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Road to Peace Goes Through Santa Cruz

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The following are remarks I made last Wednesday night in Santa Cruz, California, at an event held in the Veterans Hall, where the star speaker was Medea Benjamin, and where a group of Raging Grannies with pink aprons and rolling pins belted out anti-Bush songs of their own creation that brought down the house. Medea was tremendous, and I recommend watching the video once they get it online.


I'm honored to have been asked to come and talk in the US town that least needs to hear about why this war is wrong and why its architects need to be impeached, removed from office, and prosecuted.

Santa Cruz would have been the first city government to pass a resolution in favor of impeaching Bush earlier this year, if Santa Cruz hadn't also done so, already, three years ago.

People send me reports and photos to post at afterdowningstreet.org from marches and rallies and lobbying efforts, and I get more encouraging news from Sherry Conable and others in Santa Cruz than from anywhere else.

And, this being Santa Cruz, I'd like to extend a welcome to all the representatives of the law enforcement community. Ours is a movement to restore the rule of law, laws like the US Constitution, the War Powers Act, and the Geneva Conventions.

I'm honored also to have been asked to speak alongside one of the heroes of the peace movement, Medea Benjamin. Medea and her colleagues at CODE PINK are the most creative and most courageous disruptors of power in this country. I'm thrilled to be working with Medea and many others to build a national network of political activists called Progressive Democrats of America.

And I did say progressive Democrats, which may be an endangered species, but one that can be grown in captivity and one that is starting to flourish in California.
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Three years ago today we tried to prevent a war with the largest public demonstrations in cities around the world that had ever been held. We had built a remarkable anti-war movement before the war was even launched. And the movement had begun building international alliances. CODE PINK was at that time taking flowers to the embassies of nations that refused to support the war.

On February 15, 2003, in the morning, before the big march in New York, with marches in hundreds of cities already underway, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Harry Belafonte, his wife Julie, and Phyllis Bennis went to the UN to meet with Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Bennis recalls the meeting in her book "Challenging Empire," and writes that Tutu began by saying, "We are here on behalf of the people marching today in 665 cities around the world. And we're here to tell you that those people marching in those cities all around the world, we claim the United Nations as our own, we claim it as part of our global mobilization for peace."

Two hours later, Annan gave a media interview in which he said that if force were to be used, a second UN resolution would be required.

The US and the UK tried for but never got that authorization. This war was a war of aggression and one explicitly rejected by the United Nations. That's as illegal as you can get, and that's before exposing any of the lies that never actually made a case for the war.
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Many of you will recall that last summer the efforts of hundreds of thousands of us forced the Downing Street Minutes and seven related documents into the US media. Bush and Blair were asked a single question about the Downing Street Minutes. They largely ignored the question, which was about the line in the minutes that said the US was "fixing the facts around the policy" of going to war.

Instead, they both denied that they had settled on war by July 2002, pointing out that in November 2002 they had gone to the UN, supposedly in an attempt to avoid war.

And, of course, Bush and Blair had publicly claimed to be working for peace right up until the launch of the war in March 2003.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)

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