By David Swanson
Congress will be greeted on day 1 this year by a march of war dead on Capitol Hill.
The word epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning to manifest or to show. In Christian tradition the Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th, marking the day when the three wise men from three foreign lands visited the baby Jesus, the last of the 12 days of Christmas. Epiphany is also used to mean a sudden realization, comprehension, or inspiration.
This January 6th may be the 12th day of Christmas, but it is also the 1st day of Congress. I encourage you to join those of us who plan to greet Congress with a March of the Dead, making manifest and showing to those responsible the hidden meaning of wars in three foreign lands: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Perhaps a few members of Congress will even have an epiphany.
Long-distance genocide rarely results in so much as a shoe thrown in someone’s face, and the dead are by definition unheard from, and by the U.S. corporate media unheard of. We have killed over 1.2 million people in Iraq alone in the past six years alone, and their presence is almost never felt on Capitol Hill. We aim to change that, beginning on the first day of the new year. We plan to march with death masks and carrying the names of those killed during the illegal U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and those killed with U.S. weapons during Israel’s illegal assault on Gaza.
We will demand that the 111th Congress end the terror of war, remove U.S. troops and mercenaries from Iraq and Afghanistan, stay out of Iran, Pakistan, and Syria, and cease providing weapons for the destruction of Palestine. We will create a presence on Capitol Hill that it will be impossible to ignore. Perhaps we’ll even bring 12 drummers drumming.
Of course, we could stay home, watch football, and assume that on January 20th a new president will end all the wars. But there are a couple of problems with that. First, presidents are very reluctant to end wars and do not legitimately and should not have the power to make war, which belongs to Congress. Second, the incoming president has refused to commit to exiting Iraq, has proposed escalating the war in Afghanistan, and has maintained silence in the face of Israel’s assault on Gaza. While President Elect Obama endlessly promised to end the war in Iraq when he was a candidate, he also made clear that he would only commit to a partial withdrawal to be completed over 16 months, he would not specify how large that withdrawal would be, and he would back off it if military commanders told him to.
Obama intends to keep on at the Pentagon the same Secretary of War who worked for President Bush. Bush negotiated an unconstitutional treaty with Iraq committing to a withdrawal from all cities, towns, and localities by July 2009, and complete withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011. Bush’s (and soon to be Obama’s) top military commanders have already said publicly that they will violate those and other requirements of the treaty. Obama’s only comments on the treaty have been in favor of it, but he has never expressed support for actually adhering to it.
So, by all means have hope, and believe in change. But believing in change is not nearly as important as changing our beliefs and aligning our beliefs with meaningful action. Most actions are more meaningful the more people who join in them. To join the March of the Dead on January 6, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit