Iraq anniversary commemorated by OC socialists
The Oberlin members of Socialist Alternative marked the second anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq last night with a discussion on the current situation in the Middle Eastern country.
Despite the low turnout the participants of the discussion attended to many of the major issues raised after the end of the recent first democratic elections in Iraq, as well as the effect the war has on American society and the U.S. budget.
“One hundred and sixty democrats voted for the funding [of the war] and 42 and one libertarian voted against,” said first-year Colin Jones, who led the discussion.
Jones also presented the newest numbers for casualties and wounded, 1516 and over 12 000 respectively.
“If you believe the Pentagon,” he added, “which is not to be believed.”
He talked about already occurring cases of post-war psychological traumas among people who have served in Iraq and have returned. Stories are going around about people who lose control and randomly kill people before killing themselves.
“They are just not the same,” Jones said.
“Nothing of this is helping Iraq,” he added, pointing out that more than a thousand children have lost a parent in the Iraq war.
“Think about how many Iraqi children have lost their children,” said senior John Gallup.
“Think about how many parents lost their children,” said Brent Perry, a member of Socialist Alternative from St. Paul, Minn.
Jones explained that in most cases people are not aware of what’s really going on in Iraq due to media bias and lack of enough information.
“People don’t know the reality on the ground,” he said, while painting a picture of bodies torn apart and lying in the street.
“If I was campaigning [for president] I would use pictures of [Iraq] and be like, ‘you tell me this guy is pro-life.’”
Jones also added that doctors who have been in Iraq are not allowed to say anything and the Red Crescent are not allowed to go in because the first time they did intervene, many pictures were taken and published.
He expressed his doubts that the war will be over soon.
“As long as there are guns and people pissed at the U.S. this will continue, and neither of these is going away soon,” he said.
A large part of the discussion rotated around the recent elections in Iraq and the many discrepancies that happened during the voting process.
“If the U.S. was under occupation and we held elections, would we call them legitimate?” Jones said. “Probably not.”
In his opinion the Iraqi people only voted because they thought this was the only way they can end the occupation, but now the elected leaders need American protection.
On the American side, people who do not want to participate in the war go to jail, flee to Canada or even shoot their toes to avoid fighting in Iraq, he said.
“There has been a very dismissive attitude towards the war,” said junior Melissa Sanders.
“People going to the Marines are not like you or me,” she added, “but even they don’t believe in this war.”
There will be protests going on tomorrow on different campuses around the country, as well as in most big cities.
There is a rally in Cleveland and a march organized by the University of
Akron. In Oberlin, the Community Peace Builders is organizing a vigil for the
victims of the war at noon on Saturday on the southeast corner of Tappan Square.