WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders sharply criticized plans announced by the Pentagon to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and reiterated the party’s call to begin withdrawing occupational forces from Iraq immediately.
“We agree with Cindy Sheehan — the only legitimate way to support our troops is to get them out of Iraq right now,” said Andrea Garland, Louisiana Green who joined Ms. Sheehan at her Camp Casey protest vigil in Crawford, Texas.
“This will be the demand of Greens participating in the September 24 rallies in Washington, D.C. against the occupation.”
The Green Party’s Peace Action Committee (GPAX) announced an online petition urging the White House to end the occupation and supporting the Camp Casey vigil, at <http://www.demaction.org/dia/organizations/Greens/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=103>.
GPAX recently issued a statement in support of Camp Casey <http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_08_10.shtml>,
which national Green Party co-chair Rebecca Rotzler presented to Ms. Sheehan.
Greens especially condemned statements from Democratic leaders supporting increased deployment, including Senators Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), Joe Biden (Del.) and John Kerry (Mass.). Greens also rejected the position of Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), MoveOn.org, and others who favor a delayed withdrawal, including Sen. Feingold’s call for removal of U.S. troops by December, 2006.
“Greens do not demand that President Bush announce a plan to withdraw troops. We demand that the President issue an order to begin withdrawal now,” said Sarah “echo” Steiner, sister of an Iraq War Veteran, co-chair of the Green Party of Florida, and GPAX member. “Another year of occupation will mean hundreds, perhaps thousands more U.S. troops dead and maimed; and tens of thousands more dead Iraqi civilians.”
Green Party leaders have called the Iraq invasion and occupation a catastrophe, noting that:
â€¢ Between 25,000 and 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war; the number of U.S. troops killed is approaching 2,000.
â€¢ The Bush Administration now admits that secular democracy is unlikely in Iraq; possible civil war, further breakdown of vital infrastructure, and establishment a repressive, misogynistic Islamic theocracy threaten the Iraqi people.
â€¢ Bush Administration officials, including the President, have not been held accountable for the litany of deceptive justifications for the invasion: nonexistent WMDs; forged evidence of nuclear weapons; fraudulent claims of conspiracy between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and Iraqi involvement with the 9/11 attacks.
â€¢ Shocking revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib mirror the White House’s own efforts to circumvent international and constitutional prohibitions against torture in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
â€¢ Terrorist attacks have increased in countries allied with the U.S. (most recently Britain, in July), as predicted by opponents of the war before the 2003 invasion. Vice President Cheney continues to call Iraq a “critical front in the war on terror”; Greens, in agreement with recent CIA and other intelligence studies, assert that the occupation itself has motivated further attacks on the West and violence within Iraq, and threatens U.S. security and international stability.
â€¢ The costs of the occupation are causing social needs in the U.S. to go unmet; while President Bush preaches sacrifice — presumably for families who have lost children, parents, and spouses in the war, and for soldiers given insufficient armor and other equipment; meanwhile, he has granted tax cuts for the wealthy and indulged Halliburton and other favored firms multibillion-dollar contracts allowing them to profit from the war.
â€¢ The war itself is a crime, violating international covenants signed by the U.S. against invasion of a nation on ‘preventive’ grounds; Hitler used preventive justifications (also fraudulent) for the German invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939.
“These charges are not Green opinion. They are statements of fact. They’re the reason why the Green Party has called for Mr. Bush’s impeachment,” said Tom Siracuse of the West Side (Manhattan) Greens and Veterans For Peace, both of which are represented at the Camp Casey vigil. GPAX is urging Americans outraged by the Iraq venture to sign on to the Veterans For Peace petition for impeachment <http://www.veteransforpeace.org/impeachment/petition2.htm>,
which is also linked at the GPAX web page <http://www.gp.org/committees/peace>.
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Gold Star Families For Peace