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Why We’re Protesting on the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War

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Because this war has taken the lives of almost 4,000 U.S. troops (with 29,000 wounded) and, according to some estimates, over 1 million Iraqis (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/31/6768/).

Because our government is torturing people.

Because the vast majority of Iraqis oppose the occupation (79% according to an ABC News/BBC Poll taken in September 2007), and want us out of their country.

Because the vast majority of Americans (64%) want all U.S. troops brought home from Iraq within a year including 29% who want them withdrawn immediately (Rasmussen Reports, 3/4/08).

Because if we don’t hit the streets, the media and politicians can just ignore us!

Because this war costs $720 million a day – $500,000 a minute! (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/09/23/4049/)

Because the Bush administration told 935 lies just about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda to justify the invasion, according to the Center for Public Integrity (http://www.publicintegrity.org/warcard/?source=c0107e3a)

Because U.S. troops killed a young Iraqi girl on Thursday, March 13.

Because there will be as many troops in Iraq at the beginning of 2009 as there were at the beginning of 2007.

Because the U.S. occupation, under the guise of “liberation” and “freedom,” has made a mockery of those words and destroyed life in Iraq. There is now a lake of sewage in Baghdad so large it can be seen “as a big black spot on Google Earth,” according to an Iraqi official.

Because, as Tom Engelhardt writes on tomdispatch.com, “In the land the Bush administration “liberated,” violence remains at a staggering daily level; electricity is a luxury; the national medical-care system has been largely destroyed; perhaps 4.5 million Iraqis have either fled the country or become internally displaced persons; approximately 70% lack access to clean water; and 4 million, according to the UN, don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

Because 68% of Americans think that withdrawing from Iraq would be the best stimulus for the U.S. economy (AP/Ipsos poll).

Because this war could cost up to $3 trillion before all is said and done, according to Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Because, according to a ABC News/BBC poll from September 2007:
70% of Iraqis say that in areas where U.S. forces have been sent during the surge they have made the situation worse, while another 11% say they have had no effect
72% of Iraqis think the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq is making the security situation worse
57% of Iraqis support attacks on U.S. forces (vs. 17% who said this in 2004!)
80% of Iraqis say the availability of jobs is “quite bad” or “very bad”
93% say supply of electricity is “quite bad” or “very bad” (58% “very bad”)
75% say availability of clean water “quite bad” or “very bad”
67% say availability of medical care “quite bad” or “very bad”
(see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/10_09_07_iraqpoll.pdf)

Because John McCain said he’d be fine with keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for one hundred years (or even a thousand or a million – see: http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/01/6735_mccain_in_nh_wo.html).

Because, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Despite the rhetoric of the Democratic presidential candidates, significant numbers of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq regardless who wins in November.”

Because all the main presidential candidates want to add 92,000 troops to the military, which would mean more military recruiters in our schools and more troops to fight more criminal wars for oil and U.S. corporate domination of the globe.

Because the military spent $3.9 billion of our tax dollars on recruitment in 2006.

Because military recruiters LIE (see http://counterrecruiter.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/army-of-none-top-ten-military-recruiter-lies/) and we want them out of our schools!

Because this is a war for oil and we were dismissed as conspiracy theorists for saying so, but according to former head of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, one of the top dogs in the U.S. establishment, “Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy… I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq War is largely about oil.”

Because the success of the surge is a lie, and the surge is only sowing the seeds for a resurgence of violence in the near future. “We are essentially supporting a quasi-feudal devolution of authority to armed enclaves, which exist at the expense of central government authority,” says Chas Freeman, who served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush. “Those we are arming and training are arming and training themselves not to facilitate our objectives but to pursue their own objectives vis-a-vis other Iraqis. It means that the sectarian and ethnic conflicts that are now suppressed are likely to burst out with even greater ferocity in the future” (Nir Rosen, “The Myth of the Surge”).

Because, according to a survey of 1500 Iraq women by Women for Women International in early 2008, 63.9% of women said violence against them had increased
76.2% said girls in their family were not allowed to attend school
68.3% described the availability of jobs as “bad”
70.5% said their family cannot afford to pay for the necessities

Because we stand in solidarity with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out activists.

Because the U.S. is building the world’s largest embassy in Baghdad.

Because the U.S. is killing Iraqi men, women, and children. Because this is what war looks like (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC): http://www.robert-fisk.com/iraqwarvictims_mar2003.htm

Because the U.S. spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.

Because soldier suicides are at a record high, with 121 soldiers taking their own life in 2007.

Because “The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment — along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems — appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction” (NYTimes, 1/13/08).

Because this war is only creating more terrorists and destroying our future.

Because we want to live in a world of peace, justice, and equality, not a world of endless war, brutality, and injustice.

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