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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

SET A TIMETABLE AND BRING HOME THE TROOPS

February 17, 2005

The Bush administration wants to have its cake and eat it, too. But it’s costing more than we can afford.

The president proclaimed the January 30 elections a positive if tottering step toward democracy in Iraq. The Iraqi security forces the United States and others are training are growing, and the U.S. is even recognizing as legitimate and effective “pop-up’ units of Iraqi irregulars who are defending against attacks from the insurgency (Greg Jaffe, “New Factor in Iraq: Irregular Brigades Fill Security Void,” Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2005).

But despite these “successes,” the Bush administration is asking for blood and treasure to continue to be spilled in Iraq without any limit. On January 20, in his Inaugural address, the president boasted of lighting a “fire of freedom,” and promised that “one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.” For many months the administration has been threatening Iran. Now, in recent days, in the aftermath of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, the administration seems eager to use the occasion to take down the Syrian government.

How many of the president’s supporters believe his rhetoric about “freedom,” how many are supporting his policies for the sake of past and future tax breaks or cheap oil, how many are backing him because they profit from his wars, and how many are hoping that his policies lead to Armageddon and the return of the Messiah, are open questions. What is clear, however, is that the United States does not have the means to support the Bush administration’s grandiose plans.

International investors are putting increased pressure on the administration to set its fiscal house in order. And they have leverage. “Each day, the United States must borrow billions from abroad to finance its enormous budget and trade deficits. Without a steady stream of huge loans, the country would face rising interest rates, higher inflation, a dropping dollar and slower economic growth” (“The Importance of Being Earnest,” editorial, New York Times, February 14, 2005). Chief among these lenders are countries with conflicting strategic interests, like China.

Rather than give up their hubris-fueled vision, though, the policy planners of the Bush administration intend to cut back or eliminate social and environmental programs like Social Security, the Hanford cleanup, community development block grant programs, the HOPE VI program, Amtrak, etc., etc., if they can get Congress to go along.

The truth is that the Bush-Cheney administration is stuck in a war it can’t afford. Whether the U.S. has won or lost is irrelevant, compared to the fact that we can’t afford for it to go on. The time has come to declare victory and bring home the troops.

The Bush administration is unwilling to acknowledge these realities. It is driven by ideological fanatics like the drafters of the “Project for a New American Century,” and depends on keeping up an endless “war on terror” to mobilize public support for its plans. So it is up to American citizens to bring pressure on the government to mend its ways. With luck, we may also be able to save the United States Constitution from the likes of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY endorses the rally against the war at the Seattle Center at noon on Saturday, March 19, the second anniversary of the invasion. We call on all citizens to turn out and send a message to Washington: End the war! End the occupation! Set a timetable and bring home the troops!

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."