Your Tax Dollars at Work: Civilian Casualties of Coalition Airstrike Near Village of Duaij, Syria, Nov. 11, 2017
by Rich Whitney, originally published on Medium, Jan 27, 2018
On January 13, 2018, warplanes for the U.S.-led Coalition in Syria, fired missiles on Hajin city, in the eastern suburbs of Deir Ez-Zour of that devastated country, killing five civilians. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, their names were Matrouk al Saleh and his wife, Bashar al-Saleh, Yasser Shaker Al Ismail and Abdul Qadir Shaker Al Ismail.
I’m guessing that most people reading this article had no idea that this occurred. For the next several days after this killing, Americans who try to follow the “news,” including many who identify with the Left, were mostly discussing other topics. The most prominent at that time? An anonymous woman’s description of a bad sexual encounter with comic actor Aziz Ansari.
The issue of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other misogynistic and predatory behavior towards women is without question a serious matter, so I understand why this was a subject worthy of discussion, as people debated where his alleged acts fell on the spectrum of evil.
But isn’t blowing people up with a missile kind of evil, too? When are we going to talk about that evil? Does it not deserve at least equal time?
The fault for this state of affairs does not lie entirely with the broad public. The corporate media in this country still tend to set the agenda for what it annoyingly calls the “national conversation.” The talking heads discuss Aziz Ansari, so most of us decide that that is what we need to be discussing as well. Ever since the Vietnam War, the human toll of our government’s acts of war simply don’t get much media coverage.
But while the fault does not rest entirely with the general public, the responsibility does. Ultimately, we are responsible for what the government of the United States does in our name. We have a civic responsibility to find out and monitor what it is doing, oppose it when it commits harmful acts, and vote into office people who will put a stop to such harmful acts.
To say that the American people have been falling down on the job in that respect would be a colossal understatement. Even when the media do cover new developments in U.S. wars, it doesn’t seem to generate much discussion. For example, on January 17th, in a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory for an indefinite period, strongly implying that it would remain there until Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was removed from office.
A few weeks earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis casually announced that he expected to see a larger U.S. civilian presence in Syria, including contractors and diplomats, to join the at least 2,000 U.S. troops currently occupying a slice of that sovereign nation, despite the flagrant illegality of their presence there. In interviewing Mattis, National Public Radio played its now familiar role as a cheerleader for neoliberal interventionist policies while pretending to engage in objective reporting. It claimed with a straight face that the U.S. was busy “stabilizing Syria,” echoing Mattis’s assertion that the troops’ role would be to protect the diplomats and contractors, “not only from any Islamic State fighters but potentially from Syrian government forces.” It didn’t see fit to mention that the U.S. presence in Syria violated international law.
Where were the expressions of outrage over this? Where was the public debate over whether trying to overthrow the government of Syria — and risking a wider, possible apocalyptic war with Russia — was in the best interest of the American people? Perhaps I missed something, but neither of these pronouncements appeared to draw a whimper of protest, or even much reaction, from a single one of our so-called “representatives” in Congress, and they received precious little reaction from the news media, commentators or the general public.
If there was one campaign promise that President Trump made that actually deserved support from Americans across the political spectrum, it was his promise to “pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past,” to “stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.” What happened to that? Why aren’t Americans across the spectrum mad as hell about this betrayal — a betrayal that will end up costing American lives and American resources, as well as sow more murder, mayhem, misery — and create thousands of more refugees and future enemies of the United States?
Granted, the mirror that the corporate media hold up to society is a distorted one. Some voices on the Left are calling attention to the utterly venal nature of the new Syrian land grab, as well as our foreign policy generally. Lack of mass discussion and mass action does not necessarily signify mass approval of our nation’s ongoing wars. There may be a lot more of us concerned about or opposed to war than we think there are. But there is no gainsaying the fact that not enough of us are talking about war, not enough of us are involved in the peace movement, not enough of us are demanding that our nation cease acting as the world’s number one murderous, criminal nation.
Our nation has now been at war for over 16 straight years, and, counting the use of surrogate forces, we’ve been pretty close to a state of constant war since the Korean War. In 2016 alone, we dropped at least 26,171 bombs or other ordnance on seven Middle East and African nations — Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria. By some estimates, the number was over 30,000 — and the Trump administration had already eclipsed that figure, with sickening numbers of civilian casualties, by September of 2017. Year after year, Congress blithely writes the checks, funded by our current and future tax dollars, robbing us of the ability to meet pressing needs at home, while three different administrations repeatedly violated both international law and the Constitution in ordering military attacks in other countries. Yet it appears that there have been far more expressions of outrage over the Trump administration’s restrictions on refugees from Muslim countries entering the United States than over the acts of war committed by the prior administrations that created millions of refugees in the first place.
