This impending war is making me damn nervous.

On the Day of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, the Chinatown Justice Project of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, will hold a PEACE VIGIL at Confucius Plaza in Chinatown at 5 pm. The next day, join the NYC People of Color Mobilization Against War at the State Office Building on 125th Street in Harlem.

(If the invasion happens after 8 pm, meet the Day After at Confucius Plaza at 5 pm. Then join the NYC POC Mobilization the following day.)

For more info, call 212 473 6485

The U.S. War Abroad against Iraq and the War at Home against People of Color

-- Statement by the Chinatown Justice Project of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

40 minutes of war on Iraq will cost $30 million, which can be used alternatively to provide job training for all Chinatown workers who lost jobs after 9/11

2 hours of war on Iraq will cost $100 million, which can be used alteratively to avoid Governor Pataki's proposal to cut financial aid for CUNY and SUNY students

1/2 day of war on Iraq will cost $500 million, which can be used alternatively to avoid Governor Pataki's proposal to cut the SUNY budget

1/2 day of war on Iraq will cost $500 million, which can be used alternatively to restore Chinatown's garment industry to pre-9/11 operations

As young people in Chinatown, we oppose the war on Iraq. War is not and will never be a solution to the problems we face. War brings violence to our communities; it destroys lives, families, and cultures.

Once war starts, it never ends easily. It will only create more blood shed, more lives lost, and more suffering. In particular, women, children and the elderly suffer most as a result of war.

UN inspection reports claim that Iraq is unlikely to have a nuclear weapons program. People all over the world oppose a U.S. war on Iraq. Yet, Bush continues to push forward with his plans to invade Iraq.

Everyday, it becomes clearer that the president of the United States is a dictator. We do not believe that this war is about creating security, freedom, and
peace in the world. The true motives behind this war are to assert American control in the Middle East and to reap profits from its rich oil reserves.

We are already experiencing the impact of this war as billions of dollars are diverted from social services, such as education, health care and Affordable housing, towards military spending. According to Bush's 2003 proposed budget:

- Military spending will grow 12% to $396 billion,
- while job training for youth in poor communities will be cut 20%;
- Bush cancelled an increase of $200 million to help abused children,
- axed more than 20 job-training programs,
- and cut $200 million from new public housing;
- Congress voted down $1.9 billion in relief to laid-off workers;
- and the U.S. military budget will be four times the education and health budgets combined.

To this day, Chinatown, which is only blocks away from Ground Zero, still has not recovered from the losses of 9-11. One-fourth of Chinatown's garment factories closed in 1992. Chinatown business revenues declined 20 percent, and 8,000 Chinatown workers lost jobs.

Governor Pataki recently proposed drastic budget cuts and a $1200 tuition hike for all CUNY and SUNY students. As students, we have the right to
learn and study, yet the government thinks it's okay to cut its budget for education. Many students we know are already working full-time and part-time to put themselves through school; if we are required to pay higher tuition, some of us will be forced to drop out.

It is estimated that a war on Iraq will cost the United States $1 billion a day. If a war can be avoided, the money we save can be used to provide jobs and trainings for displaced workers and affordable college education for all students.

Finally, the war on Iraq is a racist war. It is an imperialist war against the Third World and people of color. During the McCarthy era in the 1950's, the United States government took away the rights of Chinese Americans, because communist China was seen as a threat to Western capitalism.

Immigrants in New York Chinatown lived in fear, as thousands were rounded up, detained, interrogated, and deported by the INS. Ten years later, the US invaded Vietnam because it saw Vietnam as a threat to its global power.

We lost many people of color in the war as people of color are often placed in the frontlines of battles. Thousands of Vietnamese lost their lives, families, homes, and those who survived still struggle to heal their wounds thirty years later.

Today, the United States government has taken away the civil rights of Arabs and Muslims, who are illegally detained by the INS. Innocent people in The Middle East will lose their lives, families, and homes as a result of U.S. desire for global power.

We must not let history repeat itself. Too many people have suffered Enough as a result of war. There are many alternatives the Bush administration can
take if its goal is to ensure national security. But a war that kills innocent people should never be the solution.

Peace. No War.

* * *

A Chorus Against War

by Howard Zinn

March 2003


AS I WRITE THIS, it looks like war. This, in spite of the obvious lack of enthusiasm in the country for war. The polls that register "approve" or "disapprove" can only count numbers; they cannot test the depth of feeling. And there are many signs that the support for war is shallow and shaky and ambivalent.

