Military Voices Against Endless War
by Gary Boatwright, Sun May 29, 2005 at 08:34:05 AM EDT
This was an absolute spiritual, ideological and informational feast. The videos and speeches and presentations were powerful. If you are anywhere near Berkely, go to the event tonight at 6:00 P.M.. You won't regret it.
I'll be proofing a couple of the speeches and highlights and adding an update later today. A CD of this event will be available in 2-3 weeks. They are taking this event on a nation wide tour. If it comes to a location near you, do not miss it!
The program guide that was put together for this event was intended to be an activist guide for the Anti-War movement. This is a simple type and paste of the program guide. Page 1:
"By putting my weapon down, I chose to reassert my self as a human being."
- Camilo Mejia, follwing his court-martial for refusing to return to duty in Iraq.
"I think the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."
- Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant, presiding at Pablo Paredes' court-martial, May 11, 2005.
Ray McGovern - Emcee, 27 year CIA veteran, founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Jeff Patterson, Not In Our Name, Gulf War Resister
Tim Goodrich, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ian Thompson, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
CAMS, Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools, L.A.
Part II: Objectors to the War in Iraq
The Ground Truth Video - The Consciousness of Killing
Stephen Funk - The first war resister to be imprisoned
Camilo Mejia, veteran imprisoned for refusing to return to Iraq
Pablo Paredes, sailor disciplined for refusing to transport marines.
Lynn Gonzalez, /San Diego Military Counseling Project
Part III The Harsh Realities of War
Arlington West (Sally Marr, Peter Dudar) U.S. deaths in Iraq
Dr. Gene Bolles, neurosurgeon who treated Iraq war casualties.
Fernando Suarez delSolar, Proyecto Guerrero Azteca/, whose son Jesus was killed in Iraq.
Bill Mitchell, Gold Star Families for Peace, whose son Mike was killed in Iraq.
Aidan Delgado, honorably discharged conscientious objector who served at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison but refused to carry a weapon.
Rev. Louis Chase, Hamilton United Methodist Church/, L.A.
Not in Our Name, Los Angeles
An awesome anti-war coalition has been building. One theme was that these Iraq Vets are the third generation of war resisters. This is a broad based coalition that builds on resistance to the Vietnam War, Gulf War I and now Bush's Iraq War. One Vietnam war resister said they made a mistake when they forced Nixon out of Vietnam. They didn't do what it took to make sure it never happened again.
The overall goal of this movement is not just to end the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq, but to put in place political checks so the U.S. never undertakes another illegal war.
Take a quick tour of the following links and decide how you are going to spend one hour a day putting an end to the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.
Not in Our Name, Los Angeles, 800-95-NOWAR, ext. 703
Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, L.A., 626-799-9118
KPFK Radio (90.7 F.M.) Los Angeles, 818-985-2711
ANSWER L.A. 323-650-8166
Arlington West 323-650-8166
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Oakland, 510-465-1617
Frank Dorrel 310-838-8131
FreeWill Productions, North Hollywood
Frente Unido de Los Pueblos Americanos, 626-806-4686, email@example.com
Global Exchange, San Francisco, 415-255-7296
Middle East Children's Alliance, Berkely, 510-548-0542
National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, 323-852-9808
Office of the Americas, Los Angeles, 323-852-9808
Palisadians for Peace, Pacific Palisades, 310-454-8985
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles 310-459-8321
St. Luke's Episcopal Peace and Justice Ministry, Long Beach, 562-436-4047
U.S. Tour of Duty, 310-842-8794
Veterans for Peace, 323-934-3451
Speak up! Talk to your neighbors! Get involved! Be a responsible citizen! Cross the line into action!
"My time in prison is a small price compared to the price Iraqis and Americans have paid with their lives. Mine is a small price compared to the price Humanity has paid for war."
- Camilio Mejia
Young people, facing choices about military service: What are your options?
ContactAmerican Friends Service committe (AFSC)
Military recruuitment in our shcools: How to Counter It
contactCoalition Against Militarism in our Schools (CAMS)
Service members needing legal counsel: How to get it, confidentially
contactMilitary Law Task Force, 323-653-4510
orGI Rights Hotline, 800-394-9584
Service members seeking spiritual support
Aspiring Activists: get involved in your communty
Upcoming Events: How to stay informed
I was an apolitical college stoner during the Vietnam War. Don't make the same mistake I made. Get involved. Get active. Be a part of history, not an observer.
