ANSWER calls for united protest on Oct. 25 to bring the
By Leslie Feinberg
Grassroots anger is building again at the Bush
administration's aggression in Iraq and the lies it has told to
put the war over. But this time the families of soldiers are
joining the urgent demand to "End the occupation of Iraq and
bring the troops home."
The International ANSWER coalition--Act Now to Stop War
& End Racism--has issued a call for a mass march on Oct. 25
in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 organizations and
individuals have already endorsed the demonstration.
Brian Becker, a member of the ANSWER steering committee and
co-director of the International Action Center, spoke to
Workers World newspaper about the urgent need to build a
unified, massive march.
Becker began: "We're not looking for a kinder and gentler
occupation or for a United Nations occupation. We stand for the
unrestricted, undiluted right of the Iraqi people to choose
their own destiny, free from the brutal occupation launched by
the U.S. and U.K.
"On Oct. 26 of last year, the ANSWER coalition initiated a
mass people's anti-war movement in the United States with large
demonstrations on both coasts. We knew that only the
mobilization of the people on an enormous level had the
possibility of changing the political climate and creating an
effective obstacle to the Bush administration's path to
pre-emptive war against Iraq.
"While other forces focused their attention on lobbying
Congress, we believed that the organization and the
mobilization of the people was the only effective power. It
turned out that Congress easily rubber-stamped Bush's illegal
war. In fact, the majority in Congress, including the
leadership from both parties, played the role of criminal
co-conspirators as the Bush administration treaded on the
Constitution and its legal obligations under the UN Charter in
racing to carry out a war of aggression against Iraq."
Becker pointed out that on Oct. 26, more than 200,000 people
marched from the Vietnam War memorial in D.C. and surrounded
the White House. "It shocked the administration, it shocked the
media and it was accompanied by similar large protests around
the world on the same day."
"That was when the movement became a global movement and
that's because of ANSWER," Becker said.
He explained that the reason that protest began at the
Vietnam Memorial was that, "We believed that the invasion and
occupation of Iraq would have many similar parallels to
Vietnam. It was a war of choice, not a war of national defense.
It was an invasion and occupation of a Third World country
whose people had a long proud tradition of anti-colonial
resistance. It would be a sinkhole into which hundreds of
billions of dollars would be poured. And we believed that the
people of the U.S. would learn--as they did during
Vietnam--that the public rationale for the war was based on a
pattern of lies and deceit.
"It was amazing to us, to the ANSWER coalition, and to the
war makers that so many people came to the same conclusion and
tried to go into the streets to prevent this adventure."
Bush administration isolated
"The people's movement became so powerful and so uniquely
global," Becker continued, "that it did in fact have the impact
of changing the political climate.
"As a consequence, the usually pliable UN Security Council
refused to rubber-stamp the war and invasion of Iraq. Bush and
Blair were forced to set up a phony photo-op, stage-managed
meeting on the Azores islands in the middle of the Atlantic
Ocean. It was the only place they knew for certain would not be
confronted by huge anti-war demonstrations. This was in order
to pretend that they had some level of international support
and legitimacy for their planned criminal war against
Becker explained that the U.S. government and Pentagon "had
enough military power and enough determination to defy world
public opinion and carry out the invasion of Iraq. They had
enough military power that they could conquer Baghdad within
"But make no mistake about it," he stressed, "the Bush
administration still stands isolated and alone on the world
stage as it carries out the occupation of Iraq--which it has
now placed under a U.S. military dictatorship.
"The people of Iraq today are resisting the occupation.
There is not only an armed resistance, but there is a
multi-faceted political resistance that has impacted almost all
layers of Iraqi society. The Iraqi people want the U.S.
soldiers and occupation authority to leave. They want to
determine their own destiny, as do all people everywhere."
Bring the troops home!
"At the same time," Becker said, "U.S. troops are quickly
realizing that they are nothing but cannon fodder in the eyes
of Bush, Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks. More and more U.S.
soldiers are being killed and an even greater number are being
"They are well aware that Bush made the comment 'Bring 'em
on'--a comment that was affirmed by Tommy Franks, who had the
gall to say on the day before he retired and went home, 'I
agree with the president, bring 'em on.' Soldiers and their
families are aware that the multimillionaire Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld could cavalierly state at a news conference
held in Washington, "Will more people be killed? You bet."
Becker continued, "The Iraqi people want the soldiers to
leave and the soldiers want to come home.
"The GIs are learning the same bitter lesson as the result
of their personal experience that thousands of soldiers learned
during the Vietnam War."
All out for Oct. 25!
"The Oct. 25 mobilization is not simply a demonstration,"
explained Becker. "It is a tactic employed by the anti-war
movement that takes into account the political situation.
"The Bush administration is isolated politically around the
world. The Blair government could be on the verge of falling.
The Iraqi resistance is growing. The U.S. soldiers and their
families want troops to be withdrawn.
"October 25 is an effort to go back into the streets as the
movement successfully did during the past year and to again
become the most potent political factor in the equation. Only
the people's mobilization around the world, but especially
inside the United States, can force the end of the U.S.
occupation and successfully bring the U.S. troops out of
"That is the key to peace," Becker concluded. "And it is the
key to the Iraqi people's taking control again of their own
Reprinted from the July 31, 2003, issue of
Workers World newspaper
This article is copyright under a Creative
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