Statement by Gordon Clark, National Coordinator
WASHINGTON – April 10 – In response to current events in Iraq suggesting a U.S. military victory over the regime of Saddam Hussein, Gordon Clark, the National Coordinator of the Iraq Pledge of Resistance, asserted that the campaign of nonviolent resistance to the war and subsequent military occupation of Iraq remains essentially unchanged.
“We are no more swayed by pictures of Iraqis cheering George Bush in the streets of Baghdad than we were swayed by pictures of Iraqis cheering Saddam Hussein in the streets of Baghdad, ” said Mr. Clark. He continued – “No one ever questioned that once the Bush Administration started this war, that the U.S. possessed the firepower to win a short term military victory. That does not change the fact that this war continues to be illegal, immoral and unjust, and that the planned U.S. military occupation of Iraq will be equally illegal, immoral and unjust – and that it will be equally bloody, if not much more so.”
Mr. Clark also questioned the support for the U.S. allegedly demonstrated by cheering crowds. “Many Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein for killing their friends and loved ones, but cheered him in the streets because they understood that he controlled the tanks and militias that ran Iraq. There is no doubt that many Iraqis now hate the U.S. for having killed their friends and loved ones, but cheer in the streets for the same reason – they know it is now the U.S. which controls the tanks, as well as the local militias that now rule the streets of Iraq. It is also likely that many among those cheering are the same opportunists who are now looting the city. None of this represents public sentiment within Iraq.”
“Regardless of when the war is declared officially over and regardless of what happens to Saddam Hussein, resentment and hatred can only continue to grow with each day of U.S. military occupation, and it will grow not only in Iraq but throughout the Arab and Muslim world. If terrorists were motivated by the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, how much more will they be motivated by U.S. troops occupying Iraq as well?”
“In this context, it seems that pictures of cheering crowds are more part of public relations campaign than they are a true measure of sentiment in Iraq or the Arab world. Why is the same U.S. media which now shows us these pictures so unable to show us the pictures of continuing protests and unrest in the Middle East? Why were they unable to show us the pictures of the civilian casualties of this war, pictures that the rest of the world saw?”
Far from being unsuccessful, Mr. Clark asserted that the anti-war movement was able to force President Bush to seek approval from the United Nations, to push him to seek consent from the U.S. Congress (neither of which he was initially willing to do), and to galvanize the greatest demonstration of global anti-war sentiment in the history of the planet. “All of this has combined to demonstrate the naked illegitimacy of this war to the world, and to create a large base from which we will continue to oppose the military occupation of Iraq, and the Bush Administration’s ongoing plans for military intervention in the Middle East and throughout the world.”
In the meantime, according to Mr. Clark, the campaigns will continue. “All campaigns for social change ebb and flow in relation to current events, and this one is no different. For a while the crowds may be smaller, or the actions less frequent. But the campaigns do not stop, and given the Bush Administrations plans it is clear that the mass numbers can and will be mobilized again… and probably sooner than we think.” Already, civil disobedience actions are planned for the week of April 14, with additional actions being planned for May.
The Iraq Pledge of Resistance is a campaign of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience to war on and occupation of Iraq. The campaign was launched in October of 2002, and is responsible for coordinating nonviolent CD actions in over 50 cities. More information can be found at www.peacepledge.org/resist