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Peace Tent Set Up At Iraq-Kuwait Front

Demilitarized Zone Peace Tent Set Up At “Half-Past The Eleventh Hour To Preserve Peace”

BAGHDAD— 23 members on Monday set up a peace camp at the Demilitarized Zone along the Iraq-Kuwait border. The activists’ intent is to direct a message to U.S. military personnel poised across the border and to Americans opposed to another Iraq war.

“It is half-past the eleventh hour to preserve peace and avert unimaginable suffering,” said Charlie Liteky, 72, a Viet Nam Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, from San Francisco. “With all our hearts we hope that our messages to the 90,000 American troops waiting in Kuwait and to American peace activists back home can help prevent a war.”

Liteky’s plea for peace, detailed in a statement read at the news conference, was directed to U.S. soldiers and sailors, praying for their safe return home “without having to participate in the horrors of war.” It also acknowledged that servicemen and women have been placed in a “position full of anxiety and danger” because “back home we do not truly govern ourselves—but are instead ruled by a minority who decide questions of war and peace in the interests of the few, not the many.”

The statement’s final appeal to U.S. troops was to humanize the Iraqi people who “…like the innocents in every war will bear the greatest suffering—and who are virtually indistinguishable from our families back home.” Calling the soldiers and sailors “our fellow citizens,” it asked them to “…think with your head and your heart and do the right thing.”

Kathy Kelly, a 50 year-old Chicagoan and IPT’s coordinator, then issued a stunning appeal to the U.S. peace movement. She urged “people of conscience all over the United States to conduct a massive, preemptive sit-down for peace,” saying the tactic used by American unions and civil rights activists was “…the only thing that can avert war and a humanitarian disaster in Iraq.”

Kelly concluded by calling the worldwide peace demonstrations of February 15 “not the end of our efforts, but only the beginning,” and paraphrased activist Rev. Daniel Berrigan, that “we will only achieve success when we show the same courage for peace as soldiers do for war.”

The Iraq Peace Team has been in Iraq since September, 2002, pledging to live alongside Iraqi families before and during a U.S. assault, should a new attack occur.

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