What Five Years Mean
By Terry Leach, President, LDC
Do you recall where you were on March 19th, 2003?
March 19th is the ï¬?fth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I believe that historians will declare that the course of world history changed dramatically when the United States of America preemptively attacked a country that had not attacked us. Rather than isolating Bin Laden, the Saudi mastermind of 9/11, the Bush Administration chose to trump up false charges, and wage a war against a nation that had not attacked us, squandering the good will extended to our country from all over the world, and our young men and women who signed up under false pretenses, and our treasure.
Since March 19th, 2003, nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have died in combat, and thousands more have been seriously injured. Some estimates suggest that as many as one million Iraqis have died violent deaths as a result of the occupation of Iraq and their infrastructure is in shreds. Over 2 million Iraqis are now living as refugees in squalid conditions. How many of these new refugees and survivors of our bombings hate Americans now?
Our Constitution has been shredded. Men and women are languishing in prisons all over the world â in our name â without the beneï¬?t of due process.
The US is spending billions regularly on the war in Iraq and so it goes to reason that money spent on this war, especially during a time in which tax cuts were extended to our highest income earners, is not available to shore up our infrastructure. For example, funds for public teaching hospitals in the U.S. that provide trauma, burn and high risk neonatal care, are drying up. When will the average citizen notice that billions being spent on a war has to cost us something? When she is involved in a collision and the wait time in the emergency room of the local trauma center exceeds 8 hours?
Americans from all walks of life must come together and declare, âEnough.â?
This is my seventh year serving on the Board of the Lamorinda Democratic Club. I regret to inform you that I will be declining the offer of serving as your President next year. I am gratiï¬?ed to report, however, that interest in Democratic politics in our area has never been greater. We will likely exceed 1,000 members in our community alone. We need new leaders. Newly enthusiastic voices, who love our country as I do, who are willing to take risks, talk with neighbors about the importance of being engaged, and being willing to register new voters at local Farmerâs Markets, and contact politicians to let them know that weâve had enough. It isnât good enough to allow other people to make your case for you. Not when there is so much at stake.
This war is coming home. In a variety of ways; returned combat soldiers, suffering from PTSD, living under bridges â reduced revenues for public hospitals and education, transportation, and consumer protection â increased numbers of individuals who have been touched violently by our actions, who feel that they have nothing to loseâand who hate us now â We must come together and end this war. Soon. And we must elect a President and Congress that will never again commit the folly of believing that Americans can be duped by fear and prejudice and greed.
Volunteer. Get involved. Commit to walk precincts in a âredâ? state in October. Write letters to your Member of Congress and to the editor of your paper. Work like the dickens to reelect Congressman Jerry McNerney in the neighboring Congressional District. Jerry defeated Richard Pombo two years ago â one of the most hostile anti-environmentalists ever to serve in Congress and we owe it to Jerry to make his election OUR election.
And on March 15th â join thousands of your neighbors across the world â and send a message to Washington that this war must end.
Join your Contra Costa neighbors at the W.C. BART station at 11am and marchÂ into Downtown WC and Civic Park.Â This event continues until 1 pm.Â Â Bring your friends and family and let’s end this war together.