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The ‘5 Years Too Many’ March, by Greg Moore

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Fayetteville event to support dissenting soldiers, call for end to war

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On March 8, as the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war approaches, Fayetteville residents will gather to support “Winter Soldier” hearings and call for an end to the Iraq war. From 1 to 3 p.m., artwork, picket signs and banners will be displayed along College Avenue proclaiming “Five Years Too Many” and supporting the Washington, D.C., hearings in which veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will testify about their experiences.
The “5 Years Too Many” march, organized by the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology, will highlight the massive death toll and expense that the people of Iraq and the U.S. have incurred as a result of the war. Under the banner “5 Years Too Many,” Fayetteville locals and others will call for U.S. troops to be brought home immediately. OMNI organizers are asking people to gather at the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center at 12:30 p.m. March 8.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, almost one million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers have died. Almost $1 trillion have been spent. Meanwhile, all the reasons given for the invasion have turned out to be lies: No WMD’s were found in Sadaam’s possession, no links to Al-Queda have been found and no “democracy” established.


Soldiers Speak Out

The “Winter Soldier” hearings, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, will take place March 13-16 at the National Labor College in Washington, D.C., and will feature the testimony of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as panels of journalists, scholars and veterans.
Almost 50 soldiers from all across the country will present their own experience as evidence that atrocities they witnessed or participated in are part of systematic government policies with hidden economic motives. The hearing will uncover how American soldiers are being used and abused to benefit powerful companies that don’t have to count the human cost of wars they profit by. It’s not what these soldiers signed on to do. This is part of the reason men and women in the military are now forced to question their experience carefully.
Find more information about the Winter Soldier Investigations, visit
www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier.
Military families have also had enough and are beginning to speak out. Local resident Sophia Fowler, whose husband is preparing to deploy to Iraq, says she is planning to attend the March 8 demonstration in Fayetteville. Since April, when her husband George began training, she has been speaking out against war, but for soldiers, and against policies that use them unfairly.
“I have a special poster that I use in demonstrations,” Fowler said. “Mine says ‘I support my soldier — bring him home.’”
Fowler is concerned about the mistreatment and neglect of soldiers and their families by the U.S. military. Currently, she is working on a project to charter busses to bring a group of soldiers home for a brief four-day leave before they head to Iraq. There’s no provision for any of them to get home. Many of these soldiers can’t pay for transportation home.
Why demonstrate?
Many people who desire an end to this ridiculous and heinous war look forward to the coming elections. Many of us hope the Democrats if elected will change our foreign policy to a more peaceful course. The Democrats, many of us hope, will get us out of Iraq. But killing Iraqis has long been a bipartisan project. President Clinton’s harsh sanctioning of the Iraqi people along with intermittent bombing resulted in the death of over a million Iraqis.
The truth is the war on Iraq has been going on for many years. Meanwhile the U.S. military continues to build permanent military base after permanent military base. It is clear that only under considerable pressure will the corporate/political power structure in the U.S. decide to leave Iraq.
An election season, while the candidates are trying to get support, is the best time to demonstrate publicly to show the presidential contenders clearly and unequivocally what we want.
Another reason to come to the demonstration is to help build the OMNI Center as a grassroots volunteer organization. We will need powerful movements for social justice and peace if we are to change the direction of this country. Coming to a demonstration is a good first step to get involved with projects for positive social change.
Everyone is invited to come to the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center at 12:30 p.m., March 8 to join the demonstration demanding immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Omni will have posters, or you can bring your own. For more information, go to omnicenter.org.

The Omni Center will host a “Pancakes for Peace” fundraiser from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at United Campus Ministries, 902 W. Maple St. in Fayetteville. Price is $5 and all proceeds will go towards the March 8 demonstration. The event T-shirts “5 years Too Many” will be on sale for $7.

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