Relief, Not Occupation

The destruction of Hurricane Katrina is horrendous, almost unbelievable.

With the entire city of New Orleans displaced and countless dead, it leaves a very legitimate question: Where was all the help when it was needed?

With massive numbers of the National Guard deployed to Iraq to carry out an illegal occupation, they were not here in the United States when they were most needed.

So those National Guardsmen who are stateside are overstretched with this natural disaster.

On his way back to Washington from his month long vacation in Texas, Bush stopped by New Orleans for five minutes, during which he asked the American public to “dig deep and put all hands on deck.”

My question is: will Bush dig deep and put his hands on deck? Couldn’t he use his expertise from his years in the Texas National Guard, during which he conveniently skipped out on the Vietnam War, to help the disaster?

Since the disaster in New Orleans, Bush’s approval ratings have dropped to an all-time low.

But even more significantly, polls show that well over 60 percent, a solid majority, of Americans want to bring the troops home.

It is obvious, no matter how much the mainstream media tries to hide it, that the US is not bringing democracy to Iraq. The lies the war were founded on are clear. Americans are fed up with hearing about another soldier dead, not to mention the Iraqis who are killed. No one has better unearthed this anger and frustration at the Bush administration and its partisan policies in the Middle East than Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a killed soldier in Iraq.

Sheehan has been actively protesting the war ever since her son was killed, but it wasn’t until this August, when she camped out by Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding a meeting with Bush and calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Sheehan’s perseverance brought her huge media attention; a local Houston paper heralded her as a new Rosa Parks, and support for her from all around the country has exploded.

Sheehan is actively opposing the war that killed her son, and it is her activism that has caught everyone’s attention, even Bush’s. It is activism like this that is going to be key in ending the occupation of Iraq and bringing the troops home now. This weekend, September ninth and tenth, we have the opportunity to get active in the first statewide anti-war conference since the invasion of Iraq.

Vermont Says No To War is being held here at UVM, it is free and open to the public. It will be featuring speakers such as Michael Parenti, Dennis Brutus, Ahmed Shawki and David Cline.

There will be work shops ranging from counter-recruitment issues to how to build an anti-war group to protest through art and music. Anyone who opposes the occupation and wants to see it end should attend this conference, as well as go to Washington D.C. on September 24th for the first national anti-war protest in two years.

For more information, or to get involved, Students Against War meets every Tuesday at 7pm in Living/Learning 315.

It’s time to get active and oppose the war!