[Update]:Here are a couple of selections from two of the participants.
Aiden Delgado honorably discharged conscientious objector who served at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison but refused to carry a weapon.
The guard shot the prisoner in the leg and the prisoner was dragged from the back of a jeep. Then he was forced to kneel in the back of a vehicle on two broken legs.
We had a Nov 24th riot that resulted in Operation Golden Spike. Prison tensions were rising, there was cold weather, poor food, and prisoners were not allowed to smoke. There were demonstrations and one become unruly. The prisoners threw stones and one guard got hit in nose with stone.
The guards asked for permission to use lethal force. Three prisoners died immediately. I asked one of them about it. You shot unarmed men behind barbed wire for throwing stones. His response, I saw one of my men get a bloody face so I shot them. One prisoner had three bullets in the face, for throwing stones to protest detestable living conditions. In all probability he had committed no real offense to get thrown in Abu Ghraib. One prisoner was a taxi driver who was picked up for driving through a neighborhood where we were conducting a sweep.
The medals I got dont mean anthing to me at all. Abu Ghraib was not the result of a few bad apples. Abu Ghraib is what war is like.
A lot of the stuff will be with me the rest of my life. The guards who were the most brutal had the hardest time re-adjusting. War by its very nature is very ugly and very immoral. Somehow there is a deafening silence about the things that are really happening in Iraq. Alongside what good comes out of the war there is ugliness and immorality that cant be supported by people of good conscience. The ugliness we see in Iraq is a reflection of our own ugliness. All that ugliness we dont want to look at in Iraq. We must correct the ugliness in ourself.
Fernando Suarez del Solar, Proyecto Guerrero Azteca - whose son Jesus was killed in Iraq.
[Editors note: Fernando delivered his speech in Spanish and was interpreted by an on stage translator.
There is nothing more immoral than to use the name of God, the name of Democracy, to erase the map of an entire nation. There will come the day that Bush, today or during the next four years, hes going to have to deal with blood as I have. He will have to ask for forgiveness from his grandchildren for having killed thousands of innocent children. There are two types of justice. Mans justice and Gods justice. Bush will be found guilty of both types of justice.
Together with the teachers and people of good heart like yourselves who are going to go to the schools and take those corrupt bastards out of the school. Its time to lose our fear. It is time to say stop. Enough. No more corruption in our schools. No more weapons instead of books. No more bombs instead of libraries.
More than 1,600 beautiful American lives are asking for peace, not for violence.
We need more schools and more books in the library. Today we had a beautiful example. Kevin and Bill and Pablo and more than 6,000 other deserters. And they are the live example of what is a miltary person. And he respects life and the constitution. And these young men are respected. And they have given a fine example to our young people. They have demonstrated that we dont have to go to the place we did in Vietnam. They were able to stop the war in Vietnam. But my generation made an error. We didnt change the corrupt system. Please dont commit the same mistake. You do have the power. You and the poor and owners of this country. Use this power. The power of truth. Change the system. And God bless you all.
I'll try to go over some of the rest of the personal stories and clean up my typos later today. A DVD of this event is going to be available in two or three weeks for a $3 donation to Justice Vision
If Military Voices Against Endless War and Occupation comes to a location near you, you don't want to miss it.
[Update II:This will be the last update. I wanted to give advance notice of the United Mass Action on Sept. 24th.
Ian Thomson, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles.
Our goal is to help military personnel who are not willing to kill people for oil. We have set up a project to support Iraq war resisters. We saw that resistance to the military was growing. More than 5,000 resisters have deserted. The military is increasing their recruiting efforts. The Lawyers Guild has set up two clinics in L.A. and one in Orange County. Our services are free and available to the public. We are also working with groups like CAMS.
We are on the steering committee of Answer. We are lawyers with a social conscience and legal workers who are showing that there is an alternative to military service. We also integrate our work into the war resistance movement any way we can. Its our position that the U.S. must leave Iraq right now and the troops must be brought home immediately. We do not want a kinder, gentler occupation.
