Bring the Troops Home Now

September 23, 2005     In solidarity with national actions against the war

As the total number of American troops who have died in Iraq nears 2000, Iraq plunges into civil war, and our nation becomes increasingly unwilling to support the President's handling of the situation, many Americans including families of those serving or who have died in the Gulf are calling for the troops to come home now. In a Washington Post/ABC poll, 53% thought the war was not worth fighting, and 68% said the number of US casualties was unacceptable (Reuters, 8/31).

End the War on the Iraqi People

While it is true that there are many Iraqis being killed by other Iraqis (and a relatively small number of foreigners, other than Americans, in guerilla actions), much of the destruction in Iraq can be traced back to US policies. Beginning with the 13-year-long sanctions regime, which crippled Iraq's economy and left its infrastructure and health care system in shambles (imposed August 6, 1990); the "first Gulf War" (to force Iraq's troops out of Kuwait, January 16-March 3, 1991), which targeted Iraq's electrical and water treatment plants; and stretching through the invasion (March 19, 2003) to today, Iraq has been under siege for 15 years. Many have pointed out that prior to the US invasion, there was never a suicide bombing in Iraq's 7000 years of civilization.

The US says it is not interested in staying in Iraq permanently, yet in early September, according to the Toronto Sun, "the US Air Force's senior officer, Gen. John Jumper, stated US warplanes would remain in Iraq to fight resistance forces and protect the American-installed regime 'more or less indefinitely.' While President Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent air bases in Iraq. The US now finds itself in a similar position as demonized Saddam Hussein[:] battling Sunni insurgents, rebuilding Saddam's dreaded secret police, holding 15,000 prisoners and torturing captives, as the Abu Ghraib outrage showed" (9/4).

Attacks on Iraqi civilians by US forces continue as well. In August, 26 Iraqi workers were wounded by US military gunfire by "troops who mistook them for insurgents" ( Agence France Presse, 8/16). Three US airstrikes in Western Iraq aimed at specific homes killed fifty-six people on August 30 (CNN, 8/30). And three members of an Iraqi special forces unit responding to a suicide blast in Baquba were killed in error by US troops, who mistook them for "insurgents" (BBC, 8/23).

The US also seems to be resorting to Vietnam-era "destroy the village to save it" tactics. Following last November's near-complete destruction of Fallujah, combined US/Iraqi forces raided the Western city of Tal Afar in a major assault in early September, killing over 200, and cutting off all contact for the civilians living there (