It is better to "... talk, talk, talk ..." for 10,000 years, than to waste even One Life for an Unjust and Unnecessary War.
Peace Vigils    United for Peace and Justice  Impeachment Organizations  
Happy New Year - Let there be Peace on Earth 

Peace in December 2007
  - 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 political bashing.
- Join those who share your concerns and take a stand for your convictions. 
- Signs are provided.
Meet across the street from the Post Office on College Street in Macon, Georgia

  Iraq and Climate Change 
What does the Iraq War have to do with Climate Change? (here)  

Peace (relative peace) in Iraq is not due to any "Surge": 

The war is not over, over there

In 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 from Iraq.

Yes, the 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 peaceful.

The Sunni 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.

In 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.

A small 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.

All of this is good news; all of this is welcome news.

But 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.

It would 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.

But the 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.

We 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.

We know 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 line.

It was easy enough for the sheikhs to begin dropping the dime to the American forces on the jihadists.

More important, the sheikhs decided to stop their own Sunni insurgency and stop killing Americans.

They'd 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.

That model has been applied successfully in once-rebellious towns and communities elsewhere, to the dismay and opposition of the U.S.-backed Shiite central government.

So let's 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.

It would appear that all politics are local, and all Iraqi politics are impenetrable, byzantine and beyond the understanding of foreigners.

It 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.

So there's 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.

Joseph L. Galloway is a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. Readers may write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas 78340. 

  The United States Institute of Peace ( 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.

I, 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 defense 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.

President Bush's 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).

This mentality 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.

When 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 meet again."

R. F. Richardson
Posted on Sun, Dec. 23, 2007

The scars of torture

Those 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 unemployable.

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 itself.

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 mutable?

Donna Williams
Posted on Tue, Dec. 18, 2007

Freedom of speech

The 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.

Bush's 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!

Read the 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.

Congress is 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.

Christopher Huttoe
Posted on Sun, Dec. 16, 2007

 "Wondering ... about Truth"
Posted on Thu, Dec. 13, 2007

We wonder, we wonder, we wonder. . .

The 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 sacred values.

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.

Yet 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. Constitution.

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.

We 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 business

Military 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.

Let 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 troops.

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" profiteers.

Jon Phillips
Warner Robins
Posted on Mon, Dec. 10, 2007
Posted on Fri, Nov. 23, 2007

SOA protesters neither ignorant nor stupid

Contrary 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 prisoners.

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 graduates.

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, 2007

Simply untrue

Sloan 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.

In 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.

John Planchon
Warner Robins

Posted on Sun, Nov. 18, 2007

How could this be?

The 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."


Ken Brown

Ron Richards
January 14, 1940 -  October 05, 2007

Setting an example

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 vanity.

We will miss you, Ron, but we will always remember the example you set for us, and we will try to keep faith.

Randy Harshbarger

Posted on Fri, Oct. 19, 2007

Georgians for "Bringing Them Home" - Now!...
The job of a Citizen is to Speak-Out (Mouths Wide Open)
Peace Storm over Macon 9-14-07

 - Please join us -

The THIRD FRIDAY of every month 


Moratorium weekends. Dec. 21-23; Jan. 18-20. 

Lee and Peggy
Sisters Lee A. Johnson of Macon, left, and Peggy Johnson, a Navy veteran of Lexington Okla. right,
 attend a peace rally at the Pentagon in Washington, DC


Military members join the movement ---
 Appeal For Redress .org

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APRIL 25, 2007: "Buying the War"

Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.

Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.

The American number of troops killed in Iraq now exceeds the number of victims on 9/11. We have been fighting there longer than it took us to defeat the Nazis in World War II. The costs of the war are reckoned at one trillion dollars and counting. The number of Iraqis killed -- over thirty-five thousand last year alone-- is hard to pin down. The country is in chaos...

 Read the entire transcript:


"The Big Lie" 
Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007

Continuing 'The Big Lie'

There have been four new TV political ads airing for a little more than a week across the U.S. that use wounded veterans or relatives of slain soldiers to explain what a tragedy it would be for Congress "for political reasons" to withdraw from the war in Iraq.

These are part of a $15 million, privately supported effort by a group of powerful Republicans who have strong ties to President Bush. It is the latest effort to shore up crumbling support in Congress for a war that has fallen out of favor with more than 70 percent of Americans.

