"So far, 64 members of Congress have signed up for the Out of Iraq Caucus, and we're going to create the debate that's been missing in the halls of Congress."
These words by Rep. Maxine Waters (DCA) drew a roar of approval from the more than 1,200 peace activists gathered at Inglewood's Covenant Worship Center. The occasion was a July 23 Out-of-Iraq Teachin called by Representative Waters.
"We want out of Iraq," Waters stated. "We want to bring our soldiers home. If Congress doesn't have the guts to make this happen, the people will."
Recapping the Bush administration's steps to war, the outspoken lawmaker recalled May 1, 2003, when President George W. Bush landed "in a costume" on the USS Lincoln and declared an end to combat.
"That's when the insurgents said 'let the war begin,'" Waters exclaimed.
"Bush says we'll be in Iraq as long as we need to be there," she added. "What his administration isn't saying is 'more of your children will die there, but we're not going to send our sons and daughters.'"
Noted Stephen Rohde, past president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California: "On July 23, 2002three years ago to this very day-highlevel British officials were meeting at the residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. The minutes of that critical top secret meeting have become known as the Downing Street memo.
"You and I were never supposed to know about the Downing Street memo," he said. "The Downing Street memo is the 'smoking gun' that indicts President Bush for lying to the American people and leading us into an illegal preemptive invasion of Iraq. The Downing Street memo is conclusive evidence that George W. Bush has committed 'high crimes and misdemeanors' justifying his impeachment.
"There is no greater violation of his oath of office," Rohde continued, "than for a president to lie to his people, to manipulate intelligence evidence, to conceal his corrupt scheme and to lead his country into war-which to date has cost the lives of 1,774 American troops, wounded tens of thousands of others, killed between 25,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians and bred hatred and violence toward America.
"We have two goals," he concluded. "Get the U.S. out of Iraq and get George Bush out of the White House."
Pratap Chatterjee, program director of Corp Watch, charged that Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer, so far has received $12 billion in revenues from the war. According to Chatterjee, author of Iraq, Inc, three weeks before the war started the highest ranked civilian in the Army Corps of Engineers, Bunnatine Greenhouse, objected to signing no-bid contracts with Halliburton. "There is not a strong intent for a limited competition," she wrote in the margin beside her signature.
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Emphasized filmmaker Mark Manning, who went to Iraq in January 2005: "No one is asking what happens to citizens who are in the way of U.S. military operations. Each operation-and there were four just this month-is in an urban environment."
Operation Phantom Fury, for example, lasted from October to December 2004 in Falluja, a city of 250,000 civilians, Manning said-60 percent of whom are children.
"The message was get out or die," Manning stated. "The city was flattened."
His documentary, "Road to Falluja," focuses on a family that was forced to flee and took refuge in a chicken coop, and will be released in theaters in November. A short film, "Caught in the Crossfire," can be seen on Manning's web site, .
Andrew Moriarity of the Topanga Peace Alliance estimated that 2,000 to 5,000 tons of radioactive depleted uranium are floating in the sands and air of Iraq. "It is getting into the blood and lungs and kidneys of our troops and into the organs of Iraqis," he said. "More and more deformed Iraqi babies are being born. …