Monday, March 10, 2003, 12:30pm
Seven Portland citizens acting as Civilian Weapons Inspectors shut down the Federal Building in downtown Portland, Oregon this afternoon in opposition to a war in Iraq. They are blocking the entrance and attempting to shut down the building in order to interrupt the US government's ability to conduct an immoral, illegal, and unnecessary war against the people of Iraq.
On February 15th, millions of people around the world took the streets to oppose a US war on Iraq. In response, George W. Bush declared that his decisions related to military action would not be influenced by this unprecedented global resistance to war.
"If the U.S. government will not listen as the world boldly declares 'NO WAR IN IRAQ', we as citizens must engage in civil resistance to prevent this illegal, unjust and unnecessary war," said participant Tamara Wallace.
This civil resistance action is part of an international popular effort against a war in Iraq. People have been blocking trains transporting US military equipment in Italy and the Netherlands, disabling US military planes in Ireland on their way to the Middle East, and blockading the doors of a military recruiting station in San Francisco.
The Nuremberg Tribunal, which convened after World War II, ruled that when a government commits War Crimes, Crimes against Peace, or Crimes against Humanity, citizens are required to end their complicity in those crimes by acting to prevent them. The offices of several military agencies including the Marine Corps and the Defense Contract Management Agency operate in this building and are actively working to build the United States government's war effort. The IRS, which collects taxes that pay for war, is also in this building.
As in all wars, civilians will be the most directly impacted by a war in Iraq. This war will destroy basic infrastructure including hospitals, water treatment plants, and power plants, which means that it will increase the suffering of poor people and people living on the margins in Iraq. A vast proportion of those who will be killed during this racist war in Iraq will be people of color of Arab descent.
The Iraqi people will not be the only ones suffering. This war will cost an estimated $80-100 billion at a time when the United States, and particularly Oregon, are experiencing severe budget cuts to healthcare, education, and other social services. The Bush Administration is pouring money into a war that will enable private corporations to access natural resources—namely oil—in the Middle East; increasing their profit margins while burdening the lives of the American people.
"Why are we spending billions of dollars on a war in Iraq when people at home in Oregon are suffering from under-funded schools and social services? No war in Iraq!" said another of the blockaders Josh Raisler Cohn.