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U.S. anti-war leader declares in London:

'Bring the troops home!'

Following are excerpts from remarks given by Deirdre Sinnott, co-director of the International Action Center, which is an ANSWER steering committee member, at a Stop the War Coalition meeting in London on Nov. 18, two days before the massive anti-Bush, anti-Blair protest took place:

We in the U.S. have plenty of experience demonstrating against Bush. I remember going to jail in 1999 to try to stop the execution of Shaka Sankofa, an innocent African-American man who was a minor when he went to death row in Texas. As governor, George Bush signed more execution orders than any other governor. I've been involved in many, many demonstrations against Bush since then.

Last month in Washington, D.C., 100,000 people came out to say, "End the occupation of Iraq" and "Bring the troops home now." There was a coalition for the demonstration of the two largest anti-war organizations in the U.S., the Interna tional ANSWER Coalition and United for Peace and Justice. One of the major contingents for the demonstration was the Military Families Speak Out and there were feeder marches by Black Voices for Peace and the Muslim American Society. It was a great demonstration and it show ed that rather than fading into the past, the anti-war movement is alive and well.

All over the country activists are setting up "Bring the Troops Home Now" committees and laying the groundwork for very significant demonstrations on March 20 around the United States. We will be organizing demonstrations at the same time people around the world will be doing just the same thing.

There are those who call for the U.S. military to be replaced by the United Nations in Iraq. I just want to review what the UN, particularly the Security Council, is responsible for carrying out in Iraq.

While it's true that there are many UN agencies that have a clear humanitarian mission, the UN Security Council imposed the deadly sanctions against Iraq and repeatedly reaffirmed them again and again over a 12-and-a-half-year period.

The UN's own agencies reported that the sanctions directly killed over 500,000 children and more than 1 million people in Iraq. The UN inspections regimes, particularly UNSCOM, were used by the U.S. and Britain to prolong the sanctions as a way to overthrow the Iraqi government, not to find weapons of mass destruction.

The UN allowed the U.S. and Britain to partition Iraq with "No Fly Zones" and after 1998 carry out almost daily bombings of different Iraqi facilities, including civilian facilities.

The UN Security Council is, to a large extent, controlled by the U.S. Last winter's vote, where France and Russia, under great pressure from the world anti-war movement and with lucrative oil contracts with the Iraqi government at stake, threatened to veto the U.S.'s cover plan for war, was a deviation from the role that the Security Council played all along and still plays. Replacing one imperialist with another is not the answer.

We stand in solidarity with the people who are resisting the colonization of their country and their economy. The Iraqi Ruling Council on orders from Paul Bremer, the Pentagon's man in Iraq, kicked open the door to foreign capital. Businesses can now be owned 100 percent from outside, the Iraqi banking system is ready to be sold to the highest bidder, and there is no requirement for the money earned from the businesses in Iraq to be held in Iraq for any length of time. Everything is being privatized. The gold rush in Iraq shows that the Iraqi Ruling Council doesn't represent the Iraqi people, not even the Iraqi ruling class. The Iraqi Ruling Council represents the U.S. and British ruling class.

The oil industry is going to be the next thing on the auction block. Controlling the oil is the long-term objective of U.S. imperialism. Oil is both an economic and a strategic resource. That oil belongs to the Iraqi people not to Exxon, Texaco or British Petroleum.

The CIA just described the resistance in Iraq as having widespread support and much success in winning over the people there. There are between 30 and 40 attacks on occupying troops per day. The CIA is in a split with the Pentagon over the direction the occupation should take. The CIA suggests a "rapid change of course" if the U.S. intends to hold onto the situation at all. I know the CIA is not for ending the occupation, just changing the form of the occupation to a puppet regime.

The Pentagon's answer is "Operation Iron Hammer." Sounds fascistic, doesn't it? Right now in Iraq there are buildings in towns all over being destroyed by the U.S., 500-pound bombs are dropping on Iraqi cities, they are bringing in the "Black hawk" and " attack helicopters des cribed as "killing machines" to shoot groups of people, and they are rounding up thousands in mass arrests, up to 5,000 people in one last week. There have been attacks and firefights in north and south Iraq, including a battle with the Kurdistan Workers Party. What was already a brutal occupation just got more brutal.

The resistance is fighting to get back control of their country. They are picking targets that will destabilize the occupiers and anyone who assists them or who is even seen as assisting the occupation. They are trying to make Iraq ungovernable. I know that people are very worried and very sincerely so about what will happen if the troops were pulled out but for me, I'm not going to presume to tell the Iraqis what to do with their own country. I'm for Iraqi self-determination.

And as for the troops who are fighting and dying in Iraq, they know they've been manipulated. They know they are putting their lives on the lines for a bunch of lies. Soldiers on leave are calling GI Rights hotlines and the number-one question is: What happens if I just don't go back into combat?

Did you know that in the U.S. the press is not allowed to show the coffins returning from Iraq? The press is barely allowed into the overflowing military hospitals to interview injured soldiers. Bush knows that if the U.S. public knew how the rank-and-file soldiers felt, how deeply betrayed they feel, how many have been injured in mind and body, the opposition to the war and occupation would surge out of control. We want that deep opposition to come out into the streets like people will be doing here on Thursday.

We want to support the soldiers and say bring the troops home now, alive--not in body bags. Self-determination for the Iraqi people! No more blood for oil!

Reprinted from the Dec. 4, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper

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