Saturday, December 17, 2005

CPTers in Iraq part of a "long and forgotten tradition"


This article was pointed out to me by Kathleen Kern of Christian Peacemaker Teams.  It comes from the History News Network website, and you can find it at

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace


American Peace Activists in Iraq? Part of a Long and Overlooked Tradition

By Mary Hershberger

Ms. Hershberger is a historian and writer whose most recent book is Jane Fonda's War: A Political Biography of an Antiwar Icon (The New Press, 2005). She has also published Traveling to Vietnam: American Peace Activists and the War and "Mobilizing Women, Anticipating Abolition: The Struggle Against Indian Removal in the 1830s," in the Journal of American History, June 1999 (which won the 2000 Stephenson-Binkley prize for best article in the JAH). She is currently writing a book on the movement to stop Cherokee removal. She can be reached at

When four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) were taken hostage in Iraq, American mainstream media revealed a near-total ignorance of the group. In accounts that I read, reporters seldom even cited its name correctly. Given that official information about the conduct of the war in Iraq is both misleading and woefully limited, ignorance of CPT�s long-term and carefully documented eyewitness reports out of Iraq raises questions about the media, of course, but more profoundly about the failure of historians to acquaint American citizens of our long history of activism similar to the work of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq.

For example, during the war in Vietnam, hundreds of Americans went to Hanoi to be eyewitnesses to the war. Mary Clarke and Lorraine Gordon first went to Hanoi in May, 1965, before the antiwar movement had even coalesced. They were followed, over the coming years, by a steady stream of Americans who undertook the dangerous journey to Hanoi to live under their own country�s bombs and report on the war when Americans journalists either couldn�t, or wouldn�t. (Martin Luther King Jr., nearly went to Hanoi in 1967 with German theologian Martin Niemoeller, but was deterred by the real prospect of having his passport confiscated by the State Department).

To read the remainder of this article, please visit:


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IRAQ URGENT ACTION: Contact President Bush before his speech regarding situation in Iraq

Dear friends,

Please read this urgent action from CPT regarding President Bush's speech tomorrow night (Sunday) on Iraq.  Should you choose to call or e-mail, please speak from your own deep values & faith.  If you are Christian, I suggest that you identify yourself that way.

Peace & fiery spirit be in your hearts,

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace


17 December 2005

IRAQ URGENT ACTION: Contact President Bush before his speech regarding
situation in Iraq

Background: President Bush will be making a rare address from the Oval
Office this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to address the nation
about how the U.S. war effort should proceed in Iraq.

Based on CPT's on-the-ground work in Iraq, the Iraq team would like the
President to know what team members have observed and the appropriate steps
they and the CPT constituency think he should take toward ending violence
and human rights abuses in Iraq.

The Iraq team has  observed the following with respect to the presence of
U.S. and Multinational Forces in Iraq:

·        Loss of faith and trust in the United States government by both
Iraqis and Americans

·        Absence of security

·        Iraqi and American injuries and deaths

·        Lack of basic services

·        Limited reconstruction

·        Continued bombing of civilians

·        Kidnapping, torture and extrajudicial deaths

·        Continued illegal detentions

·        Continued mass arrests, house raids and theft of personal

·        Alienation of Iraqi people and of the Muslim world

·        Growing number of people in the international community who
perceive the United States as the enemy because of our policies and actions
in Iraq

Please e-mail President George W. Bush at and Vice
President Richard Cheney at

Please copy your members of congress by going to and entering your zip code.

For those of you outside the U.S., please e-mail your U.S. embassy

The following is a sample of text you might use:

"Based on reports from Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, I know that you
have failed in your stated goals of bringing peace and true democracy to
Iraq.  In light of your upcoming speech Sunday, December 18, I make the
following recommendations:

1.    Clearly state your intention to withdraw all U.S. troops and military
bases promptly

2.     Recognize the human rights of all people of Iraq by

·        Withdrawing U.S. troops from urban areas immediately

·        Stopping U.S. bombing

·        Providing sufficient funds to the Iraqi people to rebuild basic

·       Ending illegal detentions and torture in U.S. detention facilities
both in Iraq and in locations outside Iraq

·        Ensuring a fair and speedy judicial process for detainees held in
U.S. facilities

·        Using diplomatic means to pressure the Iraqi government to take
corresponding actions regarding detainees held in Iraqi detention facilities

·        Using diplomatic means to pressure the Iraqi Ministry of Interior
to end the use of government sponsored commando units and extrajudicial