George W. Bush has opened the gates of hell. In the next few days, the U.S. will begin its devastation and destruction of Iraq with an unprecedented show of military might. The Pentagon has promised to drop 63 bombs and missiles every hour in the first two days of the war and to deploy the 10-ton mother of all bombs.
It is a terrifying moment. We fear, first of all, for the lives of innocent Iraqi women, children and men. We also know that U.S. soldiers sent to fight this unjust and illegal war suffer greatly emotionally and physically. Many of these troops are young women and men of color, in the service as a result of the "economic draft." In the words of a Gulf War veteran, "There is no doubt in my mind that this war will be bloodier on both sides. This war does nothing to protect American lives, but it will do everything to destroy the lives of many thousands of Iraqis and Americans."
But precisely because so many lives hang in the balance, it is a moment of great urgency. Women of Color Resource Center calls upon all those committed to peace and justice to ACT IMMEDIATELY in opposition to this war.
We call particularly on women to rise with great force and to stand for peace with justice -- to stand in unity with the women of Iraq. We know that they suffered immeasurably during the Gulf War of 1991. Cancer rates, birth defects and infant mortality all increased dramatically as a result of the thousands of bombs, rockets and missiles dropped in Iraq. We know that 12 years later, they still suffer from the humanitarian crisis caused by the Gulf War and US-supported sanctions.
We call on women to rise against the alarming threat of the use of nuclear weapons, a threat which is more immediate than any time since the end of WWII. The US is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons and the people of Japan continue to confront the after-effects of atomic bombs for decades after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The very real possibility that war against Iraq could unleash a wider regional conflagration, including nuclear strikes, threatening women's lives and reproductive health, is too dreadful to contemplate.
We call on women to rise against the racial backlash on immigrant communities who have been assaulted, harassed and targeted as part of the rollback of civil liberties pursued under the umbrella of the "war on terrorism." Women of Arab, North African, Central and South Asian descent have been harassed and assaulted, and now face fresh targeting as the war begins. The detention and summary deportation of Arab, Muslim and South Asian men has disrupted families and communities, leaving women to shoulder heavy burdens.
We call on women to rise against a ballooning budget deficit that endangers the lives of poor women and children in the U.S. While money for military contractors and the Pentagon flows abundantly, programs that benefit women and families are slashed. We know that children will go without childcare, elders will go without needed medications, women and children will sleep in the streets, in parks and in cars, while our tax dollars are spent bombarding peoples with whom we have no quarrel.
We call on women, and all those committed to peace, to ACT IMMEDIATELY! JOIN US TO STOP THE WAR!!! Visit www.coloredgirls.org for information on Bay Area actions. WE WON'T STOP UNTIL THEY STOP!