Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
BLOOMINGTON, IN – Three Bloomington peace groups are organizing a rally on the Courthouse Square to oppose any attack on Iran. On March 21, the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, activists and citizens will gather on the Square at 5 p.m. to oppose another war, this time on Iran.
Rally organizer David Keppel, who led delegations nine years ago meeting Senator Lugar and his staff to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and this year to oppose an attack on Iran, says that public turnout is essential.
“Why is the U.S. Congress pushing the Obama administration toward another disastrous war?" he asked. "Congress needs to know that the public wants to rebuild America. We have learned the hard way that wars are easy to start; but they have tragic costs – in lives and money – and they rarely turn out as their planners expected.”
"We have learned the hard way that wars are easy to start; but they have tragic costs – in lives and money – and they rarely turn out as their planners expected." - David Keppel, rally organizerIn 2003, just weeks before the Iraq invasion, Keppel personally asked Senator Lugar to delay the attack. Senator Lugar replied: “We have troops in the desert. They have families. They need to get the job done so they can come home.” That was the beginning of years of war that cost more than 4,000 American lives and the lives of at least a hundred thousand innocent Iraqis. Weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq.
Kadhim Shaaban of Bloomington, who will speak at the rally, is an Iraqi American and knows personally the tragedy we brought upon his country. He will discuss the consequences for Iraq and the region of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran.
Rabbi Steven Ballaban of Bloomington, another speaker, points out that the Israeli public – unlike Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – strongly prefers a diplomatic solution and opposes a unilateral Israeli attack. Ballaban also cautions that American Jews do not march in lockstep with the hawkish lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
“A diplomatic solution is within reach,” says Keppel, citing proposals by former U.S. Ambassadors William Luers and Thomas Pickering. It would involve recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes while strengthening inspections. Also, the United States and Israel cannot practice a double standard regarding their own nuclear weapons arsenals.
“A military attack on Iran would be foolish, immoral, and completely unjustifiable whether launched by Israel or the United States of America,” says Timothy Baer, an organizer with Bloomington Peace Action Coalition, a principal sponsor of the March 21 rally. “All of us are called to do what is right. Standing up for peace and diplomacy and against injustice is always the right thing to do. I hope many people join us on the Square on the 21st.”
Other organizing sponsors are the Just Peace Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington and the Bloomington chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.