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Hawkins & Ritter to speak in NYC 8/27/06

Howie Hawkins, Green Party Candidate for US Senate, to Speak Sunday, August  27 at Judson Memorial Church, NYC at 7 PM on Need to Withdraw from Iraq 

Will be joined on Panel Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector, among others.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for US Senate, will speak Sunday,  August 27th in NYC on the need to immediately withdraw American troops from  Iraq. The event will be held at 7 PM at the Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South. Peace Action NY and US Tour of Duty, an organization supporting Iraq veterans and military families, are sponsoring the forum.

Hawkins, a former Marine who was active in organizing opposition to the Vietnam War, earlier this week qualified for the November ballot by filing 30,000 signatures. Hillary Clinton, the incumbent, has also been invited to participate, but so far has refused
to debate any of her anti-war challengers.

Other speakers include Scott Ritter, who served as a U.S. Marines intelligence officer and was the Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, and Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA Analyst for 27 years.

Hawkins has repeatedly called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops in Iraq. “The Bush administration knew there were no weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorists attacks of 9/11,” stated Hawkins. Hawkins noted that while Saddam Hussein has been a brutal dictator, the US government actively supported him for decades, using him as a proxy in its ongoing conflict with secular nationalists in Iraq and its conflict with Iran since 1979. “Iraq is just the latest example of blowback, where the US support of unsavory and undemocratic leaders comes back to bite us,” Hawkins said.

”The Bush administration and Democrats like Clinton argue that an immediate withdrawal is not possible since it would plunge the country in chaos and civil war. Unfortunately, it is the US bombings of infrastructure and sanctions since 1991, and now occupation, that has created the chaos in Iraq. US armed forces, which attacked the country, cannot restore order. They are the target of the insurgents who fight to expel US forces with the support of the 92 percent of the Iraqi population that opposes the US occupation, according to a June survey by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research,” Hawkins said.

“The Bush Administration’s treatment of Iraq and the Iraqi people is more consistent with colonization than with liberation. President Bush’s notion of democracy has little to do with the power of people to govern their own affairs; instead, it means opening up Iraqi oil, markets, and labor to corporate exploitation, especially by U.S. firms. The US military occupation includes the construction of permanent US military bases and the pillage of
billions of dollars intended for reconstruction by corrupt US contractors,” Hawkins stated.

Hawkins, in urging the quick return of U.S. troops, cites news of high suicide rates among military personnel in Iraq, the Pentagon’s “stop-loss” policy of refusing to allow American soldiers to leave the armed services after their original contracts expire, the growing number of troops killed and injured, reports that U.S. troops have been ordered to kill unarmed Iraqi demonstrators, and nearly universal Iraqi resentment and frustration over the occupation, according to several polls. 

Hawkins supports stopping illegal US-led wars to overthrow and occupy other countries (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Venezuela, etc.). Terrorism must be fought politically, Hawkins says, by ending US policies that oppress and exploit Arab and Muslim peoples. “Terrorists should be brought to justice using intelligence, police work, and special forces under international law, rather than using terrorists as an excuse for wars of regime change and military occupation, which, in fact, create more terrorists,” Hawkins said.

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