Dear Ambassador Khalizad, and Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld:
On September 7 and 8, 2006, members of the U.S. military participated in an aggressive armed raid on the offices of the Iraq Freedom Congress in Baghdad. During that raid, U.S. military personnel and others operating with them or at their direction ransacked the office, destroyed furniture and equipment, and confiscated records and documents.
The Iraq Freedom Congress is a respected popular civil society organization that is committed to non-violent methods in support of a united democratic secular Iraq in which Iraqis can exercise their sovereignty free of violence, militarism, ethnic and religious intolerance, and all foreign interference. The IFC includes participants from across Iraq’s civil society, including members from a number of Iraqi unions, women’s organizations, and distinguished academics and professionals.
This raid is an affront to all those who cherish peace and democracy for Iraq. It makes a mockery of the stated goal of the United States to foster and promote democracy and freedom in Iraq.
U.S. Labor Against the War, a network of more than 140 unions, labor councils, state federations, and other labor organizations with millions of members vigorously protests this violation of the rights of Iraqis. We demand that commanding officers and all others responsible for this outrage against peace, democracy and freedom be held to account, that a public apology be issued to the IFC, all records and other property be promptly returned, and compensation be paid for all damages the IFC suffered.
Democracy will never be established in Iraq at the barrel of a U.S. gun. Real security for the Iraqis and for the rest of the world can not be established by military means. We join with the majority of the people of the U.S., the more than 80% of Iraqis, and 72% of U.S. troops in Iraq who, when polled, call for the U.S. and all other foreign troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. All U.S. bases and other military facilities should be dismantled and abandoned. All U.S. troops should be immediately returned to their families, homes and jobs in the U.S. The national treasure now being squandered on the military occupation of Iraq should be redirected to reparations to the Iraqis for the destruction our military has wrought and to meeting the human needs of the people of the U.S. and the world.
Gene Bruskin, Maria Guillen, Fred Mason, Bob Muehlenkamp, Nancy Wohlforth