Over five years ago, and many times since, we’ve marched, vigiled, written letters, lobbied and taken direct action to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Estimates put the number of Iraqi dead at over 1 million. Over 4,000 coalition troops have been killed. Companies like Halliburton and Blackwater profit directly in Iraq. Companies like Exxon and Chevron profit less directly, but profit all the same.
Tomorrow, March 19th, being the fifth anniversary of the war puts the past five-plus years in perspective for me. I’ve worked with everyone from ragtag bands of activists to national organizations to my own mother trying to stop the madness. I traveled around the country and world campaigning against it.
For a while, I had this thought that “one more protest” or “one more action” would make the difference and end it. In a sense, I guess I was right because most US public opinion is now against it. World opinion definitely is and even major US allies have pulled out the majority of their troops.
Last weekend, the Winter Soldier testimonies from vets of Iraq and Afghanistan happened over the weekend in Silver Spring, MD. KFPA played it all weekend. Some media has covered it (major corp media seems intent on sanitizing the war and declaring victory after last summer’s troop surge). I listened to it when I could. Pretty grim sad things came out which sparked some raw emotion for me.
But it’s not ended. It’s a long campaign on our part and we’re entering year six of it.
Here’s the press advisory for tomorrow.
Nonviolent Direct Actions Throughout San Francisco
Mark 5th Year Anniversary of the Iraq War
Group that shut the city down 5 years ago will again target war profiteers
and politicians with nonviolent civil disobedience and other creative
WHEN: Wednesday, March 19, 7:30 AM, continuing all day
WHERE: Gather at Market and Sansome Streets. Protest actions will be held
at various SF offices of government officials and war profiteering
WHAT: Tomorrow on the 5-year-anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq, San
Francisco will join some 300 cities throughout the United States that plan
to resist the tragic and costly war and occupation. Coordinated by the
group Direct Action to Stop the War, Bay Area residents from all walks of
life will participate in nonviolent direct actions. Planned actions
• 7:30 am peaceful civil disobedience begins: War machine tours of shame
leaving Sansome and Market throughout the day accompanied by the Brass
• Bikes Not Bombs: Bikers will be leaving Justin Herman Plaza at 7:30,
9:00 and 11:00am to support the day’s actions.
• 10:00am Guerrilla Street Theater with legendary performer Keith Hennessy
• 11:00am Words Against War, Market at Montgomery. City Lights Bookstore
co-sponsors an anti-war read-out featuring Jack Hirschman, SF Poet
Laureate; Guillermo Gómez-Peña, performance artist; Rebecca Solnit, author
and activist; and MC James Kass of Youth Speaks.
• 12 noon Iraq War Moratorium action at Diane Feinstein’s office, Market
• Decentralized actions continue throughout the afternoon. Contact Blake
McConnell or Michael Reagan for updates.
• 5 pm Civic Center March and Rally organized by A.N.S.W.E.R.
Other actions may included sit-ins and blockades of building entrances
targeting the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and war profiteering
companies such as Bechtel, Chevron, the Carlyle Group and URS Corp.
The actions in San Francisco and throughout the United States will
highlight the human cost of the war – which includes more than 1 million
dead Iraqis* and 3,900 dead US soldiers – as well as the loss of nearly $2
trillion in funds that could have been spent on people’s basic human needs
instead of on death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We want San Franciscans to stop and think about the damage that our
government has done to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years of
war and destruction is far more than any people should have to bear, and
we need to hold accountable the government leaders and corporations that
have let this go on for way too long – or even want it to continue because
they’re making a killing off the war,” said Michael B Reagan, organizer
with Direct Action to Stop the War.
WHO: Direct Action to Stop the War is a decentralized network of
individuals and organizations committed to ending the war in Iraq and
Afghanistan. We demand an immediate and unequivocal end to the war.
Tomorrow’s actions are in solidarity with the students who are protesting
at the UC Regents’ meeting nearby, with those who are protesting at the
Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley, and with the acts of civil
disobedience in Washington DC organized by United for Peace and Justice.
For more information about the San Francisco action, see
http://www.actagainstwar.net. For a list of actions throughout the United
States, including a massive nonviolent civil disobedience planned for
Washington, DC, see http://www.5yearstoomany.org/
* Opinion Research Business, January 2008