This Administration will not likely be stopped, though it knows its support is thin. In fact, that is undoubtedly why it is in such a hurry; it wants to go to war before the support gets any thinner.

The assumption is that once the soldiers are in combat, the American people will unite behind the war. The television screens will show "smart bombs" exploding, and the Secretary of Defense will assure the American people that civilian casualties are being kept to a minimum. (We're in the age of megadeaths, and any number of casualties less than a million is no cause for concern.)

This is the way it has been. Unity behind the President in time of war. But it may not be that way again.

The anti-war movement will not likely surrender to the martial atmosphere. The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington and San Francisco and New York and Boston--and in villages, towns, and cities all over the country from Georgia to Montana--will not meekly withdraw. Unlike the shallow support for the war, the opposition to the war is deep and cannot be easily dislodged or frightened into silence.

Indeed, the anti-war feelings are bound to become more intense.

To the demand "Support Our GIs," the movement will be able to reply: "Yes, we support our GIs, we want them to live, we want them to be brought home. The government is not supporting them. It is sending them to die, or to be wounded, or to be poisoned by our own depleted uranium shells."

No, our casualties may not be numerous, but every single one will be a waste of an important human life. We will insist that this government be held responsible for every death, every dismemberment, every case of sickness, every case of psychic trauma caused by the shock of war.

And though the media will be blocked from access to the dead and wounded of Iraq, though the human tragedy unfolding in Iraq will be told in numbers, in abstractions, and not in the stories of real human beings, real children, real mothers and fathers, the movement will find a way to tell that story. And when it does, the American people--who can be cold to death on "the other side," but who also wake up when "the other side" is suddenly seen as a man, a woman, a child, just like us--will respond.

This is not a fantasy, not a vain hope. It happened in the Vietnam years. For a long time, what was being done to the peasants of Vietnam was concealed by statistics, the "body count," without bodies being shown, without faces being shown, without pain, fear, anguish shown. But then the stories began to come through: the story of the My Lai massacre, the stories told by returning GIs of atrocities they had participated in.

And the pictures appeared: the little girl struck by napalm running down the road, her skin shredding, the mothers holding their babies to them in the trenches as GIs poured rounds of bullets from automatic rifles into their bodies.

When those stories began to come out, when the photos were seen, the American people could not fail to be moved. The war "against Communism" was seen as a war against poor peasants in a tiny country half the world away.

At some point in this coming war, and no one can say when, the lies of the Administration--"the death of this family was an accident," "we apologize for the dismemberment of this child," "this was an intelligence mistake," "a radar malfunction"--will begin to come apart.

How soon that will happen depends not only on the millions now--whether actively or silently--in the anti-war movement, but also on the emergence of whistle-blowers inside the Establishment who begin to talk, of journalists who become tired of being manipulated by the government and begin to write the
truth. And of dissident soldiers sick of a war that is not a war but a massacre: How else to describe the mayhem caused by the most powerful military machine on Earth raining thousands of bombs on a fifth-rate military power already reduced to poverty by two wars and ten years of economic sanctions?

The anti-war movement has the responsibility of encouraging defections from the war machine. It does this simply by its existence, by its example, by its persistence, by its voices reaching out over the walls of government control and speaking to the consciences of people.

Those voices have already become a chorus, joined by Americans in all walks of life, of all ages, in every part of the country.

There is a basic weakness in governments--however massive their armies, however wealthy their treasuries, however they control the information given to the public--because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers and teachers and artists. When
these people begin to suspect they have been deceived, and when they withdraw their support, the government loses its legitimacy, and its power.

We have seen this happen in recent decades, all around the globe. Leaders who were apparently all-powerful, surrounded by their generals, suddenly faced the anger of an aroused people, the hundreds of thousands in the streets and the reluctance of the soldiers to fire, and those leaders soon rushed to the airport, carrying their suitcases of money with them.

The process of undermining the legitimacy of our own government has begun. There has been a worm eating at the innards of its complacency all along--the knowledge of the American public, buried, but in a very shallow grave, easy to disinter, that this government came to power by a political coup, not by popular will.

The movement should not let this be forgotten.

