Dear Friends,

Thank you for standing with AFSC and the Wage Peace campaign in 2011!

There are many of you who have worked for years to insure that there would be no permanent US military bases in Iraq and that US troops would leave.

Congratulations, yesterday the last US combat troops deployed out of Iraq.

This is a formal end to a brutal war of choice. It will take decades for the people of Iraq and the region to recover from a legacy of violence. Many face a lifetime of suffering from traumatic physical and emotional wounds, families torn apart, homes and communities destroyed.

AFSC has had campaigns and actions in response to the many phases of this war from the Campaign of Conscience to challenge the sanctions, the Eyes Wide Open memorial to highlight the human cost, and the Countdown to Withdrawal that monitored the US pledge to remove all combat troops and bases.

AFSC has a new background paper that looks back, as early as 1980 war with Iran, on the US 30 year history with Iraq.

There is no victory and no victors in this war.

The withdrawal of troops from Iraq is just one dramatic event in a year that foregrounded the power of non-violence to change the world.

Powerful nonviolent movements removed regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. They transformed the lives of millions across the Arab World and inspired, energized, and challenged people in the US through the Occupy Movement. The dramatic contrast to the US-in-Iraq model of regime change that was based on destruction, waste and criminality had been shown the disappointment it was believed to be. 

The weight of a deepening economic crisis put one of our core values – the reduction of military spending – within reach of change for the first time in decades. Then, the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 passed with solemnity ushering in, what we hope will be, increased commitment to justice after a lost decade defined by the global war on terrorism.

Your actions through Wage Peace made a huge difference. Supporters like you sent over 4,282 letters to editors around the country – with some being published in USA Today with circulation of over 1.8 million – 3,155 emails to members of congress, participation in national call-in days, viewed our Windows and Mirrors exhibit in 15 cities, and shared video from youth in the If I Had a Trillion Dollars contest.

Again, thank you for all your efforts!

We hope you will continue to assist us in our work for peace and justice in 2012.

Best wishes and wage peace,
Peter Lems and Mary Zerkel