This Sunday, March 19, is the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. In 2003, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane members mobilized to oppose that invasion, as did millions around the globe. Our organizing to oppose war, militarism, and imperialism is rooted in our commitment to exposing and transforming systems of violence and oppression. Whatever the color of our skin or the content of our wallets, where we come from and who we love, all of us want to leave a better world for the generations to come.
But for too long, fossil fuel CEOs and the politicians they pay for have divided and manipulated us with anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism, mobilized against black and brown people around the world and inside the US. They lie on the world stage to paint “the other” as dangerous and bombable, while these same fossil fuel companies pollute our air, poison our water, and heat up the earth.
President George W Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld led the drive to war with the stock prices and profits of Halliburton and Koch Industries guiding their hands. Meanwhile, millions of protesters around the globe demonstrated the transparency of the war’s illegality and the isolation of the Bush administration’s policies. In this context, we salute Senator Murray’s courageous vote against the invasion.
Despite global protest, Bush ordered the invasion. Millions of Iraqis and thousands of American troops were killed in the war. The US’s inability to stabilize the nation after the invasion paved the way for the rise of ISIS. For decades, billions of dollars were diverted away from education, healthcare, housing, climate solutions, and other needed community investments — all to feed the imperialist war machine
Our Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane community continues to oppose what Dr. King called the “demonic destructive suction tube” of war and militarism, one of the triple evils he named, intertwined with poverty and racism. So long as our military spending eclipses our domestic needs and the United States spends more money on warfare than the next nine countries combined, military action will continue to be the default response to international crisis and the most vulnerable of our human family will continue to suffer at home and around the world.
We hold that our anti-war and anti-imperialist movement in the US can only be effective by fueling deep economic, structural, and cultural transformation on the scale which we may struggle to wrap our arms around but which is nonetheless imperative.
Through our Peace and Justice Action Committee, PJALS unites our voice with peace activists from across the nation. The dedicated and diligent members of this committee work with the Advocacy Team network of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Currently, the FCNL network is focused on promoting federal investments in peace building. From the FCNL website: “Increasing support for peace building initiatives can help prevent sudden outbreaks of violence and heal fractured communities. This, in turn, reduces the need for humanitarian aid and enables the pursuit of sustainable economic development, climate adaptation, good governance, and the protection of human rights.” Together, we are advocating for Congress to invest $131 million in the Complex Crisis Fund, Reconciliation Programs, and Atrocities Prevention.
The Peace and Justice Action Committee meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, at 5:30 pm, via zoom. For more information, visit https://pjals.org/action/#PJAC – To join, email Jac Archer at [email protected]
The work for peace continues.