One can justly describe this Ameri-centric myopia as “imperial privilege.” Too many of us sit in the relative comfort of the wealthiest nation on earth, waxing indignant about various domestic injustices and policy choices, while not giving a damn about the latest poor villager in Yemen, Iraq, Syria or Libya who just had his or her home and loved ones incinerated by a U.S. bomb or drone strike. It is the worst possible manifestation of “out of sight, out of mind.”
This is unconscionable — and it has to end. The American people need to take heed of the criminal conduct of its government and stand up against it — and against the War Machine and ruling-class interests that benefit from, and perpetuate war.
Accordingly, in the interest of poking as many of my fellow Americans as I possibly can in the posterior, with a pitchfork, I take this opportunity to remind my fellow Americans of the three “I”s: War is immoral, illegal and idiotic. At the conclusion, I will also provide some useful information about what you can do to put an end to war and the Warfare State.
War is Immoral
I should not have to dwell on this point, but it bears repeating: except in cases of actual self-defense, acts of war are intrinsically immoral.
None of these nations — Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria — ever attacked the United States, or even threatened to attack the United States.
It bears reminding people of the origins of our now 16-year war in Afghanistan — a war with no end in sight, a war that now has our nation supporting a military run by child sex abusers. Even assuming that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were responsible for the 9/11 attacks (not going to get into the whole 9/11 Truth debate here, just saying it is open to question), the nation of Afghanistan did not attack the United States, and it is debatable whether it was truly “harboring” bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
It must be recalled that the Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden if the United States had simply provided some evidence of his responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Yet the United States rejected those offers and instead carried out a plan to invade Afghanistan that had already been prepared prior to 9/11, invading an entire sovereign nation on the pretext that it was trying to capture one person and his followers. How can that possibly justify continuing to occupy and continue a war on behalf of a surrogate government in that country, years after bin Laden has died?
None of these ongoing wars have been waged for the purpose of making the United States safer or more secure. They cannot possibly be justified as a war on “terrorism” or terrorists, since the net effect of these wars have been to create more terrorists who hate the United States. Indeed, sometimes the United States has intentionally funneled arms to terrorists in pursuit of its goals of “regime change” — in Libya and Syria, for example.
While it is beyond the scope of the present article to offer comprehensive proof, it should be clear to anyone who seriously examines the question that the real motives underlying U.S. war-making are to control the petroleum, other mineral and other resources, labor and markets of other nations, and to attain strategic objectives related to that control. For example, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has made a convincing argument that the real motives underlying the U.S. war in Syria were to facilitate the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey — a plan rejected by the Assad government. In Libya, the U.S. and France, primarily, were after that country’s vast oil and gold reserves, and they wanted to thwart Muammar Qaddafi’s plans to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar, which threatened Western monetary interests.
An equally important motive for war, of course, is to continue the monetary pipeline from American taxpayers to the behemoth military-industrial complex, whose major players invest millions of dollars in influence peddling to keep billions flowing into their coffers.
Whether one’s moral precepts come from a faith tradition or secular humanitarian principles, I submit that it is the height of immorality, to:
- commit acts of war against other sovereign nations;
- inflict terror from the sky and on land, killing well over 1.3 million people, many of them innocent civilians;
- wound countless others,
- create millions of refugees;
- sacrifice the lives and mental or physical well-being of countless thousands of American service men and women in the process, and
- do all of this for the purpose of enriching and empowering an already obscenely wealthy and powerful U.S. ruling class.
War Is Illegal
Every single one of these acts of war are in flagrant violation of well-established international law, and under the principles of non-intervention that our nation once championed in the Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II.
Article VI, paragraph 2 of our Constitution makes treaties to which the United States is a signatory a part of the “Supreme law of the land.” In addition, section 18.22 of the Department of Defense Law of War Manual, like its predecessor, section 498 of the U.S. Army Field Manual 27–10, holds individuals, be they soldiers, civilians or officials, responsible and liable for violations of international law, even if domestic law does not specifically forbid their actions. As commander in chief of the armed forces, the president is as much subject to that proscription as any person required to carry out his orders.