The first steps to delegitimize this government are being taken, in small but significant ways.

The wife of the President calls off a gathering of poets in the White House because the poets have rebelled, seeing the march to war as a violation of the most sacred values of poets through the ages.

The generals who led the Gulf War of 1991 speak out against this impending war as foolish, unnecessary, dangerous.

The CIA contradicts the President by saying Saddam Hussein is not likely to use his weapons unless he is attacked.

All across the country--not just the great metropolitan centers, like Chicago, but places like Boseman, Montana; Des Moines, Iowa; San Luis Obispo,
California; Nederland, Colorado; York, Pennsylvania; Gary, Indiana; Carrboro, North Carolina-- fifty-seven cities and counties have passed resolutions against the war, responding to their citizens.

The actions will multiply, once the war has begun. The stakes will be higher. People will be dying every day. The responsibility of the peace movement will be huge--to speak to what people may feel but are hesitant to say. To say that this is a war for oil, for business. Bring back the Vietnam-era poster: "War Is
Good for Business--Invest Your Son." (In this morning's Boston Globe, a headline: "Extra $15 Billion for Military Would Profit New England Firms.")

Yes, by all means, no blood for oil, no blood for Bush, no blood for Rumsfeld or Cheney or Powell. No blood for political ambition, for grandiose designs of empire.

No action should be seen as too small, no nonviolent action should be seen as too large. The calls now for the impeachment of George Bush should
multiply. The constitutional requirement "high crimes and misdemeanors" certainly applies to sending our young halfway around the world to kill and be killed in a war of aggression against a people who have not attacked us.

Those poets troubled Laura Bush because by bringing the war into her ceremony they were doing something "inappropriate." That should be the key: People will continue to do "inappropriate" things, because that brings attention--the rejection of propriety, the refusal to be "professional" (which usually means not breaking out of the box your business or your profession insists you stay in).

The absurdity of this war is so starkly clear that people who have never been involved in an anti-war demonstration have been showing up in huge numbers at recent rallies. If you've been to one of them, you can testify to the numbers of young people and older people doing this for the first time.

Arguments for the war are paper thin and fall apart at first touch. Weapons of mass destruction? Iraq may develop one nuclear bomb (though the U.N. inspectors find no sign of development), but Israel has 200 nuclear weapons and the U.S. has 10,000, and six other countries have undisclosed numbers. Saddam Hussein a tyrant? Undoubtedly, like many others in the world. A threat to the world? Then how come the rest of the world, much closer to Iraq, does not want war? Defending ourselves? The most incredible statement of all. Fighting terrorism? No connection found between September 11 and Iraq.

I believe it is the obvious emptiness of the Administration position that is responsible for the swift growth of the anti-war movement. And for the
emergence of new voices, unheard before, speaking "inappropriately" outside their professional boundaries: 1,500 historians have signed an anti-war petition; businessmen, clergy, have put full-page ads in newspapers. All are refusing to stick to their "profession" and instead are professing that they are
human beings first.

I think of Sean Penn traveling to Baghdad, in spite of mutterings about patriotism. Or Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon and Martin Sheen speaking at anti-war rallies in Washington and New York. Renee Zellweger spoke to a reporter for the Boston Globe about "how public opinion is manipulated by what we're told. You see it all the time, especially now! The goodwill of the American people is being manipulated. It gives me the chills. I'm going to go to jail this year!"

Rap artists have been speaking out on war, on injustice. Mr. Lif says: "I think people have been on vacation and it's time to wake up. We need to look at our economic, social, and foreign policies and not be duped into believing the spin that comes from the government and the media."

In the cartoon "The Boondocks," which reaches twenty million readers every day, the cartoonist Aaron McGruder has his character, a black youngster named Huey Freedman, say the following: "In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that OUR leader isn't the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen."

The voices will multiply. The actions, from silent vigils to acts of civil disobedience (three nuns are facing long jail terms for pouring their blood on missile silos in Colorado), will multiply.

If Bush starts a war, he will be responsible for the lives lost, the children crippled, the terrorizing of millions of ordinary people, the American GIs not returning to their families. And all of us will be responsible for bringing that to a halt.

Men who have no respect for human life or for freedom or justice have taken over this beautiful country of ours. It will be up to the American people
to take it back.

- Howard Zinn, author of "A People's
History of the United States," is a columnist for The