A Father Speaks Out Against the Iraq War

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A Father Speaks Out Against the Iraq War

Post by admin » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:27 am

A Father Speaks Out Against the Iraq War
By Paul Rockwell
In Motion Magazine

Saturday 17 June 2006

Imagine losing your child in a war based on lies and misinformation. On Father's Day, Fernando Suarez del Solar remembers his son.

"In December 2003, Fernando Suarez traveled to Iraq. He visited the site where his son died, and he brought back thousands of letters of peace from Iraqi children." Photo by Medea Benjamin.

His buddies in the Marines called him the "Aztec warrior." Jesus Suarez del Solar was one of the first Americans killed during the invasion of Iraq. On March 27, 2003 Jesus stepped on an undetonated U.S. cluster bomb and bled to death in a remote desert near Diwaniya. Jesus left behind his wife and 1-year-old son, his mother, three sisters, and a father who now speaks out against the occupation of Iraq. As a representative of Military Families Speak Out, a burgeoning organization of 1,500 families who call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Fernando Suarez tells high school and college students: Stay in school; don't be deceived by false promises from recruiters for Bush.

Fernando Suarez del Solar is a Mexican-born American citizen. With his wife and children, he immigrated from Tijuana, Mexico, to Escondido, California, where he delivered newspapers and worked at a Seven-Eleven store.

Paul Rockwell: How did your son lose his life in Iraq?

Fernando Suarez: On March 26th the army dropped cluster bombs outside a city. The next day my son's unit received orders to advance into the area. That's when he stepped on a cluster bomb.

Rockwell: Cluster bomb are anti-personnel weapons, with a failure rate of 15 to 20 percent. When they lie unexploded on the ground, like mines, they look like beer cans and are easy to step on. Did his commanders inform Jesus about cluster bomb drops in the area?

Suarez: He never received any information about the drop.

Rockwell: Was that a mistake, an exception to overall policy? Does the military put out fliers or warnings about cluster bombs in the area?

Suarez: No. What happened was, after my son was killed, the military in the area began to pay more attention. They publicized the accident.

Rockwell: I guess the Iraqi civilians, like kids playing in the fields, didn't get any warnings about left-over clusters?

Suarez: That's right.

Rockwell: How did your son get involved in the military?

Suarez: My son was in Mexico. Along the border there are military recruiters. My son told the recruiter he hoped to join the police in Tijuana. The recruiter said: "Don't join the Mexican police. It's dangerous for you in the police department in Tijuana. It's safer for you to join the Marine Corps."

In 1997 we moved from Tijuana to San Diego, where Jesus wanted to finish high school. That's where he joined the military.

Rockwell: Did the recruiters deceive Jesus?

Suarez: The military promised Jesus to provide money for school. They said Jesus would get $1,000 a month for school, but the recruiter never explained where the money comes from. When Jesus finished boot camp, he became very upset. He told me: "The recruiter said I am going to receive $1,000 every month. I only get $620."

So I talked with the recruiter. He explained, "Yes, you receive $1,000 a month, minus money for the scholarship, minus $100 for the uniform -- minus, minus, minus."

Rockwell: I understand that the military is recruiting youth from the Philippines, from Mexico, people of color in the Third World. Was your son living in Mexico when he was contacted?

Suarez: Yes. When he came to San Diego he had a green card.

Rockwell: Where do recruiters contact young people?

Suarez: On the border there are lots of recruiting offices. Last year, around October, this one recruiter crossed the border into Mexico and recruited young boys from a school in Mexico.

Rockwell: He went into a Mexican school to get sign-ups for the U.S. military?

Suarez: Yes.

Rockwell: What kind of promises did he make?

Suarez: According to what I heard, the recruiters say, "You can go to the U.S.A. and enter high school and enter a military program in high school." They say to the kids, "I can help you with the papers."

Rockwell: What do you think about recruiting kids from Mexico for U.S. wars?

Suarez: If they can use Hispanic people, Anglo-Americans don't have to be used. They want to use Hispanic boys in the war.

Rockwell: You mean they are trying to substitute Hispanic kids so that Anglo-Americans do not have to risk their lives?

