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February 2003

Twenty-Five Things You Can Do To Resist the War Against Iraq

As the US government rushes into war, it is easy to get overwhelmed, and to feel that there is nothing we can do.  But as ever more citizens wake up to the potentially catastrophic consequences of Bush’s war, as hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe protest this war, there are more groups to get involved with, actions to take, and ways to become informed and inspired.  Long-term political activist and writer Mina Hamilton came up with this list.

#1 The Beginning of Wisdom
In this scary time, as we teeter on the brink of war in the Middle East, we can find comfort in the words of Bertrand Russell, who wrote:
“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
from An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1950)

#2 STILL Keep Those Phone Calls, Letters and E-mails Going to the US Congress

Back in the fall of 2002, we suffered a major setback when the US Congress voted to support Bush’s War against Iraq.  However, in the winter of 2003 opposition is building around the globe (only 23% of the French, 24% of the Germans, 17% of the Turks support the war).  US war critics are also increasingly visible.  On January 13 a group of Republican businessmen took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal opposing the war.  Meanwhile Roman Catholic Bishops and almost all the Protestant denominations have gone on record opposing the war. 

In the US Congress war critics are becoming bolder. On January 21, Senator Edward M. Kennedy accused the administration of rushing to war saying, “The threat from Iraq is not imminent, and it will distract America from the two more immediate threats to our security:  the clear and present danger of terrorism and the crisis with North Korea.”  Contact your representatives and let them know you oppose the rush to war and support a reasonable timetable for the UN inspectors to do their job.  Addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all representatives can be found at (House of Representatives) and at (Senate).

#3 Become a Media Watchdog
Sign up to receive alerts from  The establishment media routinely swallows whole the deliberate obfuscations, lies and misstatements of the Bush Administration.  Fair analyzes media inaccuracies and tells you whom to send an e-mail to and suggests a texts.  This is an excellent way to stiffen the spine of reporters and anchormen and women who are prone to become putty in the hands of the likes of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, or Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense.  

#4  Remember History
On August 7, 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident catapulted the US into the Vietnam War.  A resolution “to use all necessary means to repel any armed attack” was rushed through the US Senate by hawks anxious to mobilize the US Congress.  After a mere three hours of debate, a strongly worded resolution authorizing an attack on both North and South Vietnam was passed.  And so the US started down the perilous path leading to the death of two million Vietnamese and 58,000 US soldiers.For years, controversy swirled around the exact details of the Tonkin incident. The official story went like this: US destroyers had been on a “routine” mission in international waters off of the coast of North Vietnam.  Then the USS Maddox was provocatively fired upon. Later, it came out that the patrol hadn’t been “routine.”  The Maddox was loaded to the gills with high-tech spy equipment and was quite possibly sailing inside North Vietnam’s territorial waters.  Furthermore, at least one sailor on board the Maddox said US destroyers fired torpedoes first.   

Later, it became known that for months, South Vietnamese vessels supplied and armed by the US/CIA had made incursions into North Vietnam’s territorial waters, dropping off saboteurs armed with explosives.  On August 1st these vessels engaged in a provocative attack that was a major escalation:  they bombarded North Vietnamese islands for the first time.(It’s hard, more than forty years later to remember that this attack was a major provocation.  This was long before the carpet-bombing of North Vietnam.) The first incident with the Maddox took place on August 2, the day after this attack, when the Maddox was patrolling close to the North Vietnam coastal islands that had just been shelled.Who was acting aggressively and provocatively?  The 34-A Ops (the CIA code name for the South Vietnamese/US boats that were attacking installations along the North Vietnamese coast)? The Maddox? Or the North Vietnamese PT boats responding to the “patrol” of the Maddox?As US/UK overflights become more aggressive in Iraq, when are US pilots going to be deliberately deployed so as to encourage a counter-attack by Iraq? What incident is going to catapult the US into war versus Iraq?

