Stop Bush’s hidden draft

The Pentagon plans to call up 5,600 retired or discharged soldiers, members of a group of 117,000 so-called “ready reserves.” This comes on top of the so-called “stop loss” policy, which has extended for a year or longer the deployment of National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq, part of the 140,000 U.S. occupation force.

Gone are the days when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld blithely brushed aside warnings that far more troops would be needed to crush Iraqi resistance and impose a “Pax Americana” on the oil-rich nation. Then he bragged that “light, agile” U.S. military forces could conquer any opposing army. Now the Bush administration speaks of needing more troops, who will remain in Iraq indefinitely.

Their real plans are more likely a permanent military garrison in Iraq similar to their deployments in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Some warn that these maneuvers are part of an “unofficial draft” or “poverty draft” in which poor and working class youth – disproportionately African American, Latino, and other people of color – bear the burden of Bush’s costly Iraq fiasco.

Already the burden on military families is crushing. Soldiers with children who signed up in the Guard and Reserves expecting to be absent on weekends and two weeks during the summer are now forced into long separations from their families, at risk of being squeezed out of their regular jobs. The roster of dead is nearing 1,000; the ranks of the seriously wounded, 10,000. Iraqis see U.S. troops as hostile occupiers, not liberators. It attests to the abject failure of the Bush Doctrine of unilateral, preemptive war. If Bush steals another term, we can expect a full-fledged return of military conscription as he seeks more cannon fodder in his crazed lust for world domination. Save many lives at home and abroad. Vote against Bush Nov. 2.

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The Fourth of July – then and now

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

With that opening line on July 4, 1776, a band of 56 anti-colonialists signed one of the most revolutionary and historic documents of all time: The Declaration of Independence.

The revolutionaries put forth heretical ideas at the time. It states “all men are created equal” and have “certain unalienable Rights” and when a government becomes destructive it is the “Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

The Bush administration certainly fits the bill of being destructive. In response, a growing movement in the U.S. is coalescing to assert the “Right of the People” to get rid of a government that is shredding our most basic rights and principles. This is part of the American Revolutionary heritage.

So is sovereignty. On June 28, the Bush administration declared Iraqi sovereignty like it was something they could check off their “to do” list. Yet over 140,000 U.S. troops remain. Iraqis will have to battle to wrest their oil and resources from U.S. corporate control. Security – a problem stemming directly from the war and occupation – remains a huge issue for the Iraqi people. Some sovereignty!

In the Declaration the “founding fathers” listed numerous grievances against England and King George. Among them: “For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.” And using “Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny…”

We cannot allow the U.S. government to violate our own nation’s founding ideals by continuing to control Iraq. We need U.S. troops out now, the UN in to help transfer full sovereignty to the Iraqi people, with U.S. corporations paying reparations.

Let’s get rid of King George W. Bush. Long live the spirit of ’76!