Suarez: Exactly. They offer education and a formal offer of citizenship. That's not all. Here in the U.S. they recruit kids in the barrios. They contact them when they are 14, 15 years old. And they say to our kids, "It's not a problem you do not have papers. You can enter the program and we will help you with the papers and immigration. You just need to do well in school and our program."

This in my opinion is very immoral. There are a lot of high schools in the Mexican barrio where recruiters are recruiting. The recruiter has an open door. It's a big problem.

Rockwell: Do you feel betrayed by the Bush Administration?

Suarez: The Bush Administration lied about the war. They lied to my son. They lied about weapons of mass destruction. They lied about Iraq and September 11th. And they lie about other things.

Bush said, "I put in a lot of time to support families who lost members in the war." This is another lie. Mr. Bush never contacted me, never supported me, never supported my family. This is a lie.

We have a lot of contact with parents, parents who have boys in Iraq. They are very upset with this war and Mr. Bush. My feeling is Mr. Bush uses the boys for personal reasons, to get family revenge on Saddam. Bush has no idea about what is happening in Iraq. He never went to Vietnam. He has no good plan for what is to happen. He never provides humanitarian help for the civilian people. Thousands and thousands of civilians died. The children now have no help in the hospital. The ordinary Iraqi people say stop. You don't give me freedom. And it's not terrorist groups who are attacking Americans. It's the regular, ordinary civilian people.

In December 2003, Fernando Suarez traveled to Iraq. He visited the site where his son died, and he brought back thousands of letters of peace from Iraqi children. "My heart goes out to the soldiers, many of whom come from poor communities and joined the military as a way to get an education," he says. "Then they find themselves sent off to a faraway land where they are exposed to death every day, with their families suffering back home -- all for the whims and lies of President Bush. I support the troops, but I don't support the Commander-in-Chief."

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Paul Rockwell is a writer in the Bay Area. He can be reached at rockyspad@hotmail.com.

Yanique_

Post by Yanique_ » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:54 pm

My heart goes out to the troops in Iraq. As good Citizens they follow orders from the Commander-in-Chief. As stated by Mr. Suarez, the war is a personal revenge. I totally agree we have been fooled to believing that the war is necessary and Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Where are the weapons of mass destruction that this war is based on? I was at work the morning the Twin Towers went down. I lost a cousin, and my brother was 20 minutes away from being a victim. I cried my eyes out when I looked at my window and noticed one of the buildings was missing, and when the second one went down I was devastated. I was all for the war, but now I wonder why so many people knew of the impending doom. Did the government know about it and allow it to happen? Hence this would create a war on terror (our greatest fear), and take out Bush's archenemy in the process. A simple plan… but now how do we get out of it is a dilemma for the next administration.

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Post by admin » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:16 am

Thank you for your personal testimony, Yanique. Yes, the administration fooled a lot of people. To which extent? That may be the biggest question left unanswered.

Did someone (or a circle of extremely influential people, lurking in the shadows) know more about what was happening than George Bush himself? Why was Bin Laden's family evacuated out of the country without any interrogation ever taking place? How long before 9/11 was Iraq identified as THE military target of choice? How do you explain the total evaporation of the planes, including their black boxes, and especially the one that supposedly hit the Pentagon? Why hasn't the administration been forthright in terms of answering some fundamental questions about 9/11?

And going beyond 9/11 itself:

- the sheer inhumanity of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, the killings of civilians and the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and undisclosed locations used specifically for torture.

- the crossing of national borders to recruit the youths of other countries, otherwise considered most unwelcome by border-enforcement and enforcement-only advocates of U.S. immigration policy. Reflect on the following passage excerpted from the article above.

[quote]Rockwell: Where do recruiters contact young people?

Suarez: On the border there are lots of recruiting offices. Last year, around October, this one recruiter crossed the border into Mexico and recruited young boys from a school in Mexico.

Rockwell: He went into a Mexican school to get sign-ups for the U.S. military?

Suarez: Yes.

Rockwell: What kind of promises did he make?

Suarez: According to what I heard, the recruiters say, "You can go to the U.S.A. and enter high school and enter a military program in high school." They say to the kids, "I can help you with the papers."