 #5 Join NION
“Not by our will and not in our name,” says a “Statement of Conscience” signed by a galaxy of prominent writers, artists, professors, and activists from Grace Paley to Noam Chomsky. The text can be read and signed at:  Demonstrations and actions are being planned by a coalition under the same name. See their site and Pledge of Resistance at:

#6 Give Yourself A Break from CBS, NBC, Fox or CNN.
Up your dosage of alternative news media.  Tune into WBAI, read the Nation, the Progressive, Mother Jones.  Give gifts of these magazines to your friends.  All have websites.  Start regularly visiting sites such as , and

Support these sites financially, even a $5.00 or $10.00 donation can help. 

#7 Favor the Letter Z
Visit Z-net at: or  Z-net is an extraordinary resource of essays and articles from the alternative press all over the world.  It regularly features articles from the Independent and the Guardian in UK, interviews with Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn and provides links to many intriguing sites.  If you want to be informed, it’s a must.

#8 Re-Read the United Nation’s Charter
The United Nation’s Charter is specifically designed to prevent unilateral acts of military aggression, such as Bush’s War against Iraq.  According to Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter, no member has the right to enforce unilaterally any resolution --unless the Security Council determines that there has been an infraction of the resolution, decides all nonmilitary types of enforcement have been exhausted and specifically authorizes the use of force.  There is one other time that the Charter allows for a member state to use force unilaterally: when the state has been attacked and must act in self-defense. 

#9 Get Creative
A smart site,, has poster designs with educational texts ready to be downloaded.  Make your selection, then print on your home printer and distribute to friends, your school, your local community center or church.  Folks at this site are very responsive to creative, politically astute ideas.  Within 24 hours of making a poster suggestion, Mina’s idea was manifested into a poster.  On a page showing Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice and friends appears the text 

Regime Change
In Washington, DC

 #10 Learn About DU (Depleted Uranium)
Get the details about this deadly material.  The Council of Europe has called for a ban on the use of depleted uranium, now used in much of the arsenal of weapons  of the US, France, China and Russia.  Check out and

The stop nato site has an excellent article by Helen Caldicott, “Medical Consequences of Depleted Uranium.”  Another informative article is Joanne Baker’s, “Weapons of Silent Mass Destruction.”  It details the 300% rise in leukemia’s and 384.2% rise in malignancies in those areas in Iraq where DU munitions were used.  Also reported are significant increases in congenital diseases and birth deformities.  Other good sources include World Information Service on Energy, also on the net at

  #11 Call Your Friends
Share some new insight or fact about the Iraq War. The amount of dis-information and lies flying out of the Bush Administration war machine is astounding.  Keep countering the bellicose propaganda with hard facts. 

For example, Bush and the media have upped their war mongering over the January 2003 discovery in Iraq of 11 empty warheads.  Discover the meaning of this finding by checking out a radio interview with Phyllis Bennis at

Also share with your friends information about Hussein’s ballistic missiles, long a favorite topic of the President’s.  Actually, according to the UN inspection team, known as UNSCOM, 817 of Iraq’s 819 Soviet-built missiles have been accounted for and destroyed.  Any other missiles Iraq has are homemade clunkers that have not been tested.  A recently revealed CIA analysis says it would take until 2015 for Iraq to develop long-range missile capacity – if the sanctions were completely lifted. For more information regarding distortions in the Bush administration’s allegations go to

  #12 Write a Letter to the New York Times
 Yes, it’s hard to get a letter published in the New York Times, but give it a try.  At the same time be sure to send letters to the editorial board.  You never know who might read or listen to your comments.   

One friend we know tired of seeing repeated references in the Times to the “100 Palestinian gunmen” holed up in the Church of Nativity and e-mailed the editorial board.  (This was in Spring, 2002 during the long siege of the Bethlehem Church.).  She pointed out that nobody actually knew how many gunmen were in the Church, but that there were also innocent civilians present.  The next reference she saw in the Times they had modified the 100 gunmen remark to an “unknown number” of gunmen.  

For letters to the editor e-mail,, for editorial page editor e-mail,, for other news articles write

 #13 Write a Letter to Your Local Newspaper
News editors are always looking for copy.  Why not provide them with some?  Besides, it’s very important to keep your local news editors informed regarding non-establishment media viewpoints on the Iraq war and other foreign and national policy issues.  Share with them information that they probably are not getting from the wire services or CNN.  Note:  Always make your letters polite, otherwise they will end up unread and -- in the trash can.

