By Jim Lafferty
[Reproduced below is a proposal by Jim Lafferty, a U.S. antiwar leader for over 50 years, addressed to the peace movement and all others concerned about the U.S. government’s latest expanded war in the Middle East. His proposal has been endorsed by the Labor Fightback Network.]
Proposal for Teach-Ins on the New U.S. War in the Middle East
By now it is crystal clear that the U.S. has entered into what will likely be, at best, a decade long war and at worst, a more or less “permanent U.S. war” in the Middle East.
This new/expanded U.S. war is far more complex and hard for the general public to comprehend than were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Polls demonstrated, initially, that while the U.S. public opposed “U.S. boots on the ground,” a majority was behind the air war on ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Of course, given the frightening way the corporate media and many politicians have presented the “threat to the U.S. from ISIS,” this is not surprising. And with every new victory by ISIS, the demand for more U.S. “troops on the ground” grows louder and stronger, and could gain more public support.
However, if the U.S. public gained a fuller and more honest understanding of what U.S. and U.S. backed Arab states have done that has led to the creation of ISIS, what the true nature of the threat is from ISIS, and the futility and negative blow-back from waging such a war, antiwar sentiment would develop much more quickly and deeply than otherwise. And those who already oppose this new war would be more articulate opponents of it if they, too, had a better understanding of the root problem, its origins, why the U.S. has entered the fray, and why this war is not in the best interests of the people of this nation.
All of the above leads to the conclusion that while immediate protests are the first order of the day, so are old-fashioned antiwar/ anti-U.S. military interventions “teach-ins.” Except for Corporate America with its constant fixation on ever-bigger profits, there are many reasons why everyone in this country should oppose this war. But most people, including many of those already in the “antiwar minority” have only a cursory knowledge of these reasons.
Given this lack of a full understanding, such teach-ins might facilitate the recruiting of more people into the antiwar movement, and they might even draw decent mainstream media coverage.
Here are some of the issues and points such teach-ins could cover:
- provide an understanding of the nations involved and the role they have played in the past, including their role vis- a- vis the creation and rapid growth of ISIS (how U.S. allies, with U.S. arms and military aid have, in turn, aided ISIS);
- explain how the bombing of Syria without the consent of the Syrian government violates Syria’s sovereignty and international law and further complicates an already explosive situation in that country; the U.S. has no right to bomb Syria or send troops into its territory;
- expose the desire of the U.S. to be able to place permanent U.S. military installations in the region in order to better secure the oil there;
- call attention to the civilian casualties that inevitably result from U.S. air strikes;
- explain the particular role of the U.S. in setting the stage for ISIS, including the role played by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our decades-long backing of corrupt and repressive Arab regimes;
- explain why the U.S. leadership in the war will only serve to help recruit more desperate and angry enemies determined to retaliate against the U.S., thereby making us less safe;
- underscore how the U.S. government is pressuring other reluctant countries in the region and NATO to provide “boots on the ground” while insisting that the U.S. will not commit large numbers to the conflict;
- explain why even if the barbarism of ISIS must be addressed, the U.S.-led war in the Middle East is not the way to address it;
- describe the horrific cost to U.S. tax payers and what that can mean in terms of even more cutbacks in social/domestic programs at home;
- discuss and announce a calendar of protests and antiwar conferences that the U.S. antiwar movement should organize to turn our people against the war and build a popular mass movement to help end it. (Such teach-ins might also take up the matter of defending our Muslim sisters and brothers from what is certain to be a backlash of religious and ethnic discrimination of them even greater than what they experienced following the attacks of 9/11.)
Please communicate your thoughts on this proposal to Jim Lafferty, at: email@example.com and to firstname.lastname@example.org).Φ
Jim Lefferty is the Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild/L.A. Chapter; Member, Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network
This proposal was issued by the Labor Fightback Network. For more information, please call 973-944-8975 or email email@example.com or write Labor Fightback Network, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836 or visit our website at laborfightback.org. Facebook link : https://www.facebook.com/laborfightback.