Got Green: No War With Iran
Got Green unequivocally opposes the war with Iran — from direct military occupation and drone strikes to sanctions and travel bans. This war – like all wars of the United States empire – will unleash a violent system of policing, polluting, and profiteering. This war is fundamentally at odds with a vision of safety, health, and dignity for all people and the land. As a Seattle-based environmental justice organization rooted in working-class communities of color, Got Green opposes the war with Iran for the following reasons:
It is disproportionately poor & working class people that are recruited to join the United States military — people that are viciously targeted by military recruiters and are told that the military is the only way they will receive healthcare, job security, housing, food, and more broadly stability in an economically violent society (note: the death and trauma of active duty is the complete opposite of stability). Most individuals are only joining the military for these reasons and would likely not be enlisting if the state provided all of us with these basic needs. The Department of Defense has a vested interest in making sure there is a sizable group of economically vulnerable people to be foot soldiers in their imperialist wars. And we know that people of color disproportionately experience poverty and economic precarity — simultaneously being targeted by military recruiters (to fill the reserves) and the police (to fill jails, prisons, and detention centers). And as highlighted by Black and Latinx GIs during the Vietnam War, it is often soldiers of color that are sent to the frontlines and therefore have a disproportionate death toll. If you are in the military and are deciding to go AWOL, becoming a conscientious objector, or withdrawing your consent in some other way – the GI Rights Hotline is run by civilians and offers free, confidential counseling and info (website & phone: 1-877-447-4487). Also, we encourage folks to check out the powerful work of About Face: Veterans Against The War.
Who Is Policed
Following Trump’s assasination of Qasem Soleimani, football player Colin Kaepernick tweeted, “America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad. America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world.” Got Green agrees with Kap. The profound level of violence and trauma inflicted on populations under U.S. occupation is unparalleled and lasts generations — as seen in the health of infants in Vietnam and Iraq due to the legacy of agent orange and white phosphorous. In addition to carpet bombs and chemical warfare, one of the ways this is manifested is through state-sanctioned sexual violence against women, girls, and queer/trans folks in occupied areas. The U.S. military has a long history of tactically colonizing individual bodies as means to colonize land — Got Green is grateful to have learned about this through the work of Grassroots Global Justice, World March of Women, Indigenous Environmental Network, and GABRIELA Seattle. And as Kap says, it is not only abroad where Black and Brown bodies are being policed. Over the weekend in Blaine, WA people of Iranian descent were held at the U.S/Canada border for over eleven hours. It is important to note that the Department of Homeland Security is a very new institution that was created to fight the so-called War on Terror. The post 9/11 war apparatus has directly heightened not only Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, but more broadly has normalized white supremacy and racist scape-goating to the detriment of all communities of color. War has consistently buoyed the racist police state within (and beyond) the borders of the United States.
The United States military budget is larger than the next ten countries combined. This budget has consistently received bipartisan approval — ie: the United States war machine has been in full force long before Trump. And as trillions are spent on militarization, the mainstream media has completely failed to ask the question — “how are we going to pay for this?” — a question they aggressively reserve for what we actually need (eg: Medicare for All, Green New Deal, Homes Guarantee, Universal Childcare, and more). Immediately following the assasination of Soleimani, the stock value of military contractors increased. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was a Raytheon lobbyist prior to this gig — he will no doubt return to a role in the privatized military economy to reap the rewards of his atrocious actions. Companies based in the PNW are directly benefiting from the military industrial complex — Boeing is building bomber planes and drones, Microsoft won the largest defense contract (at $10 billion) in the Pentagon’s history (which Amazon aggressively and unsuccessfully campaigned for), and Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have teamed up with the fossil fuel industry to use AI tech to better locate and squeeze dwindling fossil fuel reserves (ie: fossil fuels located in the soil of places like Iraq and Iran).
The United States Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world history. Through energy consumption, jet fuel, and unparalleled bombing campaigns, the Pentagon is firmly an enemy of the climate (and our collective survival). And to be clear, the solution is not to “green” the war machine — demilitarization is foundational to a just and effective effort to eradicate climate pollution — as many champions of the Green New Deal have outlined. The carbon footprint of the Pentagon does not even begin to address the ways in which the United States military apparatus is in obedient service to the fossil fuel industry — who are deeply committed to extracting fossil fuels in “enemy” territory by any means necessary. Reflecting on this moment, indigenous writer and activist Nick Estes wrote, “This is part of Trump’s and [Canadian Prime Minister] Trudeau’s ‘energy independence’ plan — intensify violent resource wars against Indigenous people in North America while waging genocidal sanctions campaigns against oil-rich nations like Iran and Venezuela.” In regards to Canada, Estes is referring to the active efforts of the Canadian government and Coastal Gaslink (the company responsible for the Keystone XL pipeline) who are violently attempting to displace indigenous people in the Wet’suwet’en territory without consent and permission to build a fracked gas pipeline. This is gas that Puget Sound Energy (our region’s privatized energy utility) is banking on to fuel their proposed gas development on Puyallup territory in Washington State.
What’s To Be Done
As Got Green is not known for being an anti-war / anti-imperialist organization, nonetheless we believe that our work is intimately linked to broader people’s movements across the globe. We honor the sovereignty of all people, especially people that are directly and indirectly under the military and economic heel of the U.S. empire — the people of Iran, Iraq, Puerto Rico, Afghanistan, Yemen, Venezuela, Bolivia, the Philippines, and Palestine — to name only a few. We support the ongoing organizing efforts that are taking place around Seattle — software workers refusing to build tech for the Pentagon and ICE, soldiers refusing to serve, counter-recruitment in our schools and communities, and all of us showing up for the wave upcoming actions against the impending war on Iran. Lastly, we call on Seattle’s City Council to issue a public condemnation of the war with Iran — similar to the 2007 resolution passed to demonstrate our City’s opposition to the war with Iraq. Let’s build a future for people and the planet by opposing the war on Iran.