#14 Learn About Collateral Damage
The Bush Administration seems to think about 2000 people live in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein and his “henchmen.”  Actually some 5 million Iraqis live in Baghdad.  How many of these grandmothers, children, daughters, sons, fathers, infants, will die in the fires unleashed by US and UK bombs?  

A new report, Collateral Damage: the Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq, issued by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War predicts a humanitarian disaster in Iraq if there is a US attack.  The report says that in the first three months of war between 48,000 and 260,000 Iraqi civilians and combatants could die.  If nuclear weapons were used, the death toll would rise into the millions.  The projections were made on the basis of the number of casualties from the first Gulf War and the disastrously weakened medical infrastructure in Iraq.  To obtain a copy of the report go to Damage.html.

#15  Unmask Hyprocrisy
If the US hates brutal tyrants, why is it supporting brutal warlords in Afghanistan, such as Rashid Dostum, currently Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister?  This Afghani warlord’s troops have been accused of murdering large numbers of prisoners who were on the way to the Shoberhgan Prison.  The prisoners were stuffed into metal containers and died by suffocation.  The numbers vary widely with some saying 4000 died and others 800 (the estimate by the International Red Cross).  American special forces were in the area, but how much they knew about the massacre is unknown. 

In 2002, Rumsfeld can’t say enough about the evil horrors of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of Iranian soldiers.  Yet fourteen years ago, in 1984, Rumsfeld had a very different attitude about this tragedy.  That was the year that Saddam’s Hussein used mustard gas and Tabun gas against Iranian soliders.  What is interesting about the date is that, as reported by Jeremy Scahill on Z-net, Saddam was engaged in this heinous behavior at the exact moment that Rumsfeld was in Iraq to arrange for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Iraq.  Although the UN report on the use of the gas came out while Rumsfeld was in Baghdad, Rumfeld said nothing. Did the US government publicly protest this atrocity?  No!  Did Rumsfeld refuse to negotiate with Saddam?  No!  

Why? Because, at that time, just as with Dostum now, Saddam was seen as useful to the US government and therefore his atrocities went uncensored.  In fact, shortly after Rumsfeld’s visit and the gassing of the Iranians the US resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq, giving a clear signal that the US government did not object to Saddam’s use of gas. 

#16 Think About Oil
“Oiling the Wheels of War”, an article by Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security at Hampshire College, in the October 7, 2002 Nation magazine is worth a look.  After the September 11 attack with the potential for growing instability in Saudi Arabia, the US is worried about the security of Saudi Oil.  The US wants to get its hands on Iraq’s proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of oil (compared with 49 billion barrels in Russia and 15 billion in the Caspian states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.) The US also wants to cancel existing contracts between Iraq and European, Chinese and Russian oil companies. 

#17 Do Some Arithmetic

In the fall of 2002, the Bush Administration estimated the Iraq War would cost $80-100 billion.  Predictably, by winter of 2003, this estimate had ballooned to $200 billion – an estimate that does not take into account a long-term, military occupation or nation building activities.  Add Bush’s proposed enormous tax cuts and the already weak US economy is in deep trouble.

With the US government running a huge deficit, where is this money going to come from?  You got it – education and health budgets, environmental protection and National Parks’ budgets, senior citizens’ prescription monies, mass transportation, social security, and other vital programs. 

Remember, the cost of Gulf War 1 ($60 billion) was largely borne – about four/fifths -- by the US’s allies.  This time around Saudi Arabia, Japan, etc. are unlikely to be as generous.   Add to this big bite the anticipated rise of oil per barrel (it might zoom up from the current price of $30.00 to $50.00 per barrel) and some experts predict the US economy will sink into a recession.

Check out an article by Miriam Pemberton, “War Fever Weakens Ailing Economy,” in the Baltimore Sun.  Read at, the website of the Institute for Policy Studies. Pemberton is an IPS Foreign Policy Fellow.

