[pjw] REPORT BACK/FACTS: 9/11 Eighteen Years Later event

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Fri Sep 13 18:06:16 EDT 2019

Iraq Affinity Group supporters:
On Wednesday, at least fifteen people stood at the West End of the 
Hawthorne Bridge under the "Tower of Peace," carried signs and handed out 
information as thousands people drove, cycled and walked past us. The 
overwhelming response was a positive one, with people thanking us for 
being there and becoming quite wrapped up in though when they realized the 
thrust of our event: Kids born after 9/11 are now old enough to serve in 
wars that started before they were born.

We utilized the tower's three sides since each was visible from a 
different direction. Cars heading West to downtown saw the banner "End the 
Afghan War (and stop bombing Iraq and Syria)"; those going south on 1st 
Ave saw "Close Gitmo Now (Stop inspiring terror)" and those heading east 
at the Hawthorne onramp saw "No to the Drone Wars." We hope to have photos 
posted on the website soon, in the meantime we have posted the fact sheet 
as a pdf at
http://www.pjw.info/911_18yl_facts.pdf. The text is pasted in below. We 
handed out nearly 200 copies in just over 90 minutes at the corner of SW 
1st and Main. And while we got the attention from a security guard in the 
building that houses the Marine Recruiting station at that corner, we had 
no direct contact with military or police.

Please share widely... and thanks to all who were part of planning and 
pulling off this action!
dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Why Won't the US Military Leave Afghanistan? (18 years later)
September 11, 2019

It has been 18 years since September 11, 2001, meaning that  anyone born 
after the ensuing conflict began will now be eligible to serve in a war 
that is older than they are. The wars in Afghanistan (2001), Yemen (2002), 
Iraq (2003), Pakistan (2004), Libya (2011), Somalia (2011) and Syria 
(2014) all trace back to the Authorization for Use of Military Force 
passed by Congress just days after 9/11. Currently the US is threatening 
military action against Venezuela and Iran, which could add to the 
never-ending global war.


Military recruiters target young people with promises of education and 
career opportunities, but usually conveniently leave out that they have to 
pledge eight years of their lives to the service and can't make decisions 
about which combat operations they will or won't participate in. The "War 
on Terror" has taken the lives of over 7000 Americans: 4574 in Iraq and 
2437 in Afghanistan (icasualties.org), not to mention tens of thousands of 
wounded. The number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks was 2973. At 
least 183,000 civilians have died in Iraq (Iraqbodycount.org) and over 
32,000 in Afghanistan (Associated Press, February 24). In the first half 
of 2019, more civilians were killed by the US and its allies than by other 
armed combatants in Afghanistan (Associated Press, July 30).

Xenophobia and Islamophobia have become widespread in the US. Money that 
could be spent on health care, infrastructure, jobs, and the collapsing 
environment instead are poured into America's bloated $700 billion-plus 
military budget. The government continues to engage in spying and unlawful 
detentions, including 40 men still held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And the 
US military continues as an entity to be the world's #1 user of fossil 
fuels, contributing to climate change.


Facing a country where only about 7% of families have members in the 
military, recruiters have been coming up short of their goals in various 
branches (US Naval Institute, June 17). In October the Army will formally 
launch its 16-member "e-sports" team to recruit video gamers by playing 
games such as Call of Duty and Forntite (Military.com, August 7). As the 
nation debates whether video games themselves lead to real-life violence, 
it is important to question the military's use of video games-- which lend 
to the dehumanization of "others" to be killed-- as recruiting tools.


In Afghanistan, the US is negotiating a withdrawal if the Taliban-- which 
isn't officially in charge of that country--meets certain expectations of 
preventing violence by groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State 
("ISIS"). However, the US expects to bring home just 5000 troops, which 
will leave nearly 9,000 in Afghanistan (USA Today, August 29). After a 
planned withdrawal of most US troops from Iraq in 2011, about 5000 
military personnel remain today (Associated Press, August 26), even after 
the proclaimed defeat of ISIS. One can understand why people might feel 
their countries are being occupied after so many years of having foreign 
troops on their soil. While the military's explanation is that they want 
to help train local forces and maintain stability, the reasons are most 
likely the $1 trillion of minerals estimated to be in Afghanistan (NBC, 
September 5, 2014) and the world's fifth-largest oil reserves in Iraq 
(Economy News Baghdad, June 18).


The US' seven active wars continue as background noise for most Americans. 
Even though the last known drone strike in Pakistan occurred in July 2018, 
the US has conducted almost 3500 airstrikes/drone strikes in Afghanistan, 
roughly 50 in Somalia and 10 in Yemen to date in 2019 
(TheBureauInvestigates.com). The "War on Terror" has made life more 
difficult for many Arabs, Muslims and immigrants in the US with 
increasingly blurred lines between law enforcement and immigration 
regulation, and the rise of hate groups. The estimated costs of the wars 
in Iraq and Afghanistan are nearly $6 trillion (Watson Institute, November 
14, 2018). It is way past time for Americans to call for an end to 
state-sanctioned murder in the name of "national security" and agree to 
support international law, human rights, and civil liberties. We can work 
to turn the US military economy into a peace economy, with money for human 
needs, and a public who will never again allow its own government to 
conduct illegal and immoral wars.

This flyer was prepared September 2019 by the Peace and Justice Works Iraq 
Affinity Group

www.pjw.info/Iraq.html * PO Box 42456 * Portland, OR 97242 *
(503) 236-3065 (call or text)* iraq at pjw.info *
Meetings usually held 2nd Mondays, 7 PM

More information about the pjw-list mailing list