by Matthew Andrews, Liberty Union’s Candidate for Congress
As the Liberty Union Party candidate for Congress, I call on the people
of Vermont to join us in opposing more bloodshed in Iraq and Syria.
Vermonters will have an opportunity to vote for peace in the November
elections, but the current situation is too urgent to wait. We must
flood the streets and apply all reasonable non-violent pressure on our
representatives in Washington DC – Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, and
Peter Welch – to drop their support for war.
When President Obama took office in 2008, his administration scuttled
the rhetoric of a “War on Terror” but the substance of US foreign policy
has not changed. On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks on
9/11, Obama announced a new assault on Iraq and Syria, using US air
strikes, arms, money, training, and over 1,500 U.S. ground troops. The
fact that Obama must limit the number of ground troops and the role they
will play is a testament to the power of our anti-war movement. To stop
these endless wars however, we must defeat Islamophobia, inspire
Americans to love our brothers and sisters in the Middle East as our
own, and replace the war economy with a peace economy.
As a US Army Intelligence officer reading internal military reports,
whistle-blower Chelsea Manning saw how the US military supported Prime
Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki by cracking down on dissidents. Critics
who had done nothing more than speak out against corruptions were
treated like terrorists, imprisoned without trial, and in some cases
tortured or even killed.
US intervention in the Middle East has destroyed entire countries,
killing hundreds of thousands, injuring, displacing, and traumatizing
millions, and propping up sectarian regimes. Out of this chaos, brutal
forces such as ISIS will continue to thrive.
The MENA revolutions, which overthrew the US client states of Tunisia
and Egypt, show that Arab societies can fight for democracy and human
rights themselves, if they are not militarily repressed. It is a slow
process that can blossom if we stop our government from meddling in the
affairs of others.
ISIS is not a threat to the United States. It does however threaten US
investments and resource extraction from Iraq. The Obama administration
is continuing the same US foreign policy since the Cold War of treating
the rest of the world as a place to be dominated and exploited through
bribes when possible and force if necessary. This is why the US and
anyone who associates with our government in the Middle East is viewed
as illegitimate. Our standing in the world would be vastly better, and
our influence correspondingly greater, if the billions we spend on war
instead went to aiding civilians.
Vermont’s representatives in Washington DC and the Obama Administration
need to recognize that their invasions, drone wars, and air strikes have
been a total disaster. The first step to ending terrorism will be to
stop participating in it. End the air strikes, close the bases, and
bring the troops home! The United States should also join the
International Criminal Court and cooperate with the enforcement of
international laws. We must negotiate with Russia and other world
powers to cease all arms shipments to the region and negotiate a
rapprochement between hostile forces to end the bloodshed.
Our commitment to peace must go beyond a bumper sticker. It must even go
beyond voting for Liberty Union candidates on election day. Vermonters
must build a mass movement with the backing of unions, a political
party, worker co-ops, an independent mass media and other community
institutions to make our love for peace an irresistible force.
More information about the Liberty Union Party and its candidates can be
found at www.libertyunionparty.org. Matthew Andrews can be reached at
802-858-6466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.