Sunday, June 15, 2008

Boycott the War


Mark E. Smith
Saturday, June 14, 2008

America's wars of aggression and crimes against humanity continue in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the opposition of the majority of Americans. Whenever people tell me that they oppose the wars, I ask them why they continue to vote for war. They have numerous excuses. Some think they have no choice because peace isn't on the ballot, so the only way they can exercise their franchise is to vote for war. Some don't think that voting for a candidate committed to war, is the same as voting for war. Some think that despite the trillions of dollars in war profiteering, if they just allow their candidate to kill a few more million innocent people, they might then be able to persuade their candidate to stop the wars. Others think that the only alternative to war is violent revolution--haven't they ever heard of peace? None of these arguments make any sense, yet people keep repeating them, hoping that repetition of illogical arguments might justify the fact that they claim to want peace but keep voting for war. Let's look at the candidates for the November election. There are some third party and independent candidates committed to peace, but thanks to our two-party system even they know that they have no chance of winning. The two who have a chance of winning, Obama and McCain, are both committed to war. McCain is more assertive about his desire to expand the wars and start new wars. Obama doesn't hide his plans to do the same, but is more subtle about expressing them. Obama has taken a page from Bush, who declared victory in Iraq years ago with his "mission accomplished" photo op on the aircraft carrier, and stated that he will declare the war in Iraq over by 2009. But he does not plan to ever withdraw from Iraq. He plans to retain indefinite U.S. control over the Green Zone, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad (built with slave labor), and the Iraq International Airport. He plans to retain U.S. control over Iraqi territory by using fewer U.S. troops and more private mercenary corporations like Blackwater. This was the Bush plan also -- private contractors already outnumber U.S. military troops in Iraq. Everyone knows that the Iraqis will never accept such insults to their sovereignty, and that as long as the U.S. has a presence in Iraq, the war will continue. It is also obvious that mercenaries are more expensive than our military, so Obama will have even less money than Bush to use for domestic purposes like health care. And Obama plans to continue the war in Afghanistan without any changes. The assumption that somebody who is committed to war crimes might baulk at nuking Iran if there was a false flag operation staged by the neo-cons to justify it (read Naomi Klein's book, "The Shock Doctrine") is a pipe dream. Both candidates are committed to war crimes and you cannot bring about peace by voting for war criminals. Informed Americans are fully aware that the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen and that our electoral system is corrupt. We know that the leading candidates are preselected by the military industrial complex, and that if the "wrong" one wins, they will promptly concede to the loser. Those decisions are made by policy-making bodies like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderbergers, to which all the candidates owe their loyalty, so even if the popular vote goes against the preselected candidate, they will take office anyway as happened in 2000 and 2004. Nothing has changed. But there has been some change among the U.S. electorate. We are becoming better informed. And some of us have realized that we cannot bring about peace by continuing to vote for war. We know that a vote that is not counted or is flipped to another candidate is not a voice in government. We know that once in office, candidates cannot be held accountable. And we have decided to boycott the war and express our sincere yearning for peace by not voting in the November election. This decision was not taken lightly. We debated for years. Every possible argument was examined and discussed carefully in all its minutiae. Our decision has been made. We will not continue to allow wars we oppose to be carried out in our name. We will not delegate our power by voting in rigged elections for candidates who cannot be held accountable to us. Instead, we have decided to withdraw our consent, withhold our mandate, and retain our power to ourselves as we work together to establish a citizen-owned transparent participatory democracy where every vote will be counted, candidates can be held accountable, and government is restored to the people as democracy demands. Please join us. There is no formal organization, no fundraising, and no affiliation with political or corporate organizations of any kind. When we say citizen owned, we mean that our democracy belongs to its citizens, not to the military-industrial complex, the big multinational corporations, or the corrupt political parties, but to us--to we the people. Once you sign the pledge not to vote in November, you are committed to work with us towards citizen owned transparent participatory democracy and you are the one who will decide how you can do that best. Some blog, some talk to family, friends, and neighbors one on one, some give talks to local groups, some wear buttons or t-shirts and pass out flyers, some design those buttons, t-shirts and flyers, and some merely pledge their support. You might even think of new ways in which to spread the word. Americans have always been a resourceful people and there is nothing that we cannot do when we put our minds to it. If you really want a voice in government, stop voting in rigged elections where you cannot be sure if your vote is even counted. If you really want democracy, government of the people, by the people, and for the people, withdraw your consent and your mandate from tyranny and work to establish true democracy. If you really want peace, don't vote for war criminals. Boycott the war! End the hypocrisy! No in November!

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