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It was way back in 2001 when I heard these words spoken by Robert Jensen, "The world cannot afford any more U.S. patriotism." I took those words to include notions of so-called "American exceptionalism." On Thursday, January 2nd, as the world ushered in a new year, the world saw yet another example as to why.
I first heard these words shortly after 9/11, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan illegally on October 7, 2001 and about 18 months before the U.S. recklessly and illegally invaded Iraq. Both actions had nothing to do with 9/11. I opposed the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 despite those who called me unpatriotic and suggested I leave the country. The U.S. remains in Afghanistan, more than 17 years later, in the nation's longest war.
Madelyn Hoffman for US Senate
For Immediate Release
January 6, 2020
For more information, contact:
Madelyn Hoffman (973) 876-1023
Recently a report was issued, one that some in the peace movement recognized in September of 2001, describing how the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was based on lies. But once the U.S. takes an illegal action, the U.S. feels entitled to continue its illegal and destructive behaviors. Over the years in Afghanistan, U.S. drones have dropped bombs illegally on Pakistan, risking an escalation of conflict that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
Post-9/11, when another illegal military action was being discussed, this one against Iraq, literally millions of people throughout the world flooded the streets of the world in opposition, knowing full well what some of the consequences would be. I was one of perhaps a quarter of a million or more protesters in New York City in February of 2003 -- hoping to stop another invasion that was clearly illegal, immoral and unjustified. Unfortunately, despite the millions who took to the street, the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 19th, 2003. The U.S. has remained in Iraq ever since, now more than 16 years later.
During the same time period, the U.S. threatened war against Iran multiple times. Each time, thankfully!, the peace movement was able to fend off any such action. In fact, after working tirelessly every day for about two years, the peace movement, with the support of many others, succeeded in allowing the Iran Deal to pass. Some of our politicians resisted the entire idea. Senator Menendez refused to approve it, but Senator Cory Booker eventually and reluctantly voted for it -- after enough votes in favor were counted. The peace movement hailed it as a much-needed diplomatic resolution to the ever-escalating calls for war against Iran, while politicians looked at it only as a way of delaying war. It was shocking to me at the time that something that could actually bring about peace was criticized so loudly and opposed so vehemently by some.
Lastly, we should all remember General Wesley Clark's warning to us at that time. General Clark was invited to a superior's office, during which time he was told of the military's plans to accomplish seven regime changes in five years -- Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. No one cared that regime change wars are illegal, but they most definitely are. Notice that today the U.S. is well on its way to accomplishing most of those 7 -- but Iran has remained the most difficult to accomplish, certainly not for lack of trying. Syria has also resisted the regime plans of the U.S. imperial power and its allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel.
Since 2011, the U.S. has left Libya with a power vacuum, leading to enslavement of Libyans. The U.S. took advantage of the situation in Syria to begin an absolutely devastating series of actions all of which were designed to accomplish regime change in Syria -- none of which has worked. But again, it wasn't for lack of trying. I traveled to Syria in July 2016 and have a perspective on what is happening independent of what the U.S. military-industrial complex tells us. Time and time again in Syria, one wrong move could have led to World War III, as the U.S. and Russia were on opposite sides of the fight and could have easily confronted one another or sparked a major conflict.
I write all this as a backdrop to what happened Thursday night in Baghdad. We could go back even further -- to the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1991 -- or to the CIA-engineered coup against democratically elected Mosadeggh of Iran. Much of this intervention was over oil and access to oil. As Henry Kissinger once said, "Oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs." Of course, Iranians are Persian, but not so Iraqis, Syrians, and others.
The point is that this latest action carried out by the U.S. military in Iraq is one in a long series of actions of intervention taken by the U.S. in what the U.S. calls the "Middle East," as well as in South Asia. U.S. actions in Iraq have been illegal since Gulf War I began on August 2nd, 1990, followed by unilaterally imposed sanctions from August 6, 1990 through May 22, 2003, when the U.S. illegally ousted Saddam Hussein. And words that should haunt the U.S. for the rest of time, spoken by then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who stated that even though perhaps 500,000 children had died as a result of those sanctions, that it was a "price worth paying" to unseat Saddam Hussein. I remember that I and much of the world were shocked by that statement. And I'm sure that Albright's statement didn't make the U.S. any friends. It's time for us all to stand with the Iraqi people!
Lastly, who can forget another Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks about the U.S. assassination of Ghadaffi in Libya? "We came, we saw, he died (hahahaha)." Both Albright and Hillary Clinton were called into New Jersey in 2018 to help Democratic Party candidates for public office in the election campaigns. Clearly, their voices are still valued within the Democratic Party.
This should be where the peace movement and all those who oppose war draw a line in the sand. Clearly, this is NOT only about removing Donald Trump from political office. Notice how many Democrats have also been involved in these interventions around the world. We can easily go back much further than 1988, but I'll start there. We're talking about President George Bush I, followed by President Bill Clinton, followed by President George Bush, Jr., followed by President Barack Obama, and followed by President Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans alike.
We must recognize and acknowledge the complicity of both political parties because it does us no good to frame this issue in a partisan manner. We do ourselves and the world a disservice to do so. This is one reason why I'm running for U.S. Senate with the Green Party of New Jersey. I can't abide by the Democratic Party's foreign policy decisions, nor do I abide by many of its domestic policies. The Green Party is the only anti-war party -- and I an anti-war, anti-imperialist candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey. I have been an anti-war, anti-imperialist activist for decades.
January 4th was an International Day of Action against the actions of the U.S. government this past Thursday night. It is our line in the sand -- a line in the sand for all those who value peace and the self-determination of people around the world -- all those who will shed their partisan allegiances in favor of the larger issue of saving the planet from these endless wars, the endless consumption of fossil fuels, the endless arrogance and conceit fueled by the misplaced and misguided notion of "American imperialism" and so much more. We cannot save the planet from endless, all-engulfing fires unless we stop this addiction to war!!