Below is a statement recently issued by the National Assembly, and endorsed by Socialist Action:
The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations is joining with other coalitions, organizations, and networks to organize a united MARCH 21 NATIONAL COALITION to mobilize people across the United States to take part in a March on the Pentagon on Saturday, March 21, marking six years of war and occupation of Iraq.
Demonstrations will also be held on that date in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities across the U.S.
These actions will remind the nation that all U.S. military forces must be brought home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the U.S. antiwar movement – marching behind a banner demanding “Out Now!” — will intensify its struggle to make it happen.
The actions are needed to assure the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries threatened by Washington’s expansionist policies that tens of millions of people in this country support their right to settle their own destinies without U.S. interventions, occupations and murderous wars. International law recognizes and we demand that the U.S. respect the right to self-determination. We reject any notion that the U.S. is the world’s self-appointed cop.
The March 21 united mass actions are also needed at this time of economic meltdown to demand jobs for all; a moratorium on foreclosures; rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure; guaranteed quality education and health care for all; an end to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and deportations; and funding for sorely needed social programs. So long as trillions of dollars continue to be spent on wars, occupations, and bailouts to the banks and corporate elite, the domestic needs of people in the U.S. can never be met.
The So-called Status of Forces Agreement
As for Iraq, regardless of what is in the so-called “Status of Forces Agreement,” the war makers in Washington plan to continue the occupation indefinitely. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops and mercenary soldiers will be maintained to carry out a number of missions that are listed, but in reality their aim is to carry out the one mission that is not mentioned: ensure the U.S. subjugation of Iraq to exploit its oil resources and dominate the Middle East.
Any doubt about Washington’s intentions should be dispelled by the statement by Gen. Raymond Odierno, who said on December 13, 2008 that U.S. forces would remain indefinitely in dozens of bases in Iraq cities, despite language in the Status of Forces Agreement that appeared to require a withdrawal from urban areas by next summer. (Wall Street Journal 12/15/08)
As for Afghanistan, it is not the “good war” claimed by the Obama administration and the power structure, which plans to increase the number of U.S. troops in that country by 20,000. Afghanistan will prove to be another U.S. Vietnam. The U.S. war will only result in a continuation of the slaughter that has been the hallmark of all previous occupations by foreign powers.
The daily U.S. bombing and killing of Afghanis attending weddings, classes, funerals, or simply trying to survive shows how cruel and deadly this war is. It is directed against the same forces that the U.S. armed, financed, and helped bring to power.
Why is the U.S. at war against Afghanistan? Its primary purpose is to secure control of a pipeline across that country. (See the 1998 statement submitted to Congress by the Union Oil Company of California, which later merged with Chevron, stressing the need to build a natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan. And note Dick Cheney’s 1998 statement made when he was chief executive of a major oil services company: “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian,” which led the Guardian newspaper to remark, “But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route that would make both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.”)
The March 21 demonstration will also denounce the expansion of the war into Pakistan and the sanctions and threats of military action against Iran. It will also call for the end to U.S. support for the continued occupation of Palestine.
The National Assembly
From its inception, the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations has called for united antiwar demonstrations this spring. We urge the entire movement to unite now around the March 21 actions and we will do everything possible to make this unity a reality. The civil rights, union, anti-Vietnam War, women’s liberation and gay rights movements would not have achieved victories without having built truly massive movements that were able to organize repeated and powerful independent mobilizations in the streets.
Why the demonstration in Washington? Because it is the seat of power, where foreign and domestic policies are decided, where money for war is allocated, and bailouts of the banking industry and corporate rich are given away.
Join us in mobilizing the largest possible outpouring of antiwar opposition built by a united movement on March 21. Let’s march and continue to march until all U.S. forces come home, U.S. bases are dismantled, and the sovereign people of the world have the right to control their own resources and determine their own futures.
To endorse this protest, or for more information, please visit the National Assembly’s website at www.natassembly.org or write firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-736-4704.