<== Site Review (2005-03-19) ==>
Utah Peace and Justice
March 19th, 2005 marks the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq which took place on March 19, 2003. I understand that there will be a silent interfaith memorial for the US soldiers killed in Iraq at the City County Building. This event will entail the reading the names of all US fatalities during the war. Each US fatality will be followed by the name of an Iraqi until the readers exhaust the list of US fatalities. The vigil will take about 5 hours. I see this interfaith effort as a time to reflect on the sacrafices that people must make for freedom and the difficulties of international relations.
Anyway, being the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I thought I would snag a Utah Peace web site for the site of the day. So, for the Site of the Day, I present People for Peace and Justice of Utah. This site is a central component of the Utah anti war effort. The organization runs educational events, vigils and an occasional protest.
People for Peace and Justice of Utah played a vital role in mobilizing Utahns against the invasion, and continues to advocate activist causes such as human rights for Palestinians, womens rights around the globe and other worthy causes. Voicing of opposition to acts we see as unjust should always be welcome and supported in a democracy.
I have to admit, I often get scared of groups labeled "Peace and Justice." Such groups are often filled with extremely angry people who want to perform justice on their enemies. In history we see attempts to exterminate groups like the Jews as an act of Justice.
Personally, I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq. I do not believe that the invasion was the most judicious use of the political capital the U.S. gained after the Twin Tower attacks. That political capital would have been better spent on reforming the United Nations (see UNAU). The corruption of the Oil for Food program had debilitated the sanctions, and had allowed Saddam to reconsolidate his power. Had Bush pushed for radical UN reform rather than invading Iraq, I believe we would be a better situation than we are after the invasion. Our occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq prevented the world community from stopping the genocide in Sudan and provided justification for the nuclear build up in Iran and Korea.
Of course, today, we are in a different stage of the game. The first set of Iranian elections is behind us. The US needs to maintain enough support for the process of democratization in Iraq for the fledging democracy to take root. This is a long term committment. There is no guarantee for success. With the first set of elections passed, there is hope that the gradual process of withdrawl will occur in the upcoming years.
I mention this in regards to the review of People for Peace and Justice because this is a time for healing. The world needs to repair the antagonisms caused by the invasion. The timing is not right for calls for unilateral withdrawl from Iraq. We can only hope that sanity stifles any less than noble motives of Rumsfeld.
Likewise, with the death of Arafat, there is hope that relations between the Palestinians and Isrealis might improve.