One landmark treaty that is part of the “Supreme law of the land” is the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 (46 Stat. 2343), which made war illegal, and to which the United States was, and still is, a party. The terms of the treaty were short and to the point, and essentially covered in two sentences, found in Articles I and II:
“The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”
Although not all nations in the world have signed the Pact, Article I makes clear that it binds ratifying nations to reject war categorically, and not merely in their relations with other signatories. The Pact formed the basis for the concept of “crimes against peace,” upon which the prosecution of German and Japanese war criminals in Nuremberg and Tokyo were based.
Shortly after the surrender of the Germans and Japanese, ending World War II, the U.S., France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union established an International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg for the purpose of prosecuting Nazi officials for crimes against peace and war crimes. In entering the agreement establishing the Tribunal, chief prosecutor and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson declared: “We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
According to the Tribunal’s Charter, Article 6, the Allies claimed jurisdiction to try the officials responsible for the war and how it was conducted for three categories of crimes: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It defined “crimes against peace” as “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.” These same principles were later recognized as international law by the International Law Commission of the United Nations in 1950.
In his monumental opening statement to the Tribunal, Jackson noted that the Tribunal was “implementing the Kellogg-Briand Pact,” thus recognizing the Pact as one of the legal foundations for the Charter, still in force despite the rampant violations of its provisions that had just transpired.
Jackson’s opening statement should be required reading for everyone who aspires to live in a civilized and peaceful world. In words that should send a chill down the spine of every American, he wrote:
“Unfortunately, the nature of these crimes is such that both prosecution and judgment must be by victor nations over vanquished foes. . . . The former high station of these defendants, the notoriety of their acts, and the adaptability of their conduct to provoke retaliation make it hard to distinguish between the demand for a just and measured retribution, and the unthinking cry for vengeance which arises from the anguish of war. It is our task, so far as humanly possible, to draw the line between the two. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.” (Emphasis added.)
“[T]he ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible to law. And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment. We are able to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law. This trial represents mankind’s desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world’s peace and to commit aggressions against the rights of their neighbors.
“The usefulness of this effort to do justice is not to be measured by considering the law or your judgment in isolation. This trial is part of the great effort to make the peace more secure. One step in this direction is the United Nations organization, which may take joint political action to prevent war if possible, and joint military action to insure that any nation which starts a war will lose it. This Charter and this Trial, implementing the Kellogg-Briand Pact, constitute another step in the same direction and juridical action of a kind to ensure that those who start a war will pay for it personally.”(Emphasis added.)
In its judgment on the original trial, rendered September 30, 1945 (at page 427), the Tribunal famously declared: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
In 1945, the newly formed United Nations incorporated the principles of the Kellogg-Briand Pact into its Charter. Article II, section 3 declares that: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” Section 4 adds that: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Section 7 forbids the United Nations itself from intervening “in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”
Importantly, Article 51 of the UN Charter departed a bit from the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in recognizing the inherent right of self-defense, stating:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Note, however, that the right of self-defense is limited under Article 51 to circumstances in which “an armed attack occurs.” It does not allow preemptive strikes against perceived or presumed enemies, let alone attacks against other sovereign nations on the grounds, or pretexts, that they are in some way complicit with, or aren’t doing enough to oppose, non-state antagonists like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or the Taliban.
The United Nations Charter was ratified by the United States on August 8, 1945, taking effect on October 31st of that year — thus becoming part of the binding law of our own country. Yet our government has been rampantly violating its provisions, along with those of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Nuremberg Charter, for over 16 consecutive years, without even acknowledging the brazenly illegal nature of its conduct.
Once again: Afghanistan never attacked the United States. Therefore, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was, and remains, illegal under established international law and under treaties to which the United States is a party — thus making it unconstitutional. Saddam Hussein never attacked the United States. Therefore, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was, and remains, illegal and unconstitutional for the same reasons. Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria never attacked the United States. Therefore, the drone attacks and aerial bombardments in these countries were all illegal and unconstitutional.
I do not claim to be an expert in international law, but I know how to read and interpret law, the plain language of these texts are clear, and in asserting that these acts of war violate international law, I have found that I am in very, very good company.
When an individual intentionally or knowingly kills another individual without legal justification, we have a word for it — murder. When a national government, composed of individuals, intentionally or knowingly kills people in other nations without legal justification, we call it war. War is nothing but systematic mass murder carried out by governments. And that is what our government has been doing and is continuing to do, as you read this.
