The Iraqi People are our Sisters and Brothers

Stephanie Tang | June 21, 2014

14.6.21-SF Protest

As we speak and protest today about the looming threats of renewed U.S. aggression and intervention in Iraq, let’s look at reality, not a fragment of reality but the wide angle. The current crisis in Iraq and Syria is a nightmare for the people there, and when imperialist wars and aggression are on the loose anywhere – death and destruction are raining down on people whose lives are every bit as precious and important as our own.

AND this crisis in Iraq is of a piece with all the other horrors of the U.S. imperialist so-called “war on terror:

Today is Day 500 of the prisoners hunger strike at Guantanamo. When people tell me that’s not possible, they don’t realize that the hugner strikers are being tortured every day by their forcefeeding, and as we know from current lawsuits and testimony, beatings and other sadistic brutalities go along with the forcefeeding.

And last week marked the 10 year anniversary of the first U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. Think about this. A high school student today was in 3rd grade that day. She or he was in kindergarten in 2003 – Shock and Awe. They don’t remember the world being any other way.

14.6.20-SF-Iraq-ProtestThis crisis in Iraq is a nightmare for the Iraqi people. But it’s a nightmare going on over 23 years, since the first U.S. invasion in 1991. The world knows what we who live in the imperial homeland are supposed to have amnesia about: these 23 years have brought the Iraqi people possibly a million uncounted deaths, 4 million refugees, sanctions, the brutal destruction of the entire infrastructure: education, health care, water, electrical... America invaded what had been a relatively secular country and by 2012 when the U.S. withdrew, Iraq was a ruined society split along sectarian lines, with a weak puppet government and a huge opening for Islamic fundamentalists to push for theocracy.

Now here again comes the U.S. to try again to FIX Iraq. Obama’s threats may come to pass. Whether it’s drone strikes (which in urban terrain, will be a different story than in the mountains of Afghanistan), Tomahawk missiles, or B-52s and conventional bombs – the plans announced by Obama will only deliver more unimaginable suffering to the Iraqi people.

We cannot let the Empire fool people into supporting this horror, especially getting people to think what the rulers call “America’s interests” are the same as OUR own interests. Any solutions to this crisis that satisfies the imperialists, is bound to be terrible for the people there, and so no it’s NOT in our interests.

This is a crime, and the top dog criminals responsible for it sit in power, when in a more just world all of them from Bush and Cheney on through the Obama team would be behind bars for their towering crimes against the people of the world. But for now, when these criminals speak of “WE” – you and I and everybody else should say ABSOLUTELY NOT!  “We” is a most dangerous word when comes from the mouth of the commander in chief.

WE do not want to dominate the Middle East. WE don’t want to live in a world ruled by the most violent empire humanity’s ever seen.

Right now we need to expose and stand up against the crimes of our government, AND the lies they tell to fool people into supporting these crimes and we should be on a mission to bring people to our side. In 2003 hundreds and hundreds of cities around the world erupted in mass street protests as the U.S. prepared to assault Iraq, including here in the imperial homeland. And if we don’t have that today, mass resistance and refusal to go along with the crimes of our own government is what the world does need, and it is on us to do all we can to bring that forward out of the potential that exists today. Including resistance that takes people outside the routines, outside the comfort zones, and outside anybody’s expectations, even our own.  

No bombs on Iraq, no drone strikes on Iraq, no puppet regime change, no secret ops, no materiel, nothing else to foster the war going on inside and outside Iraq, or Syria for that matter.

The Iraqi people are our sisters and brothers. No Further War on Iraq. The World Can’t Wait!

This speech was given at the San Francisco rally against more war on Iraq on June 21, 2014.