At this moment, while results from the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic primaries roll in, we're a bit closer to knowing which pair of warmongers will duke it out for the presidency. John "Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain may ultimately face off with Hillary "Obliterate" Clinton. Or McCain's opponent might be Barack "Hit Pakistan" Obama, a relative pacifist who has a soft spot for diplomacy - at least before he becomes commander-in-chief, a role that history shows is synonymous with "lock-and-load."
The three contenders' silence about the situation on the ground in Iraq (and Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.) excites almost no concern from the people or the media. Gas prices and the nose-diving economy have grabbed the top spots in the opinion polls. Not that Americans shouldn't be worried about high prices and stagnant incomes, especially since they're accompanied by the usual profiteering - hedge fund thieves as well the classic merchants of death. But really... Everyone should be shaking with outrage about the mass murder now being committed in our name.
Thank goodness the Friends Committee on National Legislation is on the job. Today this Quaker organization, the sort of group that shows a "lobby" doesn't have to have bloody or dirty hands, issued a call about US attacks against Iraqi civilians. Here are the opening paragraphs of an open letter the group has addressed to the White House:
"Press reports indicate that more than 900 Iraq civilians have died so far in the ongoing U.S.-supported assault on militia forces in the Sadr City section of Baghdad. Many of the civilian deaths are the result of US air strikes in this densely populated and impoverished urban area in the heart of the Iraqi capital. A photograph published in newspapers last week of a two-year-old child killed in the rubble created by one U.S. air strike is grim evidence of the toll the offensive and the U.S. tactics to prosecute it are taking.
"We at FCNL condemn the U.S. government's decision to launch an airwar against Sadr City, an area of Baghdad that is roughly equivalent in size to bombing of Chicago's South Side, West Philadelphia, or Southeast Washington. As Quakers we oppose all war. But this use of airpower against a civilian population estimated at 3 million people is immoral and a violation of the law of war. We urge you immediately to order a halt to this illicit use of U.S. military force."
The FCNL is asking all of us to join this call for a cessation of violence. It's obvious that many people in Congress, too, need such a letter in their inboxes. And that emphatically includes McCain, Clinton, and Obama.
(After you write your emails/letters, tune into the peace march to Fort Drum, the western branch of which begins this Thursday morning at the Peace Storefront on Monroe Ave. For detailed info, go to nysmarchesforpeace.org.)