Rockwell: What do you think about recruiting kids from Mexico for U.S. wars?

Suarez: If they can use Hispanic people, Anglo-Americans don't have to be used. They want to use Hispanic boys in the war.

Rockwell: You mean they are trying to substitute Hispanic kids so that Anglo-Americans do not have to risk their lives?

Suarez: Exactly. They offer education and a formal offer of citizenship. That's not all. Here in the U.S. they recruit kids in the barrios. They contact them when they are 14, 15 years old. And they say to our kids, "It's not a problem you do not have papers. You can enter the program and we will help you with the papers and immigration. You just need to do well in school and our program."

This in my opinion is very immoral. There are a lot of high schools in the Mexican barrio where recruiters are recruiting. The recruiter has an open door. It's a big problem. [/quote]

Empress Verite

Who Benefits From The War in Iraq

Post by Empress Verite » Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:27 pm

Sak Pase all?

I am sorry about the tragedy of the war. In my view there were plenty of signs that 9/11 was in the making. I believe that the Bush administration had to gain legitimacy and strong on war is the Republican moto. In addition, the attack on Iraq as Yanique pointed out was revenge for Saddams's trashing of the senior Bush. Moreover, Blackwater, Halliburton and so many of the Bush and Cheney croonies are making so much money and profits from these wars and the disasters in the Gulf Coast. Did we notice how high the price of oil and gas became? It was shameless and it was ridiculous that the Senate held those sham hearings about the outrageous profits that these oil companies made and are still making. They should have had Dick Cheney and his pals at Halliburton and Blackwater up there too for war profiteering.

The following article is about the recent vote on the billions being given once again to fight these war. This does not include the other billions being re-diverted to fight to perpetual war on terror.
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US Senate votes 100-0 for $70 billion more in war spending
By the Editorial Board
30 September 2006

The unanimous vote by the US Senate on Friday to approve the Bush administration's request for an additional $70 billion to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates a basic truth of American politics: the Democratic Party, no less than the Republicans, is a party of imperialist militarism and war.

Not a single senator of either party missed the opportunity to demonstrate his or her support for the bloody interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. This vote rips asunder the miserable attempts of a section of the Democratic Party to posture as “critics” of the Iraq war. It demonstrates that behind the quibbling over tactics and complaints about the incompetence of the Bush administration's conduct of the war, the Democrats remain committed to violently suppressing the resistance of the Iraqi people to the US occupation and Washington's drive to seize the country's oil resources.

The vote shows that a Democratic victory in the November mid-term elections will in no way alter the basic course of US foreign policy—whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, or other countries targeted for future aggression such as Iran and Syria.

In its report on the Senate vote, the Associated Press noted that the war funding measure was passed “after minimal debate.” Such is the contempt of the two corporate-controlled parties for the sentiments of the American people, who oppose the war by a wide margin.

Nothing could more clearly express the unbridgeable chasm that separates the entire political establishment from the broad mass of working people. These two parties are accountable not to the American people, but rather to a financial oligarchy. What has emerged in America, behind the increasingly threadbare trappings of democracy, is a plutocracy.

As for the Iraqi people, the Associated Press reported one day before the Senate vote the results of two polls that show overwhelming opposition to the US military occupation. A poll conducted by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes reported that 60 percent of Iraqis approve the attacks on US-led forces and almost 80 percent say the US military provokes more violence in Iraq than it prevents.

The US State Department's own poll, according to the AP, found that two thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of US forces.

There can be little wonder on either score. More than 2,700 American soldiers have been killed, and tens of thousands wounded, in an unprovoked war of aggression that has taken the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqis, destroyed the country's infrastructure, and turned daily life for millions into a nightmare of violence, death, torture and repression.

This exercise in imperialist plunder has already consumed an estimated $379 billion and continues to cost $8 billion every month. Congress has now approved $507 billion since 9/11 to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other overseas military operations. By the spring of 2007 Congress will be gearing up to approve another multibillion-dollar infusion of cash to keep these wars going.

