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Focusing on the war

March will mark the third anniversary of the Iraq War, and several groups --- The Peace Action and Education Task Force, Rochester Against War, and the RIT Antiwar Network --- are presenting the second installment of their speaker series, "Realities of War: Truth From the Front Lines" next week. The program will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 22, at the First Universalist Church, 150 South Clinton Avenue downtown.

Guest speakers and anti-war activists Stan Goff and Lee Zaslofsky will deliver their grassroots message, "Not Your Soldier." Goff, an Army Ranger in the Special Forces and Delta Force, served in Vietnam and Haiti. He wrote "Hideous Dreams," a memoir of his experience in Haiti, and "Full Spectrum Disorder," an analysis of the effects of Afghanistan-Iraq conflicts. Most recently, he has worked on the coordinating committee for Cindy Sheehan's "Bring Them Home Now!" organization.

Goff has been ardent critic of the Bush Administration says that the age of US imperialism is ending, and the neo-cons, namely Bush-Cheney-Rove, have unwittingly advanced it by failing to understand that wars are won politically, not tactically on the ground. He says the Rochester engagement will be aimed at convincing Democrats how important it is to take a stand with a unified message against the Iraq war, which is now being used, along with The War on Terror, to usurp civil liberties.

"The American public is paying close attention to this war," says Goff. "If Democrats have any hope at all of winning back seats in Congress, they need to denounce this war right now. Anyone who thinks that this scandal-ridden Administration can't win another election and take even more seats is misguided. The anti-war movement is the only way Democrats can win because right now Republicans are redefining the terms of winning so they can keep US forces in the region. They are using Colonialism --- "we have to stay the course" rhetoric that translates nicely into patriotism for the masses."

Co-speaker, Lee Zaslofsky, is a conscientious objector and was a draft resister during the Vietnam War. He is also the coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign of Canada, a broad based coalition that supports US soldiers seeking asylum in Canada.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit and