Statement of California Federation of Teachers (CFT), issued at their convention, March 21-22, 2003 in San Francisco
NO TO WAR!
For the Defense of Public Education!
On March 20, bombs began to rain down on the people of Baghdad in what is nothing but a war for oil and empire.
A recent document produced by the United Nations for the planning of humanitarian relief announces the expected outcomes of a U.S. campaign of bombing and invasion. These include:
– 500,000 civilian casualties;
– 2,000,000 people homeless;
– 10,000,000 people without enough to eat
– 18,000,000 without access to clean water; and more than 1,000,000 children under the age of 5, at risk of death from malnutrition.
Iraq, once a prosperous country, has been decimated and bled dry by a U.S.-led military invasion in 1991 and by 12 years of sanctions imposed by the United Nations [lorded over by the United States] that have resulted in the deaths of 1.6 million people, including more than 500,000 children. Now the situation will turn even bleaker, George W.’s promises of a rosy future under a U.S. protectorate notwithstanding.
Bush’s “shock and awe” invasion is aimed at terrorizing the Iraqi people and carving up the Iraqi nation into three or more different “ethnically-based territories,” all under foreign military occupation, the better to take over the country’s rich oil resources.
We, who are teachers and public education activists, have demonstrated in the streets along with millions of people the world over to shout out in one voice: “Stop this unjust and immoral war against the people of Iraq!” We have supported the campaigns and initiatives of U.S. Labor Against the War, which has taken the lead in mobilizing opposition to this war within the global trade union movement.
Expressing the overwhelming will of the majority of the world’s population, we call for military action to cease and desist immediately so that American and British troops can be removed from harm’s way and brought safely home — and to spare the Iraqi people more death, destruction and suffering.
We pledge to redouble our efforts to bring this heinous war to an end by demonstrating in mass, peaceful protests. We know that it is not just the Iraqi people who are targeted by the U.S. government. If we don’t stop this mad military machine, other peoples in the region — and beyond — will be subjected to this same fate. We also know that the war abroad — Bush’s “endless war” — will be used to justify stepping up the war on workers’ rights and living standards in our [and] other countries.