Resolution on U.S. Policy in Iraq

Adopted by the California Federation of Teachers in Convention, March 26, 2006

 

Whereas, the premises offered by the United State government to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq have been exposed as lies: there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq; there is no connection between Al Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein regime; and there was no imminent threat from Iraq to the safety of the U.S. and that the administration had no reasonable evidence to warrant a claim that there was; and

 

Whereas, the cost of the war in human life continues to be high: as of March 2006, more than 2,300 US soldiers have died and more than 17,000 have been severely injured, the majority of casualties occurring after the end of “major combat” in May 2003; the number of civilian casualties, as is typical in modern wars, is many times greater than the number of military deaths: estimates of the Iraqi civilian death toll range from 30,000 to more than 98,000, with many more several injured; and deaths and injuries continue to mount; and

 

Whereas, the financial cost of the war has led directly to cuts in social and human services: as of December 2005, the war and occupation cost the United States approximately $195 million per day, or more than $8 million per hour, with the total cost approaching $230 billion. This amount spent by the US on the war could have paid for almost 4 million new public school teachers to be hired for one year, or for similar investments in health care, housing, jobs, or for the rebuilding of the Gulf States communities devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita; California's share of the cost of the war (more than $31 billion) alone could have funded nearly 550,000 new public schoolteachers for one year; and

 

Whereas, we recognize the hardships undergone by US military personnel, many of whom are members or family of members of unions, and a disproportionate number of whom are from poor and working-class families. The burden of the war—its deaths, injuries, psychological trauma,, and lack of support for veterans—falls disproportionately on working people, poor people and people of color, thousands of whom enlisted because they had no access to other viable options for their lives, including affordable education, health care and decent jobs; and

 

Whereas, the war and the occupation have undermined the economic and social rights of the Iraqi people, producing grinding poverty for many, and an unemployment rate that had reached 70% in June 2004 and has persisted at high levels throughout the occupation; and

 

Whereas, Iraqi workers are struggling to maintain their labor movement, which has been one of the few entities that is both secular and non-denominational, and the US has moved against labor rights in Iraq, enforcing a 1987 Saddam Hussein law outlawing labor organizing, collective bargaining and strikes in the public sector—over 70% of Iraqi jobs and privatizing formerly nationalized industries, issuing a decree allowing 100% foreign ownership of all Iraq businesses except oil. The beneficiaries of the privatization are primarily US-based multinational corporations, many of them with ties to the Bush Administration; and

 

Whereas, human rights in Iraq, consistently violated in the Saddam Hussein regime, have now been violated again in the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of US military and intelligence personnel and private contractors; and

 

Whereas, the U.S. government policy on Iraq is founded on an unjustifiable intention and failure of implementation and integrity, and far from being, as claimed, a “war of liberation,” the US action in Iraq is a war for empire, the result of a conscious policy to gain control over Middle East oil and expand U.S. dominance through the building of permanent U.S. military installations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East; and,

 

Whereas, war has made the United States more insecure; because it has led to a an expansion of terrorism around the world. Therefore be it resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers—as an organization that stands for the rights of working people, the promise of education, and the pursuit of knowledge—continue to oppose this war begun under false pretenses and inimical to the interests of working people, and that CFT reiterate its solidarity with the hundreds of labor organizations and U.S. Labor Against the War, with which CFT is affiliated, that have called for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. military forces, bases and operations from Iraq; and

 

Be it further resolved, that CFT urge AFT to work vigorously to implement the AFL-CIO resolution calling for a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and mobilize the union's member to that end. and

 

Be it further resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers to introduce a motion calling for its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to become an affiliate member of US Labor Against the War, and

 

Be it further resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers urge AFT to call on the US government to meet the physical, psychological and economic needs of returning and current veterans, including providing full health benefits and restoring services cut by the Bush Administration; and

 

Be it finally resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers call on the California Congressional and Senate delegates to work for a reordering of national political and economic priorities toward peace, economic and racial justice, labor rights, true security, and human needs.