February 5, 2007
In the 1990s, I and several comrades organized demonstrations against the Iraqi embargo. We demonstrated at
radio/TV stations, the U.S. Federal Building, offices of Congressmen, etc.
During this time, there was a glaring absence of peace or anti-war groups. I called all the local organizations
and was outright told that they were not interested to "touch the Iraq thing." One activist in a pro-Cuba group told me she
was not interested because of the way they treated women in Iraq. When I told her that Iraq was secular, she said, "The still
all wear veils."
The ignorance of the "peace" community about the embargo and world politics was stifling.
In my writings, I have lambasted the peace movement in general for not opposing the Iraqi embargo and only
coming out of their closets a few days before bombs were to drop.
This past weekend, we saw a massive anti-war demonstration in Washington D.C. that included hundreds of thousands
of marchers. The group "United for Peace and Justice" was listed as the sponsor and it gained much publicity. The group claims
to have more than 1,400 affiliated members.
What appears to be an umbrella group for the cause may not exactly have altruistic designs. After the march
on Washington, various writers accounted how United for Peace and Justice really messed up. Chris Jenks of Traprock Peace
Unfortunately, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) - the primary sponsor - didn’t live up to the standards
set by the marchers. Its continuing refusal to work with some other national coalitions, and its focus on celebrities and
politicians, was reflected in its botching the start of the march and focusing of media coverage.
Other writers corroborated Jenks’ account. They maintain that United for Peace and Justice was more
interested in camera position and the Hollywood celebrities than about the march itself. At one point, the marchers took matters
into their own hands and began to act. If they had not, the entire day could have turned into a fiasco that would have embarrassed
the participants in the event.
Normally, I don’t specify any single group in the peace movement. And, not all groups are as remiss
in their commitment as those I have mentioned. But, United for Peace and Justice poses some quandaries.
If you go to their website, there is much talk about the devastating effect of the deaths of U.S. troops in
Iraq. Slogans abound about bringing our troops home so more don’t get killed. However, there is little about the plight
of the Iraqis. There was not one word about the illegal government put in power by the U.S. and the plight of the members
of the pre-April 2003 government. United for Peace and Justice actually recognizes the Iraqi stooges meeting in the Green
Zone as the legitimate government of Iraq.
In addition, there is a large portion devoted to "faith-based" groups and how they should join United for
Peace and Justice, who has an entire section about "faith-based" activism. Many anti-war activists have no religious affiliation.
In the U.S., atheists, by percentage, well outnumber the general public in their opposition to the war against Iraq. United
for Peace and Justice appears to be tossing these people aside.
I am curious to know how many affiliate members of the organization have really looked into United for Peace
and Justice actions and ideas. Many would be surprised.
To top everything off, in July 2006, the group wanted to meet Malaki to discuss peace in Iraq. They praised
him and said what an honor it was for him to visit Washington D.C. And, they wanted to take out an ad in a Baghdad newspaper.
Along with the announcement came the obligatory request for money.
To me, their actions are similar to those of the TV preachers who ask for money to promote their lamebrain
ideas. The following is a plea from United for Peace and Justice to support the ridiculous idea of meeting with Malaki, the
same Malaki who is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis because of his support for Shi’ite death
squads. Following their plea is the letter I sent to them about this quandary. They never answered me when they had the chance
to explain their actions, so I consider it fair game now to expose the group and its egotistical and outright stupid actions.
Help us place an open letter from the peace movement to Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki
as an ad in one of Iraq's largest newspapers.
For only $1,500, we can reach tens of thousands of Iraqis with
our message. Click here to donate online toward this effort or call 212-868-5545 to make a contribution by phone.
can also mail a check or money order to:
United for Peace and Justice
P.O. Box 607
Times Square Station
This week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will make his first visit to the United
States, visiting Washington DC and New York City. He will be meeting with George Bush and members of Congress, but don't you
think he should also meet with representatives of the peace movement? Don't you think he -- and the Iraqi people -- should
know that there is a strong movement in the United States to end the occupation of their country?
We have delivered
letters to the Iraqi Embassy in Washington DC and to the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in New York requesting that Prime
Minister Al-Maliki meet with representatives of the peace movement. Now we need you to play a critical role in making this
historic opportunity a reality.
Help us place an advertisement based on the following Open Letter to Prime Minister
Al-Maliki in one of the largest newspapers in Iraq, Assabah Al-Jadid. This is not only a great way to pressure the Prime Minister
for a meeting, but it is also a way to reach out to the Iraqi people to let them know that we stand with them in their call
to end the occupation of their country. A poll earlier this year showed that 87% of Iraqis support a timeline for the withdrawal
of U.S. troops; another poll showed that only 1% of Iraqis trusted U.S. troops to protect their security.
