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Friends Don't Let Friends Commit War Crimes

Friends Don't Let Friends Commit War Crimes

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 02 January 2006

"You're like an ambassador for peace," a Spanish journalist told me as we finished one of the dozens of interviews I gave in Europe. I did this interview right before I went to meet with the Spanish Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In reality, I did feel like an ambassador for peace as I traveled around Europe for 16 days in December.

The Mayor of London held a reception in honor of our peace efforts at the new and very modern City Hall, near the impressive and intimidating Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Mayor Ken Livingstone has always been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war and the war crimes of Tweedledum and Tweedledee ... Bush and Blair ... the corrupt, yet sadly comical, mis-leaders of two of the most powerful countries on the planet. I believe Bush and Blair are too far gone for redemption. They both need to be removed from their power and tried for their war crimes and betrayals. Until they are removed, the murder and the mayhem will continue.

In Ireland, I met with that country's equivalent of Condi Rice, the dignified Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern. As a matter of fact, he had just met with the "steely" Condi the week before. Incredibly, he accepted assurances from her that the CIA airplanes (up to 60 documented by peace activists) that are landing in Shannon airport are not transporting prisoners for extraordinary rendition (i.e., torture). That's like accepting a pirate's assurance that he's not going to steal your boat as he's boarding it with a drawn sword! I tried to impress on Mr. Ahern that the leaders of my government are known pathological liars, and can't be believed on this or anything. The torture planes are landing on Irish soil, so Ireland should inspect them for human rights violations. If Condi and her "husband" George aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to be concerned with.

Ireland declined to send troops as part of the Coalition of the Killing, but they do allow US planes to refuel at Shannon airport (Mr. Ahern: "We did it during Vietnam!"). I delivered a stack of petitions to Mr. Ahern with 10,000 signatures from pro-peace, anti-killing citizens of Ireland, demanding that their government stop allowing my government to land torture planes and troop transport planes at Shannon airport. My own son, Casey, went through Shannon. I urged Mr. Ahern to please make the US refuel their planes elsewhere. The occupation of Iraq is illegal by most standards and immoral by all standards. Being an accomplice to war crimes makes one culpable for those war crimes. I can say he listened, and I believe he genuinely wants to do what's right for Ireland. The people of Ireland need to keep the pressure on their government to act rationally and responsibly in this matter.

Scotland is the birthplace of impeachment and also the birthplace of both of my great-grandmas. I met with many Scottish MPs who are very anti-war and anti-Bush and anti-Blair. They are doing all they can to end the Scottish involvement in the war. The First Minister wouldn't meet with me. But my friend Rose Gentle has been trying to meet with him since her son, Gordon, was tragically killed in Iraq. When leaders of countries are co-conspirators in lies and corruption and don't even have the courage or integrity to meet with the people whose lives their unpunished felonies have damaged beyond full repair, that is a scandal.

The Spanish government is relatively new, and they did bring their troops home from Iraq after the old government was kicked out in 2004, because the people of Spain had had it with the lies and corruption of their Bushite regime.

The recurring theme when I met with Spanish government officials, including the Vice President of Spain, Manuel Marin, and the deputy foreign minister and heads of some of their parties, was "shared values." We the peoples of both countries need to find common ground on which to stand. We urged the Spanish government to loudly denounce what the US is doing, because the US government has no positive, life-affirming values. The US government has negative, life-ruining values such as the use of WMDs and torture as means to satisfy its greed for power and mammon.

The Spanish officials, like the other government officials we met, told me and the other members of Gold Star Families for Peace and local peace activists who attended the meetings that their countries are "great friends and allies of the USA."

We want friends and allies of the American people, but not of the current regime. The government is not identical with the people, despite what the right-wing hatemongerers say. Indeed, that is fascist notion. Not only do we not need to love our government's policies, when they are evil, we have a patriotic obligation to oppose them with all our strength. When the Bush administration uses white phosphorous on innocent men, women, children, and babies, when it uses illegal imprisonment and immoral torture on fellow members of the human race, when it invades and occupies another country that is no threat to the USA, we must say No. BushCo is an out of control entity which needs to be reined in by us! The longer the horror of Iraq continues, the more war crimes are committed and the more innocent lives ruined!

During my visit to Europe, I was invited to other countries as a peace emissary. People in Italy and Australia are particularly anxious to have me visit, because their governments are accomplices to BushCo in Iraq. I will be speaking to the European Union Parliament twice in 2006 to urge them to pressure our administration to stop its killing policies in Iraq and try something new: diplomacy and peace. Heads up, Condi: peace is NOT spread by killing and war.

Although our visits to the various governmental officials in Europe did not have an immediate effect, perhaps seeds were planted. The international peace community is energized and refocused. However, by just meeting with me, the officials of each country are showing a minor tear in the fabric of support with the illegitimate residents of the "Casa Blanca." Each little sign gives hope.

As Dermot Ahern told me: "It's going to get back to Washington that I met with you. They won't be happy. But I don't care. It was the right thing to do."


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