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“War Is Scary as Hell”

October 30, 2010

Local folks met at Fuller Park today for the “War Is Scary as Hell” bike ride  sponsored by Grand Rapids and Beyond for Peace and Justice for Afghanistan. The goal of the ride was to raise awareness about the human and financial costs of the US Occupation of Afghanistan as well as to point out that both Republicans and Democrats continue to vote for funding the Occupation, which began in 2001. In addition, both major party candidates running for congress, Justin Amash (R) and Pat Miles (D) support continuing US military involvement in Afghanistan.

The first stop was the Democratic campaign headquarters, 333 Fuller NE. As the citizen representative approached people who seemed to be in charge and politely began to explain the goals of the bike ride, she was basically told to shut up and get out. The print materials offered were put aside.

The next stop was the Republican campaign headquarters, 264 Leonard St. NW. Here a campaign volunteer welcomed two citizen representatives, took a look at the print materials handed to him and said, “You got that right. War is scary as hell. I know because I am a veteran.” This gentleman went on to state that he thought the US should get out of Afghanistan, that the American public was fooled into supporting the War in Iraq by Bush’s false claims of weapons of mass destruction and that the term “collateral damage” should not be used because the truth is that the US is killing innocent civilians. He also raised concerns about the costs our troops are paying in terms of lives lost, post traumatic stress disorder and crippling injuries. Before the citizen representatives left, he assured them that he would post the print materials.

While one shouldn’t read too much into the responses at each party headquarters it does make it clear that issues are not central to what political parties do. Both the Democrats and Republicans want their candidates to win, no matter how much they fail to represent the interests of many Americans on key issues such as war and military spending.

Here is the text of the materials left at both campaign headquarters today:

War Is Scary as Hell.

The US military has now begun its 10th year of the Occupation of Afghanistan. During the past 9 years the US has engaged in a massive bombing campaign, search and destroy missions, assassination programs, destroyed people’s homes, destroyed people’s way of life and is now engaged in a bloody counter insurgency campaign.

The cost of these actions has been tremendous and statistics do not honestly convey the harsh realities of human suffering and loss of life.

· Tens of thousands of Afghanis have been killed by the US military.

· Hundreds of thousands of Afghanis have been displaced because of the US military.

· Tens of thousands of Afghanis have been detained by the US military.

· Hundreds of thousands of Afghanis have been wounded because of the US military.

· Hundreds of Afghanis have been tortured by the US military at places like Bagram.

This bloody 9-year US military occupation has also cost the lives of US soldiers.

· More than 1,300 US troops have been killed in Afghanistan

· Tens of thousands of US troops have been wounded in Afghanistan

· Tens of thousands of US troops will suffer for the rest of their lives because of the trauma of what they have participated in and witnessed in Afghanistan

· Tens of thousands of US families will bear the burden of the loss of a loved one.

· Tens of thousands more will  struggle of watching a loved one struggle to cope after military action in Afghanistan!

This brutal and unjust US military occupation will also cost US
taxpayers over a Trillion dollars, both in direct military costs and hidden social costs which are nearly impossible to measure.

According to the National Priorities Project the cost of the US war in Afghanistan since 2001 has been $359 billion and counting http://www.costofwar.com/. For those of us living in Michigan that means that over $9.5 billion in taxes have left the state to fund this
brutal war and for people living in Grand Rapids it means over $188 million has left this community.

This is all money that could have stayed here to fund the public schools, provide adequate health care, provide jobs, student loans and funds for environmental clean up.

We are here today to tell you that this war, a war which is supported by both the Democrats and Republicans, is immoral, unjust and is only contributing to a growing anti-American sentiment around the world. Your political party’s support for this war is costing countless lives, costing countless dollars and putting all US citizens at a greater risk of being the target of anti-American rage.

It is because of this that we cannot and will not support your party or its candidates in Tuesday’s election.

If we could vote against the War on Tuesday we would, but unfortunately your party and your
candidates have not even made war and military spending an issue. In essence this makes your political party the War Party.

End the Occupation!

End the Killing!

Money for Health Care not for Warfare!

To download the full .pdf version, click here: war is scary as hell

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Olestra permalink
    November 1, 2010 1:51 pm

    “Both the Democrats and Republicans want their candidates to win, no matter how much they fail to represent the interests of many Americans on key issues such as war and military spending.”

    Of course they don’t represent the interests of many Americans, they are politicians. The system isn’t designed to “represent” the mythical “people”—it exists to protect the wealthy and secure people’s privileged status. Beyond that, representation is just another form of domination. This article is way too friendly to the electoral system.

  2. stelle permalink
    November 1, 2010 2:03 pm

    The article simply reported on a local action that sought to bring this very point to the attention of people working on both the Democrat and Republican campaigns.

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