No War on Iran!
No U.S. Coup in Venezuela!
End Sanctions Now!
Bring all U.S. Troops home now!
The Chicago Committee Against War and Racism supports the call of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) to take a stand for peace and hold local antiwar actions on the weekend of July 13th, raising the above demands. We will be protesting against the ongoing aggression against Iran and Venezuela on the evening of Friday, July 12th, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., on the sidewalk outside ABC-TV studios, 190 N. State Street, in Chicago. We have selected this as a site partly because media corporations like ABC have not been providing unbiased news on U.S. foreign policy but have served as part of the propaganda apparatus for war — while systematically excluding opponents of U.S. war-making and advocates for peace. The corporate media are an integral part of the U.S. war machine. They are part of the problem and deserve to be called out for it.
The weekend of July 13th was selected in part because Sunday, July 14th, is the anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran, the United States and other nations, also known as the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” It was bad enough that the Trump administration reneged on this agreement. Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others in the administration are engaging in dangerous acts of provocation against Iran, in a misguided effort to destabilize that country, promote so-called “regime change,” and perhaps deliberately incite a war. Even if a full-blown war is not intended, its acts of economic warfare against Iran already violate international law, and its reckless acts of brinksmanship and daily barrage of unsubstantiated accusations against Iran demonstrate that it is pushing toward some type of military aggression against Iran – which could easily escalate into a full-blown war.
While some members of Congress are making noise about trying to rein in the Trump administration’s ability to start yet another disastrous war in the Middle East, most Democratic and Republican members alike have laid the groundwork for such a war. For decades, they have abdicated their constitutional authority to declare war to the executive branch, allowing president after president to commit acts of war with little or no resistance. In addition, most Democratic leaders in Congress go along with their Republican colleagues (and the corporate news media) in proclaiming that Iran is the “world’s leading State sponsor of terrorism,” “the main source of instability in the Middle East,” etc.
These claims are constantly repeated but rarely examined, as if sheer repetition is an acceptable substitute for truth. Whatever one thinks of Iran’s actions towards its neighbors, there is little or no substance to these charges. Cheerleaders for war are using the “terrorism” charge, grainy videos and other dubious “evidence” in an attempt to manipulate the public into believing that future U.S. military attacks on Iran may be justified. Yet there can be no justification for U.S. military aggression against a nation that has not attacked the United States. Any such action would be illegal under well-settled international law, illegal under the U.S. Constitution, and without a shred of moral justification.
Such claims are also monstrously hypocritical, coming as they do from a nation that has literally rained tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against seven different Middle East and African nations in recent years, driving much of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria into the hell of persistent war, political chaos and economic ruin, with no end in sight. Not only has the United States directly supplied terrorist groups in Syria, its efforts at “regime change” generally have fostered an increase in terrorist activity in the region. Americans must wake up to the fact that the world’s leading “State sponsor of terrorism” is their own government.
As UNAC well points out: “In modern history, Iran has never attacked another country, something the U.S. has done continuously. Iran has not threatened to attack the U.S. or other countries, only maintaining its right to defend itself. On the other hand, the U.S. has threatened to annihilate Iran if it interferes with U.S. ‘interests.’ While the U.S. has around 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries combined, Iran only has foreign bases in Syria, a country that asked for Iran’s support in its war against jihadist forces, most supported by the U.S. and its allies, as well as direct attacks from Israel, the U.S. and its NATO allies.”
U.S. Bases Surrounding Iran
The history of U.S. intervention in the region, the lack of evidence that its presence in the Middle East is actually aimed at fighting terrorism, or promoting “democracy,” “stability,” etc., all point to the fact that the real motives for its presence are economic. The underlying purpose of its current wars, and its threats against Iran, is to enrich the owners of America’s most powerful corporations by controlling the oil and other resources, markets, labor and wealth of those nations. The same is true of its long history of military aggression in Latin America and its current efforts to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela. War-making also enriches the military weapons industry and its beneficiaries, also known as the military-industrial-congressional complex.
An attack on Iran would not only be illegal and immoral — it would be catastrophic for the people of both countries (except war profiteers and major energy corporation shareholders). Like neighboring Iraq and Syria, Iran is one of the cradles of civilization. It also is much larger and more populous than those nations, with a much larger military. A war with Iran would be terribly costly in every respect — human, economic and environmental. It would have major domestic consequences, possibly including a resumption of the military draft, on top of the “poverty draft” in operation now.
As it is, the economic warfare (sanctions) against both Iran and Venezuela (another target for so-called “regime change” via blatant U.S. attempts to orchestrate a coup) are already killing people, an estimated 40,000 in Venezuela alone.
It is time for the American people to say: “Enough! No More War!” As it is, Democrats and Republicans in Congress are currently debating, not over whether to increase military spending next year, but over how much to raise it. The parameters of the debate are whether to increase the military budget from $716 billion to $750 billion, or “only” $733 billion. Even those colossal sums don’t include the tens of billions of dollars that go into the “overseas contingency operations budget,” where a lot of current war spending is hidden from public view. They also don’t include funding for Homeland Security, the payment of interest on past wars, or the additional health-care costs caused by physical or mental injuries to the veterans, whom all politicians claim to care so much about. Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans languish in poverty, debt and little or no health care, our infrastructure continues to crumble, and not nearly enough is being done to address climate catastrophe and the collapse or our ecosystem — a major cause of which is militarism and war.
Accordingly, we call upon the people of greater Chicago to take a stand for peace.