As we begin 2007, the biggest news story in the United States continues to be the illegal, immoral and unconstitutional War in Iraq.
The New Year saw the U.S. military death toll climb to over 3,000. Over 23,000 Americans have been physically injured. Information regarding emotional and psychological trauma is simply not available.
The Iraqi civilian death toll is over 14,000, with some estimates as high as 24,000 dead. Well over 100,000 civilians have been horribly wounded and mutilated.
Most of that death and destruction occurred after May 1 of 2005, when George W. Bush gloated “Mission accomplished.” At that time he assured Americans that major combat operations in Iraq were over.
The financial cost of this tragedy is staggering. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the Iraq war is costing U.S. taxpayers almost $2 billion every single week.
The total cost of the military operations since 2001 -- including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- will soon top half a trillion dollars; $379 billion has already been spent on operations in Iraq; $97 billion has been spent on Afghanistan operations.
Notwithstanding lies regarding non-existent weapons of mass destruction, it is clear to everyone that this war is now -- and always was -- about controlling Iraq oil supplies. Even the Iraq Study Group (co-chaired by Republican James Baker) admits it is all about oil.
It is small wonder that according to the latest polls, 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq.
Even though the November congressional elections were a clear and obvious repudiation of the Bush administration and his failed policies, our federal government is (so far) unwilling to respond to the clear desire of the American people to end the carnage.
It is against this backdrop that Humboldt County will host a series of talks and book signings next week by Antonia Juhasz, one of America's premier public intellectuals and an expert on international trade and economic policy.
Antonia cuts right to the heart of the matter in Iraq by outlining how corporate globalization (disguised as “free trade) is driving U.S. policy. She describes the War in Iraq as “a military invasion and economic colonization.”
Her latest book is titled “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time”. She uses the words and actions of the Bush administration and his corporate cronies to present a clear and compelling analysis of the real goals and strategies they have for Iraq, the Middle East region, and the world.
Happily, Antonia also outlines several specific strategies for what ordinary citizens can do to move our country away from the war and empire and towards peace and diplomacy.
On Sunday, Jan. 7, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. she will be in Arcata at locally owned and operated Northtown books, located at 957 H St. Later that same evening she will appear at the Humboldt County Labor Temple from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., located at 840 E St. (at the corner of Ninth Street) in Eureka.
On Monday, Jan. 8, she will be in Westhaven from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Westhaven Center for the Arts, located at 501 Westhaven Drive.
All of her talks are free, sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Democracy Unlimited, the local Chapter of Veterans for Peace, and the Green Party of Humboldt County.
For more details, call local Green Party Chairperson Dana Silvernale at 668-1694.
So if you want this war madness to end, and you are wondering what you can actually do here in Humboldt County to make that happen, I am extending a personal invitation for you to join me at these events.
Remember that ordinary people forced an end to the war in Vietnam. We can do it again. We must do it again.
History is clear. When the people lead, the leaders will follow.
David Cobb was the Green Party candidate for President in 2004 and currently works for Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org