In the face of these clear and continuing violations of international law, the advocates and apologists for these military attacks have essentially had two responses: They either simply ignore the fact that these military operations are illegal, or they produce utterly spurious legal “rationales” for the attacks, often based on the trendy but easily manipulated international doctrine known as the “responsibility to protect.” In Libya, for example, the “responsibility to protect” doctrine provided the window dressing for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, authorizing the imposition of a “no-fly zone” in Libya, predicated on the baseless charge that it was needed to prevent a “bloodbath.” The United States and NATO immediately used the Resolution as an excuse to engage in an indiscriminate bombing campaign, going well beyond what the Resolution authorized. Then the goal seamlessly morphed, with nary a whimper from Congress, into a campaign for “regime change,” overthrowing the government of Muammar Qaddafi — with utterly disastrous consequences. We are now seeing the same disaster play out in Syria, as the “fight against ISIS” was transformed — both under Obama and now Trump — into a war and occupation aimed at overthrowing the sovereign government of Bashar al-Assad.
A common objection to the legal case against war is that there is no international body to enforce international law. The argument goes something like this: “The United Nations is just a joke, so to cite to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, Nuremberg, the U.N. Charter, etc., is just being naïve, or quaint. The reality is that nations go to war when they need or want to. These laws have not been enforced and are a dead letter — so never mind about international law.” A somewhat related argument is the American exceptionalism argument — we are the only country with the military ability to impose order, so we have a responsibility to lead the free world, oppose bad dictators and terrorists, etc.
None of these arguments hold water. The fact that international law has not been well enforced by the United Nations is largely a reflection of U.S. dominance of that institution. The other nations of the world are only willing to go so far in challenging U.S. hegemony, in the face of our nation’s intimidating nuclear capability and other military power. But the fact of U.S. bullying and the absence of international enforcement of international law is a problem to be overcome; it does not defeat the legal principle.
Imagine if we applied the same argument to domestic criminal law: If a serial murderer got away with numerous murders, year after year, would anyone seriously make the argument that, because the law was not effectively enforced against that individual, murder should no longer be considered a crime?
As to the American exceptionalism argument, that is mere self-serving nonsense, belied by the fact that the United States itself rains terror from the skies, creates some terrorists and supports others, and militarily supports nearly three-fourths of the world’s dictators.
There is a way to enforce international law: We, the people of the United States, joining together with other peoples of the world, must demand it. This has been done before. The Kellogg-Briand Pact itself came about when working people in the U.S. and around the world, horrified by the devastation of World War I, gathered together into a powerful “outlawry” movement to demand that war be outlawed. Today, we can, and must, build a new “outlawry” movement to put a halt to our own nation’s violations of international law, and begin building an effective international system of justice that can enforce that law.
War, and the Warfare State, Is Idiotic
As if the moral and legal arguments against war were not compelling enough, war — at least from a working-class perspective — does not even make economic sense. Thus far, our nation has expended at least $2.1 trillion on the so-called “War on Terror,” in all of its manifestations, since 2001. That is in addition to the already whopping base budget (currently at $640 billion) for the misnamed Department of Defense, a sum greater than the military spending budgets of the next 8 most militarized nations — China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan — combined.
War is a losing economic proposition for the American worker. On April 16, 1953, years before he warned us of the dangers of the military-industrial complex, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower declaimed:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Eisenhower’s common-sense warning notwithstanding, the military-industrial complex, with the active and ongoing assistance of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, has become a firmly affixed parasite incessantly sucking the blood of the U.S. economy. Virtually, if not literally, every Congressional district derives some imagined benefit from having either a military base or military contractor or sub-contractor operating within its territory, providing employment. This allows members of Congress to posture as delivering the pork to their constituents every time they vote in favor of each year’s defense authorization bill — as all but 89 Representatives and 11 Senators did last year, in approving an expenditure substantially larger than what President Trump requested. (Even those who voted against the authorization bills, including senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, did not necessarily do so because they wanted to spend less money).
I use the phrase “imagined benefit” advisedly — because while it is true that many Americans are employed by the military sector, either directly or indirectly, the same hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, if expended on just about anything else, would create far more employment opportunities for Americans, while also allowing Americans to benefit from the improved infrastructure, education, health care, social services, etc., resulting from the shift in spending.
This was demonstrated by University of Massachusetts economists Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier several years ago, in their analysis, The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update. As they summarize their findings:
“[I]n terms of assessing the employment effects of military spending on the economy, the most important question is not the absolute number of jobs that are created by spending, for example, $1 billion. It is rather whether spending $1 billion on the military creates a greater or lesser number of jobs relative to spending the same $1 billion on alternative public purposes, such as education, health care or the green economy, or having consumers spend that amount of money in any way they choose.
