- Silent Peace Vigils on
Friday Afternoons 5 - 5:30pm
- Rain or Shine, let
your silence be heard!
- Pro-peace or Anti-war
messages only, please.
- No personal nor
- Join those who share
your concerns and take a stand for your
- Signs are provided.
- Meet across the
the Post Office on College Street in Macon, Georgia
Peace (relative peace) in Iraq is not due to any "Surge"
The war is not over, over there
a remarkable and rare display of both caution and good sense, no one in
the Bush administration has begun doing victory laps over the good news
numbers of American troops and Iraqi
civilians dying there have fallen sharply in the last six months. So
have the number of roadside bombs going off and suicide car bombs
detonating. Anbar province is, at last and at the moment, relatively
Muslim jihadists of al-Qaida in Iraq seem to
be either in retreat or on a retreat, licking their wounds and
rethinking their strategy. Better yet, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr's murderous Mahdi Army militia has largely stood down as he
ordered it to last August.
Baghdad, some neighborhoods have
cautiously come back to life; open-air markets are again thronged with
shoppers who for so long had cowered inside their homes out of fear of
death squads and suicide bombers.
fraction - 20,000 or so
- of the 2 million Iraqis who've fled from the terror across the
borders to Syria and Jordan have begun to trickle home. Some forced by
Syria's hardening attitude toward Iraqi refugees; others tempted by the
good news from home.
of this is good news; all of this is welcome news.
everyone from our military commanders in Iraq to Defense Secretary
Robert Gates to the White House and its denizens is being very careful
to avoid premature celebration, and rightly so. Even Vice President
Dick Cheney has avoided making any pronouncements about the insurgents
being in their death throes.
be easy - and wrong - to
claim that the temporary surge of an additional 30,000 American troops
is entirely responsible for the scaling back of violence and civil war
in Iraq. Beefing up our forces has helped. What's helped even more was
a change of American tactics and strategy in Iraq that was four years
overdue and coincided with the arrival of Gen. David Petraeus as the
new U.S. commander.
truth is that much of this reduction
in violence is, like the violence itself, entirely homegrown and thus
resistant to the analysis and understanding of foreigners.
don't know why Sadr stood down his murdering militiamen for six months
beginning last August or why, this week, he sent signals that he may
extend the truce. What we do know is that his militia was, at the
height of the killing, responsible for more than 60 percent of American
combat deaths in Iraq.
that Anbar province almost
overnight has ceased to be a killing field for American Marines because
the local tribal sheiks had had enough of the jihadists they'd
sheltered. When the jihadists began killing the sheikhs themselves and
imposing their idea of Islamic law - cutting off the heads of barbers,
bootleggers and women not sufficiently subservient - they crossed the
easy enough for the sheikhs to begin dropping the dime to the American
forces on the jihadists.
important, the sheikhs decided to stop their own Sunni insurgency and
stop killing Americans.
balked at participating in the Iraqi central government and army and
police, which are almost entirely Shiite. That didn't bode well for the
day when the Americans would leave and the night of the Shiite long
knives would arrive, so the Sunnis began sending their sons to attempt
to join the army and police. When the government turned them away, the
sheikhs signed up to fight with the Americans for $300 a month, a rifle
and some training.
has been applied successfully in
once-rebellious towns and communities elsewhere, to the dismay and
opposition of the U.S.-backed Shiite central government.
review the bidding. The key decisions that have led to the reduction in
the slaughter weren't made by us or by what passes for a national
government in Baghdad. They were made by some of the people - both
Sunni and Shiite - who were killing American troops just six months ago.
would appear that all politics are local, and all Iraqi politics are
impenetrable, byzantine and beyond the understanding of foreigners.
also would appear that the prospects that the national government of
Iraq will do anything to meet Washington's benchmarks for progress
toward national reconciliation - the reason why the troop surge was
mounted in the first place - remain slim to none.
reason aplenty for our leaders and commanders to avoid any victory
parades, "Mission Accomplished" banners or "last throes" pronouncements
and instead wait silently for the next shoe to drop. If only President
Bush had known that Iraq was harder than algebra back in 2003, maybe we
could have avoided the whole thing.
