Across the United States, Americans will be firing up barbecues on July 4th to celebrate our Independence Day, when the yoke of an exploitative colonial occupation was thrown off. (We won't, of course, be talking about what the founding of this new nation meant for the increasingly dispossessed and oppressed Native American nations.)
On June 30th, dubbed "National Sovereignty Day" by Iraq's U.S.-installed government, Iraqis celebrated the milestone of U.S. troops ending their patrols of Iraqi city streets. While this small step towards limiting the occupation, the fulfillment of one of President Obama's promises, is a move in the right direction, can Iraq truly be called a "sovereign country" as 130,000 troops still remain in bases in and around the cities and while U.S. commanders are reportedly preparing for a presence in Iraq for another 15-20 years?
Please read Janet Weil's important essay, "Moving Chess Pieces: The Illusion of Withdrawal in Iraq" to learn how the Pentagon is using loopholes to keep troops and military contractors in Iraq long after the June 30th withdrawal date. Please also read Jodie Evans' powerful piece, "Iraq: What We Leave as We Withdraw" to get a sense of the chaos and suffering that our occupation has wrought.
Over the holiday weekend, share both of these essays with friends and family to help them understand the painful--and continuing--impact of our involvement in Iraq.You can also help spread the word and educate your friends and community by tweeting or changing your Facebook Status.
Here are some suggestions:
134,000 troops and 132,000 contractors. #remindobama the withdrawal still has a long way to go! http://bit.ly/16ZxKn
As the US troops begin to withdraw from Iraq cities, we leave a broken country and people http://bit.ly/11R7Wf #remindobama via @codepinkalert
If you are planning to bring a peace message to your local parade or picnic add your event to our calendar here or email us your plans! Only when all our troops leave Iraq and when the Iraqi people have sovereignty over their nation's resources will the occupation be truly over. And even then, our debt to Iraq will not be paid for the incalculable harm caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation.
Celebrating the peacemakers,
Blaine, Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jean, Jodie, Medea, Nancy K, Nancy M, Paris, Rae and Stacy