March 18 anti-war actions to mark the 3rd anniversary of the U.S. war on Iraq
by Alan Dale
An anti-war protest will be held in Minneapolis on Sat., March 18, calling for an immediate end to the three-year U.S. military intervention in Iraq and a demand for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.
The event begins at Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues at 1 p.m., followed by a march to the Basilica of St. Mary for an indoor program at 2:15 p.m.
U.S. war against Iraq began with the bombing of Baghdad on March 18, 2003. The
war has now cost over $220 billion, the lives of thousands of Iraqis and more
than 2,300 dead U.S. soldiers. Across the United States and around the world,
(including in Baghdad and Basra, Iraq) anti-war protests are planned to mark
the anniversary of the start of the war.
The local event is being organized by the March 18 Coalition, a group of peace,
anti-war, student, faith-based and other organizations. The coalition supports
four major demands:
Not one more death!
Not one more dollar! Act now for peace!
Bring the Troops Home Now!
Stop the U.S.War in Iraq!
Protesters will assemble at 1 p.m. at the library plaza & mall area near
Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues in Minneapolis. At 1:30 p.m., the march to the Basilica
of St. Mary (17th & Hennepin Ave.) begins.
In the global call for anti-war activities, the three major national U.S. anti-war
for Peace and Justice, the ANSWER
(Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition and the Troops
Out Now Coalition (TONC) are working together toward one goal. They hope
to bring together as many anti-war activists as possible to express their opposition
to the continuing war in Iraq.
the groups helping to build the March 18 event in Minneapolis are Women
Against Military Madness, Twin
Cities Peace Campaign, Anti-War
Committee, Youth Against
War and Racism, Minnesota
Alliance of Peacemakers and many others.
Public opinion is increasingly opposed to continued U.S. occupation of Iraq.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll in the United States found that 52 percent
believe that the United States should begin withdrawing forces. According to
the Washington Post, "The poll found that 56 percent also say the United
States is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq."
Furthermore, 48 percent said the United States and its allies are failing to
move ahead in "establishing a democratic government."
A poll of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, released on Feb. 28 by Le Moyne
College/Zogby shows that a big majority of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq--72
percent--"think the U.S. should exit Iraq in the next 12 months."
Of those, 29 percent said the U.S. should leave "immediately."
A statement from the Troops Out Now
Coalition (TONC) explains why the anti-war movement is calling for an immediate
withdrawal of troops, rather than a phased or delayed withdrawal: "The
best way that the antiwar movement can mark the third anniversary of the criminal
war and occupation of Iraq is to unite around the demand for an immediate, unconditional
and complete withdrawal of all occupying troops from Iraq.
in 10 years or in six months--as soon as it takes to put soldiers on planes
and bring them home. Not waiting for the "Iraqi" army to be trained
or for the establishment of a government subject to U.S. control, or for any
other reasons that really only amount to one thing: an excuse to justify and
extend the occupation.
“Complete - not in phases, not with bases left behind, not redeployment
across the border, but a complete removal of all occupying forces from all Iraqi
“Unconditional - The Iraqi people have an absolute right to govern themselves
today, without any conditions imposed on them by Bush and Halliburton.
“The principal argument advanced against the immediate and complete withdrawal
of all occupation troops is that the occupation must continue until Iraq is
stabilized in order to establish democracy and prevent a civil war. The basic
premise underlying this argument is the racist assumption that the people of
Iraq are somehow inherently incapable of governing themselves, and require the
paternal tutelage of the U.S. We believe that the Iraqi people have the ability
and the absolute right to govern themselves, without the presence of any occupying
stabilizing Iraq was never an objective of the invasion. Ted
Koppel’s op-ed in the Feb. 24 New York Times made this clear. Koppel
explained that oil has been the driving force of U.S. policy in the Middle East
for "more than a half-century," and was the motive for the CIA overthrow
of Mohammed Mossadegh 53 years ago. He concluded, "The reason for America’s
rapt attention to the security of the Persian Gulf is what is has always been.
It’s about the oil."
The American Friends Service
Committee (AFSC) recently released a statement on 10
Reasons Why the U.S. Must Leave Iraq. Reason number 4 is that "Iraqis
want the United States to leave now."
statement explains, "Recent polls reveal that Iraqi opinion coalesces on
four demands: (1) an end to foreign occupation, (2) compensation to Iraqis for
damages caused by the U.S. invasion, (3) release of Iraqi prisoners, and (4)
establishment of political and military institutions independent of outside
influences. A survey in Iraq commissioned by the British military in September
2005 found that 82 percent of Iraqis "strongly oppose" the continuing
presence of coalition troops, and 45 percent feel attacks against coalition
troops are justified. The battle for hearts and minds has been lost."||
For more information about the local protest in Minneapolis, contact Women
Against Military Madness, 612-827-5364, Twin
Cities Peace Campaign/Focus on Iraq, 612-522-1861, Veterans
for Peace 612-821-9141 or Anti-War