they had to serve there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

BUSH THROWS MUD


Back home in Maine after a wonderfully successful trip to Florida. My last talk in Deland at the DaVinci Caffe was really fun and the place was packed with veteran activists, church folks, and students and faculty from nearby Stetson University. Very well received.

While in Florida it became clear that the Bush bunch had decided that they need to fight back to try to stop the downward fall of their poll numbers. So they decided to deceive some more by saying that they did not cheat and lie their way into a war. This won't help them a bit but will just reveal to even more people what an out-of-control pack of scoundrels they really are.....the administration's freefall will likely continue.

Bush's best hope now is another terrorist attack in the U.S. to draw focus away from his own evil doings. Many people are now predicting that the Bush team will create some kind of internal event in the U.S. that will allow them to declare martial law. Do you think such a desperate bunch would be capable of pulling another 9-11? It is hard to swallow but not hard to imagine that the immoral bunch of crooks in the White House would do something like that. What else are they to do? Do you think Bush would admit he lied about the war, fire Cheney (the real boss), fire Karl Rove, and most of the rest of his cabal?

I saw one very funny e-mail the other day that said they had a sure way to get rid of Bush. Someone, the e-mail pleaded, just give Bush a blow job!