Peace talk

War party: The American people have spoken. According to the most recent poll by the Pew Research Center, a majority, 51 percent, now think invading Iraq was a mistake. Slightly more than that, 56 percent, favor setting a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops. Thanks to the country’s growing sentiments against the war, the Democrats seized control of Congress in the recent midterm elections.

But if you think this war is even close to over, forget about it. That much was made clear last week when the Democratic Party establishment screwed Rep. John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran and one of the party’s most outspoken critics of the war, out of the majority-leader position.

As Justin Raimondo, editorial director of (still the best anti-war site on the Internet) noted, “The Great Realignment of 2006 lasted a little over a week before it turned into the Great Sellout. It is a perfect illustration of how the War Party controls the leadership of both major parties and maintains its grip on the levers of power.”

Rita retaliates: What to do? For starters, each of us is going to have to take peace a little more personally. Consider 24-year-old UC Davis student Rita Maalouf, a native of Lebanon who was visiting her homeland this summer when Israel decided to destroy it using weapons of mass destruction, such as cluster bombs, made right here in the good ol’ USA. Readers may recall the nail-biting e-mails Maalouf sent to SN&R detailing her visits to southern Beirut’s bombed-out neighborhoods. Fortunately, Maalouf and her family survived the carnage, and she returned to the United States just in time to start classes for the fall semester.

Now that she’s up to speed at school, Maalouf has begun speaking out about her experiences in Lebanon this summer. Her presentation includes photographs of demolished buildings and crushed bodies that are ominously reminiscent of the catastrophe that lit off the current conflagration in the Middle East: The destruction of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.

Nonpartisan by nature, Maalouf prefers to focus on the damage that’s been done to her country, including miles of pristine beach that were wiped out after Israel targeted and destroyed a major oil depot. Last week, she appeared on KDVS 90.3 FM talk show host Doug Everett’s Radio Parallax program (for more info, go to to share her experiences in Lebanon. She hopes to make more presentations as her schedule permits. Midterms aren’t as bad as having bombs dropped on you, but they still suck.

Fahrenheit 916: It doesn’t take much to talk peace these days; a digital-video camera and a high-speed Internet connection will do. After the invasion of Iraq, James Peyton, 33, became so disgusted with propagandistic television war coverage he decided to make a little news of his own. So he toted his camera down to the Capitol and started questioning passersby about their attitudes toward war. He spliced the interviews together with video clips from the Web to create Fahrenheit 916, a short film that pays obvious homage to Michael Moore.

“I always had the idea that the status quo was always kind of wrong,” said Peyton, who is part Native American and cut his activist teeth marching to free Leonard Peltier in the 1990s. Now he’s turned his attention on what he views as the Bush administration’s illegal war against Iraq. To view Peyton’s film, go to Google video and enter “Fahrenheit 916” in the search engine.

“I felt so outraged about [the war],” Peyton said when asked why he made the film. “I had something to say, and I thought it was important to say it.” When it comes to speaking our peace, there’s no reason why each and every one of us can’t do the same.