Twenty years ago this spring the US government was finally successful in lying us into war with Iraq. Administration after administration had sanctioned and bombed and even invaded the country, but finally 20 years ago next month the Bush Administration unleashed “shock and awe” to flatten a country that did not and could not threaten the United States.
After eight years of battle in Iraq perhaps as many as a million innocent people died, either directly or indirectly, from Washington’s aggression. No one was brought before a tribunal over the lies and destruction. No one even apologized. Washington’s puppet of the day, Ahmed Chalabi, brushed off the lies about Iraq’s WMDs by proclaiming that the war promoters were “heroes in error.” They got their regime change and that’s all they cared about.
The propaganda machine pushing the Iraq war seemed overwhelming at the time. At that time several fellow Members of Congress began to open communication across party lines to look for way to stop the war. From conservatives like the late Rep. Walter Jones and Rep. John Duncan, to progressives like Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rep. Jim McGovern, and so many more, we began to organize and strategize.
One tool we used to our advantage was the idea of an “improbable” coalition of left and right uniting to oppose the war. The media may not have been interested in our antiwar views, but they could not help themselves when presented with this “man bites dog” story. Time and again this “unlikely” group held press conferences, introduced various legislative tools, and communicated behind the scenes to try and grow the movement against the Iraq war.
Unfortunately with the 2008 election of Barack Obama, who ran as an antiwar candidate but then launched numerous military attacks abroad, that old coalition fell apart. Some progressives excused Obama’s militarism and lost interest in cooperating with conservatives. Some conservatives were driven by their personal dislike of Obama and lost sight of the target.
Suddenly, as we face the once-unimaginable prospect of a direct military conflict with nuclear-armed Russia over Ukraine, a beyond Left-Right coalition is emerging from its long slumber. This Sunday, February 19th, a broad and very diverse group will assemble in Washington, DC at the Lincoln Memorial to denounce Washington’s sleepwalking into World War III.
The “Rage Against The War Machine” rally promises to be the first large-scale rally against Washington’s aggressive war lobby in many years. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with my good friends and former House colleagues Dennis Kucinich and Tulsi Gabbard, as well as my good friend and fellow libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano, and so many more speakers from a broad political spectrum.
Many of us have watched with alarm as the Biden Administration – with the enthusiastic backing of many Congressional Republicans – has continuously escalated involvement in the Russia/Ukraine conflict and now sits dangerously close to a direct, hot war with the largest nuclear superpower on earth.
How did we get here? Where are the sane voices and cooler heads? Just when it seemed they were nowhere to be found, here we are! I hope as many people as possible will join us and continue to come together for this important cause. We must join together while we still can. No war with Russia!