Galloway is a military columnist for McClatchy
Newspapers. Readers may write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas
The United States Institute of Peace (usip.org)
is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and
funded by Congress.
Shoot (Iraq) first, then ask questions...
Reasoning is flawed
I would like to
dispute the reasoning of Rinda Wilson on President Bush's ideology of
when to go to war and when not to.
a veteran of foreign wars, have the same mentality of some level-headed
Republicans and Democrats, ex-veterans of foreign wars also, who spent
years on national defense committees including the last president (a
draft dodger) whom I respect because his policy was simply to trust
after you verify. (Simple enough.)
Some members of the
committee include Sen. John Warner, a Republican from Virginia, (gone
after this term), Sen. Chuck Hagle, a Republican from Nebraska (gone
after this term), Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and
on and on who had the same mentality.
is like that of an 18th-and-19th-century cow poke when some of his
cattle were stolen (shoot first and ask questions later).
obviously lacks credibility in the 20th and 21st century. Ask Tony
Blair what this mentality cost him.
I notice Ms. Wilson
kept calling him a certain unspeakable name, but I have a problem using
any other name.
the two executive members in the White House leave to go back to their
western states, I hope to sing "happy trails to you and hoping we never
R. F. Richardson
Posted on Sun, Dec. 23, 2007
The scars of torture
who oppose the war in Iraq, as I do, aren't the ones wringing our hands
over whether waterboarding is torture. We know it is. History, the Army
field manual and past actions by our very own federal government and
many others have long documented that it is. We tried and convicted
Japanese after WWII for waterboarding.
The scars from such
torture aren't always visible. In fact, I would proffer that the very
worst scars are those which are not visable. I remember the WWII
veteran from Fort Deposit, Ala., featured in Ken Burns' "The War"
series shown recently on PBS. In the very last segment, discussing his
return and adjustment to civilian life, he talked of his inability to
sleep because of nightmares and his overriding hatred for his Japanese
captors and of how he knew he had to find a way to get past all that in
an era when going to see a psychiatrist pretty much rendered a person
Those in the administration and those who support
it are the ones doing the handwringing and twisting themselves into
pretzels trying to make a case for "maybe it is and maybe it isn't,"
because to admit that waterboarding is torture is to condone torture
The very fact that such illogical arguments are being
provided an ongoing public platform is, in my mind, a testament to how
out-of-whack the national discourse has become in the last seven-plus
years. Before the end of 2008 we may very well be arguing about whether
up is indeed up, and down is down. If the laws of the land are no
longer the law, then who's to say that the laws of physics aren't also
Posted on Tue, Dec. 18, 2007
Freedom of speech
writer from Macon whose letter was published Dec. 9 stating Democrats
should shut up until the 2008 election, is forgetting that we still
have freedom of speech as one of the rights under what's left o the
Constitution after the Bush administration continues to re-write it to
suit their every whim in their rush to out-Nixon Nixon. Nixon's was the
most corrupt administration in this country's history.
I am not afraid to point out the obstinate stupidity
Bush expresses every day of his life.
uncalled for war is one of the biggest blunders imaginable. While he's
wasting billions in Iraq, they're kicking people out of temporary
housing in New Orleans.
There are so many things that have gone
wrong with this country since the corruption in the Florida election
that put Bush in office, it boggles the mind!
newspapers, listen to NPR, watch the news on TV, other than Fox, and
you will get an over-all picture of what's going on.
not without blame. It was afraid of being called unpatriotic for not
going along with Bush's actions. Now, it's OK to torture people until
they say whatever Bush wants to hear. Now, Bush has Gates in his pocket
as well on the Iran issue.
