Accomplices to War (Oct 1, 2006)
You cannot simultaneously stop
and support war, to paraphrase Albert Einstein.
Four years ago I was preparing
for my first visit to Iraq with the Christian
Peacemaker Teams to learn what that country
was like, whether it was a threat, and if war
could be prevented.
During my month-long trip I met
with doctors and parents, teachers and businessmen,
leaders of various religious groups, U.N. inspectors
and artists, Baathist bosses and the underground.
I traveled throughout Iraq visiting cities large
and small, eating in Iraqi homes, worshipping
in their churches and mosques.
On returning home, warnings of
disaster seemed to fall on deaf ears.
As founder of Texans for Peace
I challenged my elected leaders to go to Iraq
and learn about that country before committing
the sons and daughters of Texas to die on the
sands of battle. I went to Washington peddling
peace down the same House corridors where I
once worked alongside Bob Eckhardt (D-Houston),
but to no avail.
Most members of Congress were
too afraid to speak out and acquiesced while
President Bush plunged America into another
ill-fated war. My second trip to Iraq happened
to coincide with his "Thanksgiving"
The war was only months old but
it was already clear that mismanagement had
turned the people of Iraq against the occupation.
The economy and infrastructure was unraveling
and reports of abuse were coming out of Abu
Ghraib prison and villages I visited near Ramadi.
After this trip I was contacted
by the staff of General Peter Chiarelli, then
commander of the army's 1st Cavalry Division
and now second in command in Iraq. His soldiers
were preparing for their first tour of Iraq
and needed advice on economic development. I
helped prepare a plan that included "quick
start" activities to create jobs and build
an economic base as peaceful measures.
However, I was still unable to
get a satisfactory response from Congress about
any sensible plan for Iraq.
Last September I once again visited
Iraq and was able to compare the effects of
so-called reconstruction. I toured the Baghdad
power plant, an oil refinery, businesses and
the City morgue. I also watched Rita on television
as the hurricane barreled towards my family
in East Texas while listening as Iraqis compared
their devastation to a "Hurricane-George
As always, I met with Iraqis from
all walks of life (I'm now an "enemy combatant"
since I also met with Muqtada al-Sadr at his
offices) while traveling from town to town.
Victims of war and destruction were everywhere.
Meanwhile the politicians cum
pundits have done little since then except argue
as the death toll rises month-after-month.
Last week, ignoring the obvious
disaster that is Iraq, Congress passed the 2006-07
Defense appropriation by a vote of 494 to 22
which includes funding for another year of war
in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date they have spent
$507 Billion on Rumsfeld's "cakewalk"
and thousands more Iraqis and Americans will
Three and one-half years after
the first invasion, 18,500 soldiers left Killeen
for Baghdad again this week. There's no peace
The President likes to say, "You're
either with us, or against us" when referring
to the war. He's right. And all but two members
of the Texas congressional delegation, Sheila
Jackson Lee (D-Houston) and Ron Paul (R-Lake
Jackson), are apparently on his side.
Congress continues to vote for
war, and is therefore its accomplice. For, while
the President may command the military, it is
Congress alone that funds war-making.
Peace won't come with these poltroons
Jackson, is a sixth-generation Texas bid'nessman
and founder of Texans for Peace www.texansforpeace.org