By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) – Although President Barack Obama has ended the Iraq War and plans to pull 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, anti-war protests and rallies are growing stronger, not fading, and for good reason, peace activists say.
“We don’t want to see anymore people dying,” said John Parker of the International Action Center L.A., during a February protest at the federal building in Los Angeles.
‘Some 30,000 to 50,000 African people died in the war against Libya. The toll in Iraq was 500,000 dead from sanctions alone with more than a million killed in the war and the numbers are still out on Afghanistan. And none of it has to do with safety in either place.’
—John Parker, International Action Center L.A.
The protest was sponsored by the International Action Center L.A. and was a part of a national day of protests held in 80 cities across the U.S. and six countries. The A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition also held a March and rally in Los Angeles earlier that day and across the country to say hands off Iran and no to war.
“Some 30,000 to 50,000 African people died in the war against Libya. The toll in Iraq was 500,000 dead from sanctions alone with more than a million killed in the war and the numbers are still out on Afghanistan. And none of it has to do with safety in either place,” Mr. Parker said.
He said the anti-war drum beats are growing because Western society’s incessant thirst for oil and world domination has its sights on Iran, which has the second largest oil reserve in the world.
Activists argue the U.S. is cutting back on things like education and health care to try to make profits because of the global economic crisis, and is willing to put profits above the needs of people any time. “But we know the effects of war, how as (Dr. Martin Luther) King said the bombs will drop as poverty, as cutbacks and all these things that are threatening the lives of our children, unless people stop them,” Mr. Parker said.
According to the National Priorities Project, war has cost the U.S. more than $1.38 trillion since 2001. The Iraq War alone cost more than $807.4 billion and the Afghanistan War costs more than $570.9 billion.
The project studies the direct costs of war and the amount appropriated by Congress to date. Other higher estimates of the wars exist but the National Priorities Project believes its numbers are more accurate because they include what’s actually billed to U.S. taxpayers rather than future projections, a spokesperson said.
For instance, the project indicates on its website, $111.1 billion allocated for the Afghan war in 2012 could pay for 51.1 million annual energy costs for households for one year, low-income healthcare for 56.9 million children in one year, a year’s worth of groceries for 53.1 million individuals, or 14.1 million university scholarships.
Activists protest because it’s morally unconscionable to kill people, particularly civilians and the outgrowth of the Occupy Movement is a good time to get that message out, said Angela Keaton, of Antiwar.com.
“It would absolutely crush our economy. If mass murder doesn’t reach people, if I can’t touch people there, why can’t I just tell people this will really be bad for our economy that’s already in tatters, judging by all of the Occupiers and the 99 Percenters out there,” Ms. Keaton said.
She urged ordinary Americans listening to the news to be more critical and avoid the propaganda. “We’re clear that going to war with Iran would be the absolute worst thing for our country and we absolutely must stand up now before it gets out of control as it did with Iraq. It’s no wars, no interventions, no assassinations,” she continued.
Reza Pour of the Union of Progressive Iranians thanked demonstrators for standing in solidarity with the Middle East. “All over the world, we, the Iranian people, can decide our own destiny. We don’t need any intervention, occupation from any imperialist power. It has shown and we know what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. What they did in Libya is shameful and they are going to do it in Iran,” he said.