Posted on Sun, Dec. 16, 2007
... about Truth"
Posted on Thu, Dec. 13,
We wonder, we
wonder, we wonder. . .
Telegraph's recent editorial about the tarnished image of some of our
national political leaders struck a raw nerve. Maybe we should have a
national day or mourning for their violations of some of our most
We have signed the U.N. Charter and the Geneva
Conventions, both of which we have recently violated. We wonder how
many of us realize that foreign treaties which we have signed have the
same power as the U.S. Constitution legally. Any violation of an
international treaty by us is also a violation of our Constitution.
in the last few years many of our national political leaders have acted
as if they have no respect for foreign treaties or the U.S.
Neither have they respected the principles
established by the Nuremberg war crimes trials held after World War II.
By these trials Nazis were imprisoned and put to death for violations
of the Geneva Conventions. Yet we now violate these Conventions as
though we have forgotten that the United States was instrumental in
helping carry out the Nuremberg trials.
Probably the most serious
recent violation of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Charter is the
participation in the Iraq war by the United States. Both these
documents forbid the invasion of any nation by another nation unless
the invaded nation is a military threat to the invading nation. Iraq
was not a military threat to the United States.
There are those
who argue that President Bush and many of our members of Congress
thought Iraq was a military threat to the United States at the time we
started the war. Perhaps that is true. However, they know now that Iraq
is no military threat to the United States, and all evidence suggests
that it never has been.
We wonder if any of our generals knew
Iraq had no missiles that would shoot more than 200 miles, and that
Iraq had no known way of delivering nuclear missiles to the United
States. We also wonder why President Bush continued to claim that Iran
threatened to make nuclear weapons for several weeks after the National
Intelligence Estimate announced that such activity had stopped in 2003.
Needless to say, all such estimates are never a certainty. But we
wonder if President Bush thinks he has better intelligence estimates
than individuals who spend their lives studying intelligence.
wonder how long a war will go on which was started for a false reason.
We wonder if we are morally bound to support such a war. We wonder
whether the future of the United States will involve one false war
after another indefinitely.
We wonder if we will be in a war in
which weapons of mass destruction are used, and what the Earth will be
like after such a war. We wonder whether making false accusations
against other nations regarding the intended use of weapons of mass
destructions serves the best interest of us or anyone else.
Sam Marshall is a resident of Milledgevlle.
War a lucrative
engagements, aka "war," is the most lucrative business known to humans.
A very few people, many of them politicians that accept bribes from
companies that operate war profiteering enterprises, make obscene
amounts of money. These few that make this money only do so because of
the death, displacement or maiming for life of millions of others.
us send these "war" profiteers and politicians, who enable these
profiteers, to these combat zones after we pull the troops out. This
would be the perfect example of supporting the troops, taking them out
of harm's way while at the same time giving politicians and profiteers
a chance to show their "loyalty" to America and their "support" of the
Also a request, especially to the news media: Stop
calling this illegal military invasion of Iraq a "war." Describe this
political decision for what it is, an illegal military invasion and
occupation decided by corrupt politicians energized by greed. The last
war America was involved in ended in 1945.
Support the troops, not greedy politicians and "war"
Posted on Mon, Dec. 10, 2007
Posted on Fri, Nov. 23, 2007
SOA protesters neither ignorant nor stupid
to Sloan Oliver's opinion, the annual protesters of the School of the
Americas (that trains Latin American soldiers) at Fort Benning, are far
from ignorant or stupid. They are led by dozens of ordained clergy of
many denominations, religious sisters, military veterans, and many
other educated, patriotic Americans who hold our government and our
military to high moral standards.
