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The group Iraq Veterans Against The War or IVAW has emerged as the leading antiwar group in the United States. Recently, thousands of IVAW members held rallies and marches at the RNC and nearly 10 thousand marched at the DNC in Denver. The demonstrations urged presidential candidates to endorse ending the Iraq war and paying reparations to the people of Iraq.
The IVAW also calls for the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq, stopping the corporate pillaging of Iraq, and full benefits, adequate healthcare for returning servicemen and women. IVAW chapters are in 48 states, Canada and DC, members include recent veterans and active duty servicemen and women from all branches of military service, National Guard members, and reservists who have served in the United States military since September 11, 2001.
Guest – Jose Vasquez, a 14 year US Army veteran and conscientious objector. He is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) serving as the New York City chapter president. Jose was also a key organizer of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nearly 4,200 US soldiers and 1 million Iraqi civilians have been killed in the US occupation of Iraq since 2003. .Right now there are 75 major US bases in Iraq, 140 thousand US troops and 180 thousand private contractors operating in Iraq. The cost of the Iraq War so far is 3 trillion and this year the monthly average expense is 12 billion dollars.
A pact recently negotiated in secret by the US government intends to extend the US occupation 3 more years in Iraq despite public and Congressional opposition. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have demonstrated against the pact that calls for full US withdrawal by 2012, but the agreement also leaves open the possible later date of withdrawal.
- Status of Forces Agreement; Orwellian slieght of hand – Combat troop withdrawal only.
- US is currently responsible for the detention of thousands of Iraqis who are being held without trial.
- 14 permanent US bases in Iraq: Areas to project power from in the future.
- Iraq: World’s second largest oil reserves, and world’s most strategic shipping routes.
- In the SOFA agreements, the US is making a condition to pass a national oil law.
- Iraq’s oil is distributed unevenly, leading to regional tensions between Kurdish and Shia regions.
- Obama rhetoric: Blaming the Iraqi people – the Iraqis haven’t spent money or achieved political reconciliation, or passed a national oil law
Arnove is best known for his books on Iraq and the Iraq War. Arnove is the author of the book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, published in hardcover by the New Press and in paperback by Haymarket Books. Arnove toured the country promoting the book in spring 2006 as part of the New Press’ “End the War Tour”.
Arnove is also the editor of Iraq Under Siege, published by South End Press, the co-editor with Howard Zinn of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, published by Seven Stories Press, and the editor of The Essential Noam Chomsky, published by the New Press. He writes frequently for left-wing publications; he is a featured author at ZNet, a columnist for Socialist Worker, and on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review. He has also written for The Nation, In These Times, Le Nouvel Observateur, Lâ€™HumanitÃ©, and The Financial Times.