(CNSNews.com) - A coalition of leftist groups and individuals, organized by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), a subsidiary of the International Action Center (IAC), are organizing anti-war demonstrations all across the country on October 27.
The planned protests follow in the wake of an International A.N.S.W.E.R.-sponsored anti-war demonstration that occurred in Washington, D.C. at the end of September. The demonstrations are being organized in Little Rock, Ark., Flagstaff, Ariz., St. Paul, Minn., and New York City, and in numerous other cities across the country.
"The goal is to have protests in 50 to 100 cities around the country. In addition, there are protests planned for Italy, New Zealand, [and] a number of other countries also," said IAC spokeswoman Sarah Sloan.
"There [are] many people in this coalition who lost loved ones on September 11. There [are] emergency workers and firefighters [participating in the protests], who have been at ground zero since September 11," she said.
Sloan said the members of the International A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition believe that the September 11 terrorist attacks should be viewed as a consequence of U.S. policies toward the Middle East.
"We believe that the US is carrying out a war that will lead to the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan," Sloan said. "It's a war against the population of Afghanistan."
"We believe that the true answer lies not in this war, but in changing U.S. policy in the Middle East," she said. "We believe that the U.S [always] has pretexts for their war[s]."
"The war in Afghanistan, is a war that serves the broader U.S. interests in that region," Sloan asserted. "This region has two-thirds of the world's oil wells. Afghanistan is at a key position for building oil and gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea, [and] many oil companies are very eager to gain access to them."
She said the demonstrators would also protest other U.S. policies in the Middle East, including U.S policies against Iraq and the Palestinians, as well as the U.S. military presence in that region.
"The U.S. has carried out policies for decades that [are] seen by millions of people all over the Middle East as incredibly oppressive," said Sloan.
She pointed to the U.S. sanctions against Iraq, which she claims has cost the lives of 1.5 million people, as an example of America's oppression of people in the Middle East. International A.N.S.W.E.R. believes that U.S. support for Israel is another example of American oppression because Israel uses U.S. military hardware against the Palestinians.
"These (the Arab states) are some of the richest countries in the world, and in many of them the people live in poverty and starvation because resources are siphoned off and stolen by other countries," Sloan said.
She claims that the U.S and Western European countries are exploiting the resources of the Middle East so, "Exxon Mobil can make a profit while people that actually live in these regions suffer."
Retired Col. Robert Maginnis dismisses the protests as insignificant because of the overwhelming support the bombing campaign currently enjoys from most Americans.
"[I don't think] that they will raise that many people [in their] 150 [targeted] cities, given the mood in the country today," Maginnis said. "We have great support for the president, [and for the bombing]."
He rejects International A.N.S.W.E.R.'s assertion that the United States is to blame for deaths in Iraq, because Saddam Hussein has diverted money intended to feed his people into military programs that keep him in power.
"The facts about Iraq are mostly attributed to Saddam Hussein and his rogue regime," Maginnis said. "He has taken the money that he has gotten legally and illegally that should have been invested in food and medicine for his people, and diverted that into his weapons program and other programs that have nothing to do with taking care of his people."
"If his people are dying, it's because he is squandering the wealth of the nation," he said. "The U.S. is bombing radar and air defense sites, not his people, so I completely reject that (the IAC's assertions)."
Maginnis also said the U.S. should continue its steadfast support for Israel because the Israelis have been the nation's only stalwart ally in the Middle East.