Unions joined millions of others to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq. More than 200 U.S. labor organizations, representing more than 5 million workers, adopted resolutions opposing this war. The AFL-CIO Executive Council has also opposed Bush's rush to war. Labor organizations around the world responded to the start of the war with job actions and demonstrations.
WHY DOES THE LABOR MOVEMENT OPPOSE THE WAR IN IRAQ?
This war is unnecessary--Bush has not made his case. There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein poses a real threat to the people of the U.S. There is no evidence linking him to Al Qaeda or the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. British intelligence said: "There are no links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network." ("Leaked report rejects Al-Qaeda link," BBC news, 2-5-03.)
This war will not make us safer. To the contrary, it will fuel more terrorism. This war on Iraq is seen by many as a war against all Muslims, giving rise to more hatred and the very real possibility of more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
This war is costing billions at a time when every important social program is being cut. This war and the post-war reconstruction are projected to cost from $80 billion to more than $200 billion. That money will be taken from urgent needs here arising from the most serious economic crisis in recent memory: massive unemployment, state and local budget cuts, and cut-backs in health care, education, and other vital services.
This war is costing lives--U.S. lives and Iraqi lives. The lives of young Americans--the sons and daughters of working families--are being put at risk and lost fighting this unnecessary war, and untold numbers of Iraqis are being killed. Gulf War Syndrome struck over 100,000 troops from the first Gulf War, and 9,000 have died.
We support the troops because they're our friends, loved ones and neighbors. On the other hand, of the 535 members of Congress, only one has a child in the military. Scott Camil, a former Marine Corps Sergeant in Vietnam, notes: "Using the troops responsibly means using all means of diplomacy to solve the problems and using the troops as a last resort. Starting a war, sending our troops to fight and die while yelling 'we support the troops' makes as much sense as starting fires, sending firefighters to risk their lives fighting the fires while yelling 'we support our firefighters.'"
Bush cuts VA benefits so that he can give a tax cut to the rich. Bush is poised to cut $844 million from veterans' medical care for next year and cut an additional $463 million in other Veterans Administration benefit programs. The Republicans project that they will cut $15 billion from veterans programs in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the children of Sam "Walmart" Walton will get more money from the Bush tax cut than all the million people who work for Walmart put together.
The war has been used to distract the American people from Bush's anti-labor, anti-worker agenda here at home. Bush stripped 170,000 employees of the new Homeland Security Department of their union and civil service protections. He plans to privatize another 700,000 federal jobs. He intervened on behalf of the employers in the West Coast dock workers' negotiations, invoking Taft-Hartley. He has proposed legislation that would enable him to suspend many union rights in the event of war. He is proposing a massive tax cut for the wealthiest 1% of Americans while slashing funds for schools, hospitals, and veterans. He has launched a full-scale assault on our Constitutional protections in the name of national security. His war against Iraq serves as a cover for a war against working people here at home.
This war is not about getting cheaper oil for American consumers. Big energy companies don't want to charge us lower prices, they want to charge us as much as they can get away with. The war in Iraq is more about keeping cheap oil (such as Iraq's) off the market. Since the first Gulf War, Iraq has produced half the oil it normally would. As long as there's an economic embargo or a war, Iraq won't be able to increase its oil production. In effect, Americans are now killing and dying to make sure oil prices stay high. Worse yet, plant closings and layoffs accelerate at home as the recession is worsened by enormous war expenditures and the high price of oil.
Bush's rich friends are going to get richer from contracts in Iraq. A division of Vice President Dick Cheney's company, Halliburton, was given the contract to fight oil fires in Iraq--with no competitive bids! $489 million dollars has been set aside for this work. Cheney still receives up to a million dollars a year from Halliburton. The White House recently awarded a $4.8 million dollar contract to Stevedoring Services of America, a notorious union-busting firm, to privately manage the Iraqi ports at Umm Qasr. The men who are recommending war are making money from it: A member of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon, former CIA chief James Woolsey, sits on the board of a company which received $688 million in Pentagon contracts in 2002. Another member of the DPB, Retired Admiral David Jeremiah, sits on boards of five companies that received more than $10 billion in Pentagon contracts. (Source: Wall Street Journal, 3-27-03.)
No more blood for oil companies. Invest in peace: spend money on vital needs here at home.
Brought to you by Labor Against the War
Gainesville contact for Labor Against the War: (352) 375-3542
US Labor Against the War: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the USLAW website at: www.uslaboragainstwar.org
For peace activities in the Gainesville area contact the Community Coalition Against War and Terrorism at 337-9274 or visit the CCAWT website at: www.civicmediacenter.org/ccawt
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