Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Act Now to Stop the Wars and Defend Our Civil Liberties

July 28, 2010
by Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA

The recent disclosure of thousands of top-secret documents by Wikileaks and the Washington Post media project “Top Secret America,” makes one point perfectly clear – the American people need to act now to stop the US military and the growing security state. With hundreds of bases worldwide and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military constitutes the greatest threat to peace in the world. Simultaneously, a growing security state threatens to shred any semblance of civil liberties and personal freedom at home and abroad.

The Wikileaks documents that were bravely secured by Bradley Manning and published by Julian Assange reveal a US military operation in Afghanistan that has violated nearly every tenet of international human rights. Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama both openly lied to the American people about the conduct of the military and the status of the wars. The use of CIA-trained death squads, the manipulation of the puppet government of Afghanistan and the consistent use of drone bombers all reveal a war that cannot be won being carried out by a military willing to commit acts of aggression against a defenseless civilian population. These documents prove decisively that the truth is indeed the first casualty of war.

The “Top Secret America” report reveals a growing security state that is as active domestically as it is internationally. This security apparatus constitutes the single greatest threat to civil liberties throughout the world. The post-9/11 US security state is responsible for torture, extraordinary renditions, false imprisonment, racial profiling and covert assassinations. All of this has been done secretly, in the name of the American people.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the American people themselves to put an end to the military and security apparatus’ ability to operate. Building a mass movement that both demands the end of the current wars and reclaims civil liberties would be a first step in that direction. As democratic socialists, we believe that any non-violent action that seeks to disable or derail the US military machine is a just act.

Such a movement should also push for a permanent end to militarism by calling for an immediate 50% reduction in military spending as well as the closing of all American military bases abroad. The resulting “peace dividend” could be shared between necessary domestic social services and in repairing the global damage done by the US military. Once in motion, such a movement would find widespread support from peace loving people throughout the world. Only then, after the US is well along the road to disarmament, can serious discussions about global peace and reconciliation begin.

Now is the time to summon the courage of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. To protect them against the repression of the US government. To demand an immediate end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, to put our bodies on the line in support of a vision of the future that moves beyond capitalism and the wars it fuels.
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