Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Fifth Anniversary of the U.S. Attack on Iraq

Some Events Marking the Anniversary of the Attack
(colored text is a link to more information)
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier Hearings
March 13 through 16

We can't say enough good things about Iraq Veterans Against the War. Please check out the organization overall and these historic hearings:

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan--and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

The 4-day event is not open to the general public because of limited space at the event site. To bring the testimonies to the general public and GIs all over the world IVAW has made it possible to watch the live broadcasts on line and on television and to listen on line and on the radio. You can find out more about how to watch or listen here. To find a local Winter Soldier screening event or to submit a screening event go to IVAW's events map. Any location with a broadband Internet connection and a projector can be set up for public viewing of the broadcasts. For higher quality video the event will be broadcast by satellite on March 14th and 15th. And there are countless other ways to tune in the hearings.

In Baltimore Red Emma's will be hosting two nights of video updates, screening key talks from that day's testimonies. The screenings are free.
Friday Mar 14, 9 p.m.
Saturday Mar 15, 9 p.m.
Red Emma's has also scheduled a benefit for IVAW on March 22.

Stop Loss Congress
March 10 through 12

Codepink Action Day
March 18

Anne Arundel Peace Action vigil
March 18
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (rain or shine), Spa Creek Bridge spanning Eastport and Annapolis
Marking the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War and demanding that U.S. troops be withdrawn, the occupation be ended, the United States renounce any ambition for permanent bases in Iraq, and a commitment be made to rebuilding Iraq with funds provided through international organizations not U.S. contractors.
Signs will be available or bring your own. The City of Annapolis prohibits signs on sticks at vigils or demonstrations.
Anne Arundel Peace Action will hold its monthly social at Adams Ribs in the Eastport Shopping Center at 6:30 p.m.

United for Peace and Justice local actions
March 19

Five Years Too Many

(Thanks to the War Resisters League for a list of the events that include links.)

Other Events Continue

Weekly vigils also continue in nearby Baltimore and DC, as in the rest of the country. A recent weekly list of peace and justice events and resources in the Baltimore-DC region E-mailed by the Baltimore Nonviolence Center had 72 entries. You can find some events listed at these DC links: Washington Peace Center and Busboys and Poets and at these Baltimore links: Radical Calendar and Red Emma's Bookstore.

Our Vigil's First 5 Years

March 2, 2008, marked the fifth anniversary of the start of our vigil (to read about how we began go to the August 2006 archive page of this blog). These days we have three consistent participants. Usually two of us stand from noon or thereabouts to 1 p.m. on any given Sunday (we don't often start punctually at noon, and the later shift has faded away). We have lively discussions among ourselves and with some passersby. Not all of the opinions here represent a consensus of opinion among vigil participants.

Often people who stop to speak to us try to boil everything down to Democrats versus Republicans. Some of us look at social change from a very different perspective, in part thanks to the work of historian Howard Zinn. In a recent essay he explains this point of view and some other important points.

Some of us have believed from early on that the purposes of current U.S. policy toward Iraq have been to build permanent bases and seize control of the country's formerly nationalized oil resources. Recent events support this view.

Some of us feel that the Democrats have been disgracefully soft on crime and national security: it's far past time to impeach Dick Cheney and George W. Bush; to set about prosecuting the crimes they and the rest of their administration have committed; and to begin to repair the damage this gang of thugs has done to our nation's basic institutions. See a couple of impeachment links along the right side of this page.

As we turn to the issue of security, please look up the word "homeland" in a dictionary and consider how it fits your beliefs about this country.

And, finally, here is a question so many seem to be grappling with: Is a war for oil a war to protect our way of life? No--quite the opposite. The only way we can keep using energy the way we do is to produce it through renewable sources. An energy policy that aimed to keep the lights on in your house, along with the heater and the air conditioner in their seasons--and to leave you free to drive to the store or go out on your boat when you wanted to--would be a policy that developed clean, renewable sources of energy and produced jobs at a living wage (in addition to cutting waste). Policies that keep us dependent on burning fuel to produce energy leave us vulnerable to price gouging while they destroy both our environment and our economy.

Why are we as a nation subsidizing everything to do with fossil and other fuels but not research and job creation aimed at using clean, renewable sources to produce the energy we use? Why don't we all know that we could put solar collectors on our roofs tomorrow and hook them up to BGE's meter--and on those hot, sunny, summer afternoons when demand for energy peaked our meters would run backwards as we contributed energy to the region's system? Why aren't we driving hybrid cars that have solar collectors and that we can plug in overnight to continue to charge? What kind of mileage could they get?


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