We want to bring the Pentagon to its knees and change its policies for good. Our short term goal is a United Mass Action on Sept. 24th.
We already planned coordinated demonstrations in L.A. and S.F. and D.C. Join us tonight and start building this important demonstration. We will be speaking out against the war, racism, sexism, and attacks on immigration. The war is also being waged on working people. As the crisis deepens in Iraq, it becomes more important to redouble our efforts and stop this immoral, illegal war.
There is also a premier scheduled of an internet movie, Brave New Freedom on May 31st.
[Update III: OK. One last and final update. I can't possibly get the entire anti-war message into a single diary, but I neglected to link to veteran intelligence professionals for sanity and to Ray McGovern's recent post Proof Bush Fixed the Facts.
I missed a lot of Ray's emcee comments but here are a couple of out takes:
Lets have a moment of silence, for the God of our understanding. It depends on who you think God is and how he feels when little people are pushed around. There are100,000 Iraqi civilians who would be alive today if it wasnt for Bushs war. Be with us and help us do the right thing to stop this war.
. . . .
Thank-you. The smoking Gun has come to light. It is the proof positive, every bit as powerful as the Nixon tapes. The WMD rationale that drove our government to war is built on a stack of lies.
br> I remember when Joe Wilson spoke out. He also said, This begs the question, What else are they lying about?
The Downing Street Memo clearly reveals that once the President decided on war for regime change. It was inevitable. A direct quote from the memo:
The intelligence and the facts will be fixed around the policy.
Old intelligence officers who are used to speaking truth to power are outraged. Its happened before. I was born before Hitler marched to war. People did not act. The institutional churches did not act.
I only caught part of it, but McGovern told the story of a German professor with tenure. The professor kept his silence when Hitler came to power. When Hitler invaded Poland it was finally too much. He spoke out. They arrested him and did everything they could to get him to confess his guilt, because German law required a confession for a death sentence. But he would not confess, so they hung him anyway. When they took him down from the scaffold they found a poem in his pocket titled Guilt.
Yes, Im guilty, but its not what you think. I should have spoken out earlier. I should have called evil, evil. And today I know what I was guilty of. I was guilty of the crime of silence. [Editors note: the only other part of the German Professor's death bed confession I caught was the phrase Clar, clar which means clearly, clearly..
We are here this evening because we do not want to be guilty of that. We know what happens when a highly educated populace sits back. The Iraq war is an unnecessary, unprovoked war.
Ray McGovern: There were also resisters in WWI and WWII. They went to lunatic asylums. Because of their presence there, the lunatic asylums were cleaned up because articulate citizens of conscience were place somewhere their voices could make a difference.
And as a demonstration that this is a spiritual movement as well as an anti-war movement, this short excerpt from the Rev. Louis Chase:
These men women and children are human beings, crafted in the image of the divine and also loved. MLK told us about a true revolution of values in this nation. War is not a just way of settling differences. A nation that continues to spend more on military defense than on spiritual uplifting is approaching spiritual death. Property rights are considered more important than people. Racism, extremism, materialism and militarism. This is what we are witnessing.
Amnesty international described US government as a primary violator of human rights. We have lost our moral compass. Christian fundamentalism, which some call Christian fascism is ascendant. In the days when some of us were younger, Malcom X said that the pernicious evil of racism in this nation warranted radical action. This nation should be taken to the United Nations. We the people and we are not being taken seriously. Our protestations are not being heard. It is time that a statement be made at the UN about the US.
How far are we prepared to go to end this shameful illegal war and remove the tentacles of this global octopus. At United for Justice and Peace we believe that the religious community must stop blessing war.
We are of a radical prophetic resistance tradition. Ghandi, MLK, James Dawson. We must revitalize the power of Christian love and the building of the beloved community. Our goal is not just to see miniscule changes, but the creation of a new America which must be carved out by people who love justice and embrace compassion and whose arms are broad enough to embrace the whole world.
As a closing note, I would like to emphasize that several speakers talked about the third generation of war resisters from Vietnam to Gulf War I to Bush's Iraq War. The anti-Iraq War movement is building quickly and it has a very solid foundation. It's not going to take fifteen years for the American people to force their government to withdraw from Iraq.
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