Greens Call on Congress and Americans to Resist Bush's War Declaration.
THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
On the brink of the invasion of Iraq, plans begin for The Day After, as U.S. troops face casualties from Iraqi resistance and depleted uranium; U.S. civilians face terrorist retaliation; Greens challenge antiwar Democratic officials to participate in civil disobedience.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Members of the Green Party of the United States stepped up their opposition to the ultimatum issued to Iraq by President Bush on Sunday after his summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Durao Barroso.
President Bush declared Monday, March 17 as the day Iraq must completely disarm or face an invasion, and a U.N. endorsement of a U.S. military attack is no longer expected. Greens, noting that invasion may begin within the week, will participate in protests and nonviolent direct action the day after attacks are launched, in events being planned by United for Peace and Justice, the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, the "Bush is Taking the Shirts Off Our Backs to Pay for this War" Coalition, and other groups.
Many Greens are challenging Democratic officeholders who oppose the war, especially presidential candidates, to participate in civil disobedience.
"Let Democrats take the kind of stand Rep. Ron Dellums [D.-Calif.] took when he was arrested for protesting apartheid in South Africa," said Connecticut Green Tom Sevigny, chair of the party's national Bylaws Committee.
"Preemptive invasion explicitly violates international law, the Geneva Convention, the U.N. charter, the Monroe Doctrine of military action as a defensive last resort, and the U.S. Constitution's restriction of the use of U.S. armed forces to the defense of our borders. Green leaders have already risked arrest and been arrested. It's time for antiwar Democrats like Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun, and Howard Dean to show moral leadership -- as [Senior Cabinet Minister] Robin Cook has shown today in Britain."
Greens are urging all Americans who oppose the war to increase their phone calls, letters, faxes, e-mails, and visits to Congress members, and to continue the show of support for the peoples and governments of other U.N. nations that oppose the war. Green Parties in many European countries, especially Germany, Belgium, France, Finland, and New Zealand, have played a major role in rallying citizens and influencing their respective governments not to give the invasion the facade of legitimacy through support in the U.N.
"With Congress riding shotgun, Bush is driving America on a collision course with the global community," said Ben Manski, Green Party Co-Chair. "Invasion of Iraq will make our nation responsible for the administration of government in that country for years to come, and will commit America to a new period of military adventurism in global politics. Such a course is not sustainable, not just, and fundamentally contrary to the interest of the American people."
While President Bush claims that the issue is Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the Wall Street Journal reported on January 16 that Bush has been meeting with oil companies to plan who will profit from the occupation of Iraq. CBS.MarketWatch.com (January 31) and CNN (March 2) have reported that oil companies expect a windfall from the invasion. This good news for oil companies is bad news for the U.S. economy, which will be damaged by the costs of the invasion and occupation. U.S. citizens will suffer as social services are cut drastically.
"Bush's intention all along was an invasion, which is why neither the U.N. inspections nor Saddam's compliance and destruction of weapons were ever satisfactory, and U.N. support is a disposable formality," said Carl Romanelli of the Pennsylvania Green Party. "At no point did Bush ever allow the possibility of containment under an internationally cooperative plan. Even if Iraq falls quickly, it will bring neither peace nor security, and we'll see terrorist retaliation against American civilians and military personnel. Furthermore, the White House has made it clear that it wants to topple other governments, beginning with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria."
While the Bush Administration has raised the subject of war crimes trials for Iraqi leaders, U.S. officials may face charges if they carry out the threat to drop 800 cruise missiles on Iraq in the first 48 hours of the war. The U.N. predicts a humanitarian disaster, with up to a half million civilian Iraqi deaths and injuries during the early stages of the war.
"Greens will maintain their opposition to the war after the invasion begins," said Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Party of New York State. "If we really care about the lives of American soldiers, we'll continue to demand that their lives not be placed at risk for the sake of control over Iraqi oil and political dominance over the region. The Bush Administration has built its case for this war on deception -- on lies about Iraqi weapons capability, about connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda, about our real objectives in the Middle East. The greatest lie is that opposing the war is unpatriotic. We call on all people who value American ideals of democracy, nonviolence, and human rights to support our troops -- and demand they be sent home!"