US peace activists, leftists oppose Iran war

January 10, 2020
Anti-war protest in Los Angeles on January 6. Photo: ANSWER Coalition.

Former veterans, labour organisations and leftists in the United States have come out against a US war on Iran. Anti-war rallies will be taking place across the US and Canada on January 25, as part of a global day of action.

Following the US rocket attack that killed high ranking Iranian military leader Qassem Solemeini on January 3, Vince Emanuele, a former US marine who served in Iraq and is now a peace activist posted on social media: “The US just assassinated one of the most powerful military leaders in Iran and undoubtedly prolonged and escalated ongoing military conflicts in the region.

“The blowback from Trump’s decision will be hard to measure over the short term.

“Without question, the prospects for peace became a bit more grim tonight.

“Right now, Democrats and Republicans are debating the details of the air strike, but virtually no one will raise the fundamental question of whether or not the US has the right to bomb any nation.

“The world needs more cooperation and international solidarity if we hope to stop climate change and survive the century.

“Actions like this kill those prospects.”

Democratic socialist and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders wrote: “When I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002, I feared it would lead to greater destabilisation of the country and the region. Today, 17 years later, that fear has unfortunately turned out to be true.

“Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.

“Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”

Sanders’ unequivocal response contrasts with other Democratic presidential nominees, including Joe Biden, who wrote: “No American will mourn Qassem Soleimani’s passing. He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region.”

Biden then qualified that with, “None of that negates the fact that this is a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region. The Administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attacks by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect.”

Democratic congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) tweeted on January 6: “The Trump admin[istration] has been chomping at the bit to pursue conflict with Iran for months. We must act now to save lives, protect the innocent, and limit the immense damage that has been done. War isn’t ‘smart’ — it’s barbaric.”

In response to Trump’s threat on Twitter on January 5 to bomb “52 Iranian sites”, including destroying sites of cultural significance, AOC responded: “Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children — which is what you’re doing by targeting cultural sites — does not make you a ‘tough guy’. It does not make you ‘strategic’. It makes you a monster.”

Democratic congressperson Ilhan Omar tweeted: “The President of the United States is threatening to commit war crimes on Twitter. God help us all!” Omar also labelled Trump as "both an arsonist and a fireman", for taking credit for solving a crisis that he created.

Peace group US Labor Against War (USLAW) said:After two decades of disaster in Iraq and recklessly cancelling the Iranian nuclear deal, the US billionaires, [the] Trump administration and Pentagon want to drive us into a war with Iran to continue the unending occupation in Iraq.

“US Labor Against the War stands with the workers of Iran and Iraq, who will be the main casualties of this madness.

“We call for the immediate, unconditional withdrawal from Iraq and no catastrophic war with Iran.”

Code Pink, a US peace group said: “Bolton and Pompeo have ripped the same failed tactics from the Iraq playbook. If unchecked, this administration will lead us to military confrontation with Iran.”

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) issued a statement on January 3 opposing US threats against Iran, and called on their members to mobilise across the country against a “catastrophic” US war against Iran.

“US wars in the Middle East have left a bloody legacy, killing over a million people,” DSA said. “This new conflict would endanger the lives of millions of Iranians, Iraqis, and others throughout the Middle East, potentially creating a near continuous war zone from Lebanon to Afghanistan.

“As internationalists we stand in solidarity with the people of the Middle East, from the streets of Baghdad to Beirut, in their struggles for liberation and against the scourge of war.

“As Democratic Socialists, we reject further war, imperialism and militarism by our government. We oppose a war against Iran, call for the lifting of sanctions, the rejoining of the Iran Nuclear deal, and the removal of US troops from Iraq.”

US Socialist group Solidarity said: “Since he came to office, Trump has plotted to pull the US government out of the nuclear agreement signed by several European countries and Iran. Following that he has imposed sanctions that have made the average Iranian civilian’s life much more difficult.

“Given that a quarter of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, on Iran’s shore, US military manoeuvres there also inflamed tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“Solidarity opposes a US war with Iran and sees the assassination followed by ordering thousands of US troops to the region as war preparation. Washington should be withdrawing troops from the Middle East, not putting more troops in harm’s way.”

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