The burden for the squandering of these vast resources is being borne squarely by the working class, in the form of cuts in vital social programs and the ongoing decay of the nation's infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of workers are being laid off, their pensions and health benefits shredded, and their wages and living standards slashed while defense contractors and the corporate cronies of the Bush White House rake in record war profits and huge windfalls from the so-called “reconstruction” of Iraq.

The $70 billion in war spending was part of a Pentagon budget totaling $448 billion approved by the Senate—a record allocation for the US military. This compares to $74 billion in discretionary spending proposed for the Department of Health and Human Services in Bush's fiscal year 2007 budget—a cut of $1.5 billion. Thus the military budget is more than six times that proposed for basic social needs.

The eruption of American militarism inevitably requires the reintroduction of the military draft. There is simply no way for the ruling elite to amass sufficient cannon fodder for its global military designs on the basis of an all-volunteer army. Plans for a revival of the draft are well advanced, and are supported by both parties.

The Senate vote on military appropriations came just one day after the Senate passed the Bush administration's bill to legalize torture and indefinite detention. Democrats guaranteed passage by agreeing in advance not to block a vote, which they could have done by staging a filibuster, which requires only 40 votes to sustain. The conjuncture of the torture bill and the war spending measure underscores that the bipartisan policy of militarism and war goes hand-in-hand with the destruction of democratic rights.

Democratic liberals, if asked, will doubtless justify their vote for war funds as a vote to “support the troops.” This is a contemptible evasion. The American soldiers are themselves victims of an imperialist policy pursued not to protect the American people from terrorist attack, but rather to advance the global designs of the US corporate elite. From the outset, the war was a criminal conspiracy prepared and executed on the basis of lies.

It is now almost routine for soldiers to find that their tours of duty have been extended, compounding the danger for themselves and the hardship and anguish of their families. Only last week another 8,000 soldiers who were due to leave Iraq were told they had to stay at least until February. The only way to “support the troops” is to bring them home and put an end to the war.

The two-faced cynicism of the Democrats was summed up by the dean of liberal senators, Edward Kennedy. In the debate preceding the vote on war spending, he declared, “America is in deep trouble in Iraq. The continuing violence and death is ominous.... Militias are growing in strength and continue to operate outside the law. Death squads are rampant.” He then proceeded to cast his vote to continue the bloodletting.

The Senate vote should serve as a wake-up call to those who continue to delude themselves into thinking that the Democratic Party somehow represents an alternative to the Bush administration and the Republicans. It is necessary to speak bluntly: A vote for either of the two parties of big business is a vote for war.

The only party running in the November elections that unequivocally opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and advances a principled and viable strategy to put an end to militarism, the attacks on democratic rights and the assault on working class living standards is the Socialist Equality Party.

The program upon which the SEP candidates are running (see “For a socialist alternative in the 2006 US elections”) calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. It demands that all those responsible for the invasion of Iraq be compelled to stand trial before a war crimes tribunal, and that the US government compensate the Iraqi people for the destruction and suffering it has caused, as well as the families of American soldiers killed in the war and the men and women who have been wounded.

The SEP campaign opposes all attempts to revive the draft. It advances a socialist foreign policy, based on international working class solidarity. This includes the closure of US military bases around the world, the abolition of the CIA and other agencies that sponsor coups and meddle in the affairs of other countries, and a massive expansion of aid to countries that have been devastated by American military intervention and corporate exploitation.

The SEP calls for the abolition of the so-called “Department of Defense,” and with it the standing army, which poses a constant threat to democratic rights. In its place, we advocate the formation of popular militias, organized under the democratic control of the working class.

We call for a break with the Democratic Party and the building of a mass socialist movement of the working class in opposition to the two-party monopoly and the capitalist system that it defends. This is the only viable basis for a struggle against militarism and war.

We call on all those who oppose the war in Iraq and the assault on democratic rights, and who support the fight for social equality, to vote for the SEP candidates where they are standing. Study our election program and organize discussions on the program with your friends and work mates. Contact the SEP and the World Socialist Web Site, volunteer to participate in the SEP campaigns, and donate to our election fund. Join the SEP and help fight for a socialist alternative!

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