These 30-second spots are being broadcast in 20 selected states and in more than five dozen congressional districts, preceding the report Gen. David Petraeus is to give to Congress concerning the success or failure of the U.S. surge effort in Iraq.

The campaign is spearheaded by Freedoms Watch, (online, Freedoms whose spokesman, according to The New York Times, is Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President Bush and a member of the group's board.

Fleischer told The Times particular states were targeted because "Anyone who is considering switching their vote is somebody we care about."

And McClatchy newspapers reported that Freedoms Watch president, Bradley A. Blakeman, is a former senior assistant to President Bush. He says the mission "is to get out the message that surrender is not an option in Iraq - to stiffen the back of Congress to do the right thing and not to switch votes for political reasons."

Lucky us, Georgia is one of the states that the President's Men feel members of Congress need that extra spinal support to keep the war humming.

While one might disagree with the sentiment in the ads because they are deceptive in the way they are presented, everyone has a right to lobby for political causes, even bad ones. It would be nice, however, if the campaign were based on truth.

That's not the case here. These ads are disingenuous; three of the four TV spots are based on a continuation of The Big Lie, that there really is a connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attack by Islamic terrorists.

Well I'm sorry, but that just isn't so, and anybody capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time should know this by now.

There is absolutely no evidence that Saddam Hussein, a genuinely nasty piece of work, played any role in 9/11. When America unleashed its "shock and awe" attack on Iraq, it didn't target the Saudi Arabians who co-opted our jetliners and used them as flying bombs.

The U.S. went to war with Iraq supposedly to unseat Saddam because Mr. Bush and Congress mistakenly thought Iraq had those infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction and was a threat to the United States.

But here's the storyline of the first ad broadcast; the others follow the general tone. A injured veteran, in a home-like setting, says:

"Congress was right to vote to fight terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. I re-enlisted after 9/11 because I don't want my sons to see what I saw.

"I want to be free and safe. I know what I have lost.

"I also know that if we pull out now everything that I've given up and sacrificed will mean nothing.

"They attacked us, and they will again. They won't stop with Iraq.

"We are winning on the ground, and we are making real progress. It's no time to quit.

"It's no time for politics."

The ad shows the twin towers of the world trade center with smoke billowing from gaping holes where the airliners hit.

A later ad has a mother of a veteran who tell us that "we've already had one 9/11, we don't need another one."

These ads are slick - and sick. They make their point through deception while twisting reality. Incidentally, the phone number the ads give to call your congressional representative - 1-877-222-8001 - isn't Congress. It's a number at Freedoms Watch, and they are only looking for messages of support.

To call Congress direct, to give whatever message you might wish, the Senate's number is (202) 225-3121 and the House is (202) 225-3121.

Phil Dodson can be reached at 744-4239 or at

  Christian vigils:  

Jews, Christians, Moslems :
Old Testament links US All under One Law

Moses brought new laws and new regulations for his people. Moses (peace be upon him) not only gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, but a very comprehensive ceremonial law for the guidance of his people.

As regards to Jesus (peace be upon him) he took a strong stand to assure the Jews that he had not come with a new religion or new regulations different from what Moses brought to the world. Jesus was quoted in the gospel of Matthew 5:17-18 saying "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Mohammad (peace be upon him) took the pains to assure what Jesus had assured before him to the world. Mohammad also came to fulfill not to deny or destroy what Moses had established and what Jesus confirmed.

You can read in the Holy Quran chapter 2 verse 62 "Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish scriptures and the Christians and the Sabians, and any who believe in God and the last day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

Muslims have been warned many times in the Quran not to discriminate against any previous laws or scriptures that were revealed upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus and all must be believed in and must be admitted throughout Muslim behavior. The Quran stated in chapter 2, verse 136 "Say you: We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them, and we bow to God in peace."

That is why there has never been quoted any statement by a Muslim against the person of Abraham, Moses or Jesus. It always has and always will be, one law and one message from the Lord of Universe to the mankind.

Ahmed Yousef is a resident of Macon.
Posted on Mon, Apr. 02, 2007         The United States Social Forum    Louise's Peace Flags
contact: Lindsay D Holliday   @   478-746-5695  E-Mail 

   30 Minutes of Silence Can Say a Lot!