#18 Sign the Campaign for Peace and Democracy Ad

This is the most intelligent and well-reasoned statement against the Iraq War we have found yet.  The statement signed by such luminaries as Barbara Ehrenreich, Katha Pollitt, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Daniel Ellsberg, minces no words about the vicious, dictatorial policies of the Hussein regime, but also clearly analyses the goals and likely effects of Bush’s War.  The statement says, “The US military may have the ability to destroy Saddam Hussein, but the United States cannot promote democracy in the Muslim world and peace in the Middle East, nor can it deal with the threat posed to all of us by terrorist networks such as Al Qauda, and by weapons of mass destruction, by pursuing its current policies.”  To read the whole statement and sign on go to

#19 Design and Make Your Very Own T-shirt
One we like:  

DU Spells WMD* 

*WMD is the acronym the Department of Defense uses for Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Depleted uranium is used in cruise missiles, tank penetrators and other munitions.  It explodes and burns on impact – releasing clouds of highly radioactive, toxic dust.  This dust will remain poisonous for hundreds of years. 

#20 Quote Mark Twain 
In Twain’s story the “War Prayer,” a stranger enters a church where the minister is giving an enthusiastic sermon glorifying war and the sacrifices of soldiers.  The stranger says: “O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst..” 

This story appeared in an excellent Lewis Lapham article, “The Road to Babylon: Searching for Targets in Iraq.”  Lapham details the perils of war against Iraq in the October 2002 Harper’s Magazine. 

#21 Choose a Different Credit Card
Every purchase you make with a Working Assets Card helps a variety of organizations working on behalf of the environment, civil liberties, and peace, such as Doctors Without Borders and the Ploughshares Fund. 

#22 Think Some More About Oil 
In what ways are you contributing to the oligarchy currently running our country?

How can you help to reduce oil consumption in the US?  Currently, the US consumes one-quarter of the total world’s oil consumption, with automobiles gobbling up 40% of the US total of 19.3 million barrels of oil per day.  Read Ending the Oil Age: A Plan to Kick the Saudi Habit, by energy expert Charles Komanoff.  Komanoff explains how minor adjustments in our energy consumption habits can reduce our oil use by 5% virtually overnight.  This reduction would equal 65% of our imports from Saudi Arabia.  His report is available at A reduction of oil use will also help reduce global warming. 

 #23 Attend a Teach-in
There’s nothing like being informed to counter the almost ubiquitous propaganda of war.   During the Bush 1 build-up to the First Gulf War one of the most emotionally wrenching stories perpetrated was that of an articulate young Kuwaiti woman: she had seen Iraqi soldiers yanking premature babies out of their incubators.  Every TV station repeated the story without a qualm.  It subsequently turned out that the young woman was the daughter of the Kuwait Ambassador to the US and had not been in Iraq for months.  What lies is Bush 2 perpetrating now? 

#24 Ask Yourself --  How Safe Are Our Freedoms?
Read-up on the threat to the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the US Constitution) posed by the US Patriot Act.  Basic rights such as freedom of speech and political associations, the right to a fair trial, habeus corpus, confidentiality between lawyers and accused parties, protection from warrant less search, and many other basic constitutional rights are at risk. 

Check out Nancy Chang’s Silencing Political Dissent for a clear review of the new threats to our freedoms, then let your representatives know you want this dangerous act amended. Available at local bookstores and on the web at 

 #25 Share These Suggestions With a Friend 

Mina Hamilton’s articles have been published in the Nation, the Progressive, In These Times, the Village Voice and Mother Jones.  She first marched against the Vietnam War in 1965.  Subsequently, she became an organizer for the Committee on the Professions Against the Vietnam War.  She was a leader in the successful battle to stop the US Army Corps of Engineer’s Tocks Island Dam, which would have flooded 30 miles of the Delaware River.  She was the Co-Director and then Director of the Sierra Club Radioactive Waste Campaign, a campaign to expose the hazards of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons factories.  She currently is a Research Associate at Radioactive Waste Management Associates.  Mina relaxes by teaching yoga.