Oliver naively believes our
military would never do wrong; while it is to be honored for its
service, military personnel sometimes do bad things, such as at Abu
Ghraib prison in Iraq were they humiliated and tortured foreign
At SOA/WHISC, the Army has admitted that the military
training manuals did include tactics such as torture. Only within the
last 10 years did the Army revise these teaching manuals. Too late for
the four American religious women murdered in 1980 in Central America
by graduates of SOA. Too late for Archbishop Oscar Romero, shot at the
altar in church by SOA graduates. Too late for six Jesuit priests,
their housekeeper and her daughter, at the University in San Salvador,
attacked at home in the middle of the night and murdered by SOA
None of these victims was armed or a military threat
to the dictators in government. The fact is that a large percentage of
the graduates of SOA/WHISC have been identified in murders and
human-rights violations when they returned home to Latin America.
Unless Latin leaders sent only military thugs to be trained at
SOA/WHISC, the percentage of those who returned south to bully and kill
anti-government citizens is quite telling.
Why is our government
in the business of training Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning? In
the interests of our "national security?" If that is the reason, then
for many decades our national security has depended on U.S. support of
dictators, fascists and military coups of democratically elected
leaders. And we preach to the world, so self righteously, how the U.S.
is the champion of human rights.
David B. Connor is a resident of Macon.
Posted on Wed, Nov. 21,
Oliver's assertion that the U.S. Army School of the Americas did not
teach torture is simply untrue. In the past, the SOA has been accused
of training members of governments guilty of serious human rights
abuses and of advocating techniques that violate accepted international
standards, particularly the Geneva Conventions.
In 1996, the
Pentagon admitted torture, execution, false imprisonment, extortion and
other techniques were included in training manuals used at the SOA and
by mobile training units in Latin America until 1991. This admission
triggered an investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general.
his final report, the inspector general said "mistakes" led to the
inclusion of "objectionable" information in manuals used to train Latin
American soldiers and officers at Fort Benning.
This was one
reason the SOA lost it's legal authorization in 2001 and the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation was established. The new
curriculum does offer optional human rights training.
It seems to
me protesting the use of torture is isn't really a liberal or
Democratic issue. Perhaps it's the Christian, and more important, the
moral thing to do.
Posted on Sun, Nov. 18,
How could this be?
incident in Iraq involving the private security firm Blackwater USA was
yanked from public scrutiny faster than a speeding politician going
through the construction area around Hartley Bridge here in the good
ol' USA. Why was a private security firm providing security for any
member of our armed forces? Am I stupid? The logic behind this stinks
to the highest level.
Ask your congressman or senator a few
questions the next time he or she dares show their face back home. How
much of the $50 or so billion currently under consideration
by Congress is earmarked for "private security"? This amount is bound
to go up faster than a Saturn rocket and the public outcry should make
an atomic bomb look like a firecracker.
Private security for our military "heroes."
January 14, 1940 -
Last week our
community lost a real treasure with the passing
of Ron Richards. Ron was a gentle soul who touched the lives of all
those around him with kindness and love.
On a cold,
blustery afternoon in late February 2003, Ron stood at the
corner of Pio Nono and Vineville avenues holding aloft a sign
protesting America's imminent invasion of Iraq. Some of the drivers
passing by gave Ron a thumbs-up or honked their horns, while many
others made obscene gestures toward him.
Last Friday, the
weekly gathering to protest the war drew a much larger
crowd than would have been possible four years ago. Those who honked in
solidarity with the demonstrators far outnumbered those who directed
obscene gestures. It seems that many have finally realized what Ron
tried to tell us years four ago: That the invasion of Iraq was a tragic
mistake, a fiasco of the first order, an immoral waste of human life
and valuable resources, and a testimony to national arrogance and
We will miss you,
Ron, but we will always remember the example you set
for us, and we will try to keep faith.
Posted on Fri, Oct. 19, 2007
Georgians for "Bringing
Them Home" - Now!...
The job of a Citizen is to Speak-Out (Mouths Wide Open)
- Please join us -
THIRD FRIDAY of every month
weekends. Dec. 21-23; Jan. 18-20.
Sisters Lee A. Johnson
of Macon, left, and Peggy Johnson, a Navy veteran of Lexington Okla.
attend a peace rally at the Pentagon in Washington, DC