$1,500, we can place a half-page ad that will reach tens of thousands of Iraqis. If, through your generosity,
more than that comes in, we will use the money to continue spreading our call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and to help
with the ongoing antiwar work of UFPJ. Click here to make a donation toward this effort today.
LETTERS TO THE EDITORS
Prime Minister Al-Maliki's visit this week
is also a great time to write letters to the editors of your local newspapers, mentioning the peace movement's request for
a meeting with the prime minister and bringing attention to the growing calls for an end to the occupation and the reconciliation
proposal put forth by numerous Iraqi leaders. You can use text from the open letter as talking points,
but please use your own words to make your letter more effective and more likely to be printed. Click here to send a letter to your local media outlets.
Thank you for helping us to make this critical, direct link with the Iraqi people,
and to make the call for peace heard loud and clear throughout the United States. Let's make sure that Prime Minister Al-Maliki,
the people of Iraq, and people here in the U.S. don't just hear the voice of George Bush. Let's make sure they hear the voices
of the majority in this country, who want to see an end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a true effort to rebuild Iraq
and our neglected communities at home.
OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER AL-MALIKI
Dear Prime Minister Al-Maliki,
On behalf of United for Peace and Justice, the largest coalition of
peace and justice organizations in the U.S., which includes more than 1,400 national and local groups united in opposition
to the U.S. war in Iraq, it is our pleasure to welcome you in the United States.
We are writing to request a meeting with you during your visit in New York City on Thursday, July 27, 2006,
in order to brief you about the U.S. peace movement's efforts to end the military occupation of Iraq and to discuss how to
work together to bring about a troop withdrawal, promote reconciliation, and begin the process of reconstruction and development.
We have been heartened by the Iraqi reconciliation plan put forth by numerous Iraqi leaders to end both the
occupation and sectarian tension within Iraq. We are dismayed, however, that due in part to U.S. pressure, the plan does not
include a demand for a timetable for withdrawing the troops -- a point that is essential for any true reconciliation plan.
A poll earlier this year showed that 87% of Iraqis support a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. A solid majority
of people in the United States agree: a June poll by CNN showed that 53% supported a timetable for withdrawal, and other major
polls have found similar results.
We oppose the interference of the Bush administration in your country's domestic policies. We support your
recent independent and courageous stand criticizing the aggressive Israeli attacks on Lebanon, and we hope you will continue
to take independent stands that prioritize the desires of the Iraqi people over foreign interests.
There is a strong
movement in the United States to end the continuing military occupation of your country, and we hope that you will have time
to meet us during your visit to the United States. We would, of course, be prepared to meet at whatever time or location is
best for you.
United for Peace and Justice
Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.
ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545
Here was my response:
It is with great incredulity that I write to you. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw your appeal
for solicitations to place an ad in an Iraqi newspaper addressed to Al-Maliki.
And, your coddling up to him ("It is our pleasure to welcome you in the United States") is ludicrous and disgusting.
Al-Maliki is not Iraq's prime minister. He is the appointed head of an illegal government in Iraq and currently the U.S.'
"Stooge of the Month." To lend him any credibility is outrageous.
Al-Maliki and his cohorts spent decades in Iran and/or Syria, plotting for the overthrow of the legitimate
Iraqi government. If the same situation occurred in the U.S., one would call the person the correct name: traitor.
I notice that you call yourself the "largest coalition of peace and justice organizations in the U.S." Do
all your affiliated members know of this letter to Al-Maliki? I don't think so. His actions in the past decades show that
he wanted Iraq to be invaded. In other words, he cheered on the illegal March 2003 invasion. You pretend to have opposed intervention
in Iraq and now you invite one of the the invasion's biggest supporters to meet you. I am at a loss for words.
I have sent your appeal to a few colleagues in the past hour. Their responses are identical to mine. Al-Maliki
is visiting the U.S. to get his trip to the woodshed with Bush. When he comes out, he will say "Yasuh." In Iraq, his movements
are limited to a few square miles. He is meeting with the architect of the invasion that ruined 5,000 years of proud history
of Iraq as well as about 300,000 Iraqis, and you want to meet with him. The mind boggles.
I am a known anti-war writer and have about a million readers because more than 100 websites pick up my articles.
I would like to interview someone on your staff and try to discover what kind of logic you are using. Maybe something is going
over my head. Please let me know if you are interested in a dialogue. I will take a no-response to mean you are not. Either
way, I will write about this quandary.
(P.S. I never received a reply)