“As we show, . . . spending on the military is a relatively poor source of job creation. Indeed, our research finds that $1 billion in spending on the military will generate about 11,200 jobs. By contrast, the employment effects of spending in alternative areas will be 15,100 for household consumption, 16,800 for the green economy, 17,200 for health care, and 26,700 for education. That is, investments in the green economy, health care and education will produce between about 50–140 percent more jobs than if the same amount of money were spent by the Pentagon.
“We do also find that jobs created by military spending provide relatively high average wages and benefits in comparison with these other sectors of the economy. . . . Nevertheless, because spending on clean energy, health care, and education produces substantially more jobs overall per $1 billion in spending, it also creates more good jobs. This includes jobs paying within a mid-range, which we define as between $32,000 — $64,000 per year, as well as high-paying jobs, i.e. those paying over $64,000.”
Of course, the economic argument against the Warfare State is, at the same time, a profoundly moral one. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. maintained in his famous Beyond Vietnam address at the Riverside Church exactly one year before his death: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” By that measure, our nation, spiritually speaking, must now be a decaying corpse. However, I’m certain that King would have agreed that a spiritual resurrection is always possible — if enough good people show the resolve and make the requisite effort to change course.
War: It’s immoral, illegal and idiotic. It robs us of the monetary and human resources that could be utilized to provide gainful employment for all, quality health-care and education for all, restore health to the global eco-system, construct a first-class transportation system and other infrastructure, provide quality services for those unable to work, and provide quality retirement benefits for all. Its only beneficiaries are the war profiteers and the corporate elite who profit from the domination of other nations’ resources, labor and markets. It may not be the only obstacle to progress — a persuasive case can be made that capitalism itself is the progenitor of the warfare state, and therefore is the larger obstacle. But, whatever one’s views on that question, mobilizing working people, both nationally and internationally, to categorically oppose war and demand real enforcement of international law banning it, would be a tremendous step in the right direction.
Get Involved! Take a Stand Against War!
There are a lot of organizations doing great work to educate and mobilize working people into a real movement to do just that. Here are some of the leading organizations doing just that:
- Green Party of the United States and its various state affiliates. Protesting against war and demanding its end is necessary but not sufficient. If we want to end war and transform our economy into one that will be geared to meeting human needs, we need to get control of our federal government, not just protest its actions after the fact. That means electing genuine peace candidates to Congress, and ultimately the presidency. A U.S. government actually devoted to peace and international law would be a tremendous stride toward the goal of ending war once and for all. The Green Party and its candidates do not accept money from corporations, and the party is founded on nonviolence, as one of its core principles of unity. In addition to running candidates for office, Green Party activists, including myself, are deeply involved in the peace movement. Some of us interact with the movement through the Green Party Peace Action Committee (Facebook page here.)
- The United National Antiwar Coalition is, in my estimation, the most active and principled of the nationwide peace organizations currently operating in the United States. Some of the same organizations and leaders have also recently formed a companion coalition focusing on closing the nearly 1,000 military bases that the U.S. currently has operating in dozens of countries around the world. The two coalitions recently issued a call for a day of mass actions against war, with a target date of April 14th. Please check the UNAC and Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases websites periodically for updates!
- World Beyond War unites peace advocates around the world, provides great resources and information, and has the potential to become the real international movement for peace that is so badly needed.
- The most oppressed sections of the working class are those who suffer most from war and have the most to gain from peace. The Black Alliance for Peace, led by longtime human rights advocate Ajamu Baraka, is doing great work drawing that connection and providing useful information, for workers of all colors, on a regular basis.
- U.S. Labor Against the War represents a growing body of organized workers who recognize that it is in workers’ material interest to win the struggle for peace. It played an instrumental role in winning the AFL-CIO to that position, a major breakthrough largely ignored by the corporate media.
- CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs. Join us!
For other useful news and information, some good sources to check on a regular basis include: davidswanson.org, antiwar.com, Consortium News, Counterpunch, airwars.org, Alternet’s Grayzone Project, the Costs of War page of the National Priorities Project, Information Clearing House and A Closer Look at Syria.
Getting engaged in the struggle for peace is a matter of self-interest and survival of our species. There are plenty of productive ways to get involved. Please join the many who are already committed to the cause and help us reach critical mass. A much better world is possible if enough of us make the effort to create it.
Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, disk jockey, political commentator, environmental and peace activist, Co-Chair of the Green Party Peace Action Committee, and former Green Party candidate for governor. He also supports democracy and would like to see its establishment in the United States.