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Happy Birthday, Iraq! America's with You 'till the Bitter End

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It’s that time of the year again. Six years later, America’s still in Iraq.

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America entered its seventh year of war on Iraq---I mean, in Iraq---over the weekend. And once again, those wanting to speak out against the war through rallies, protests, and marches hit the streets for another one of their perennial marches.

We Americans hope you enjoyed this year’s celebration of the anniversary of your liberation and we hope you are not too troubled by the lack of resistance to the inhumane policies being imposed on your people.

Unfortunately, unless this nation’s empire collapses from populist anger, Wall Street bonuses, greed, and corruption, socialism, the end of newspapers, legalized marijuana, atheism, or Burmese pythons in Florida, we will be celebrating your birthday with you until 2011 when we decide whether to occupy you for a few more years or not.

All the distractions from Wall Street and the media delayed this posting, but it’s important to seriously consider how we Americans are going to end this war. Are these wars of occupation ever going to end?

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Those in Chicago, who I rally, demonstrate, march, or protest with (usually), went to D.C. for a “March on the Pentagon.” (And, Chicagoans who were unable to travel to D.C. participated in a sixth anniversary event on March 14th about the same time that tens of thousands of Chicagoans were drinking themselves silly during and after Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.)

I’ve organized with members of a group called World Can’t Wait and Chicago peace, justice, and environment activists for quite some time now. My ambivalence grows each time I participate in another rally, demonstration, march, protest, etc with them though.

Six years later, when considering how much more supportive the Internet is to antiwar organizing since the war of aggression in Iraq began and when considering how significantly the Bush Administration rocked the consciousness of the American people, why haven’t antiwar groups or peace, justice, and environment groups found a way to consistently organize effectively?

Why haven’t they capitalized off the various sea changes in American sentiment?

Most importantly, why won’t all Americans know when they go to work a job this week that thousands showed up to “march on the Pentagon” last weekend? What is being done that prevents the antiwar movement from sustaining itself and gaining the attention of the American people?

The questions with complex and unknown answers are unsettling to me.

Having been active for the past two years, I am in a position to rise up and take on higher leadership roles within the movement. But, when I think of that opportunity, I hesitate and spend time thinking about what I should do or can do to make the actions of a few more valuable to the many.

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Any criticism I offer will be shot right back at me. Someone will inevitably say, “At least, we are doing something.”

So much of what activists do here in Chicago is habitual, rehearsed, and is mostly done because one would feel guilty if he or she didn’t stand up for the innocents who are having their lives torn apart by murder, rape, torture, and war, which results from U.S. intervention in countries all over the world.

Antiwar rallies and marches are literally a sorry sight to see. The people who show up create a potpourri of those marginalized in politics in America.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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