This Saturday, July 12, the DC Chapters of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace will be marching alongside thousands of revolutionaries dedicated to “restoring constitutional government as the founding fathers set forth.” An important element of the wisdom of our founders was a foreign policy based on nonintervention and free trade. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." Our abandonment of those principles has been responsible for all of our nations foreign policy disasters. If we actually followed the provisions of the Constitution, we would not be in Iraq right now.
It is critical that anti-war veterans groups earn the same position of prominence and respect in the Freedom Movement as we have in the Anti-War Movement. In fact, the Anti-War Movement itself would be wise to consider its role in the broader Freedom Movement. A lot of the Anti-War Movement leans left, but principled socialists and libertarians have a lot more in common than most of them know, and some would care to admit. They also have a lot more in common with each other, than either of them have in common with Demubicans. Tragically, the anti-war movement alienates libertarians, and many feel driven out by the condescension that (from my experience) often accompanies leftist ideologies. There are a lot of “closet libertarians” in the anti-war movement, and a lot more that would join us if we could create a more inclusive atmosphere.
I will be speaking about IVAW's strategy to end the war based on withdrawing our material support and inspiring others to do the same. This is based on the consent theory of power. Just as it can be applied to the specific issue of the war, it can be applied to the broader issue of fascism in America. If soldiers refuse to fight in illegal wars, there will be no more occupaiton of Iraq. If we don't comply with illegal police orders en masse, and don't support unconstitutional law enforcement policy, there will be no police state. If tax-payers stopped paying unconstitutional taxes, there would be no (ok, less) funding for unconstitutional programs. If we stopped voting for lesser evils, we would not have an evil government.
The challenge before the Freedom Movement that Ron Paul has played a key part in forming and building, is to find ways beyond the electoral process to bring about the revolution for which we are all hoping and working towards. You say you want a revolution? You had better be willing to fight for it. But you can start by marching. See you Saturday!
We will be meeting at the Washington Monument at 0930, then marching down Constitution Avenue to the West Lawn of the Capitol for the rally. I will also be at the reception at 1800 at the Holiday Inn at 550 C St SW, in the Discovery II Room. For more details about the day, please go to revolutionmarch.com.
In a discussion I had recently with a fellow IVAW member about a potential alliance with Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty to protest at the Republican National Convention, he said that he opposed the alliance because Ron Paul “doesn't oppose the war for the same reasons we do.” That statement was either shamefully ignorant and presumptuous, or a deliberate lie. Ron Paul seems to be such a threat, (or at least was) that people are stooping to new lows to discredit him.
The lines in bold are IVAW's ten “official” reasons for opposing the war. Each is followed by a quote from the Congressman and the source.
1. The Iraq war is based on lies and deception.
"The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information."
2. The Iraq war violates international law.
"But if the warmongers' goal is to have a war, regardless of international law and the Constitution, current policy serves their interests."
3. Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq.
"Cliches about supporting the troops are designed to distract from failed policies, policies promoted by powerful special interests that benefit from war, anything to steer the discussion away from the real reasons the war in Iraq will not end anytime soon."
4. Overwhelming civilian casualties are a daily occurrence in Iraq.
I was not able to find a specific quote about a "daily occurrence," but in speaking out against the war before it began, he expressed concern for the Iraqi people numerous time, including acknowledging overwhelming civilian casualties.
"Remember, Iraq has not initiated aggression against us. We, on the other hand, have bombed them, taunted them by flying military jets in their airspace, and starved them with economic sanctions- all for more than a decade. We haven't done these things out of humanitarian concern for Kuwait, we've done them because we want to protect our oil interests. Yet these actions have harmed the people of Iraq, not the Hussein regime."
5. Soldiers have the right to refuse illegal war.
I don't think he has ever stated this explicitly, but I had the honor of spending about ten minutes with Congressman Paul this afternoon as he was on his way back to his office from a hearing. Of course, I was more interested in hearing about his future plans and thoughts on the Revolution March, but I also had a chance to explain IVAW's strategy including supporting war resisters, and he was very supportive.
6. Service members are facing serious health consequences due to our Government's negligence.
"Many politicians talk about honoring our veterans and their sacrifices. Yet so often the rhetoric obscures the reality that the federal government treats veterans badly."
7. The war in Iraq is tearing our families apart.
"With thousands of our troops now deployed in Afghanistan, and thousands more probably headed to Iraq, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by our military families. . . . I recently cosponsored legislation that would exempt members of America’s armed forces from income taxes."
http://www.ronpaul2008.com/articles/234/legislation-for-our-military-families-and-veterans/ This particular article includes other great proposals for supporting the troops and their families.
8. The Iraq war is robbing us of funding sorely needed here at home.
"As if a national debt topping $9 trillion is not bad enough, each day this war is fought, deficit spending increases. . . . Make no mistake, as Congress spends more and more, there will be less and less to fund Social Security and Medicare, the programs Washington has made us dependent on, without a massive tax increase."
9. The war dehumanizes Iraqis and denies them their right to self-determination.
"It is in the best interests of the Iraqi people that we return their country to them immediately." http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/iraq/
10. Our military is being exhausted by repeated deployments, involuntary extensions, and activations of the Reserve and National Guard.
"Military experts, including Generals Barry McCaffrey and John Batiste, have sounded the warning that our military is stretched so thin because of Iraq and our other commitments that, as General Batiste put it recently, 'our Army and Marine Corps are at a breaking point with little to show for it.'"
Not even all of our members endorse all of these reasons! Maybe at the rally Saturday I can convince the Congressman to join VFP. Our newest VFP member is Congressman John Conyers, whom we met with today as an official delegation of VFP members to discuss impeachment, but more on that later.
One of the reasons we got into the war in the first place was because chickenhawks who had never served in uniform started spouting off about things they knew nothing about to serve their own self-interests. Or in Ron Paul's words before the war, “those without military experience are the ones demanding this war.” Let us be careful to not repeat this mistake and do a little homework next time before “running our sucks,” as we would say in the military.