FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Winter Soldiers and Summer Patriots

by UNITED For PEACE And JUSTICE

Dear Senator Kerry,

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

This is a question you asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, testifying against the Vietnam War. If you are elected President of the United States, you will have to answer it. Surely, the war against Iraq, and the escalating disaster of our military occupation, qualify as some of the worst “mistakes” in the history of our nation.

In fact, the invasion of Iraq is the most dangerous and immoral action taken by the U.S. government since the devastation and atrocity in Vietnam. This is a subject you know more about than most, because you were there. Having served, you came home to denounce the evil of that war in language that many still admire for its unsparing honesty.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” you asked in your testimony to the Senate in 1971. Representing one thousand veterans, you spoke plainly about your “determination to undertake one last mission-to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that has driven this country the last ten years or more, so from when 30 years from now our brothers go down a street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say `Vietnam’ and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.” Now your opponents use these words to pillory you, as they try to justify another barbaric war with more “lies and garbage,” in the words of General Anthony Zinni, another Vietnam veteran.

In 1971, you showed courage. But now, in 2004, we wait, and the world waits, to see if you will denounce the grave damage that the occupation of Iraq is doing to the United States and the world: the thousands of young men and women in our Armed Forces killed and wounded, the much larger number of dead and injured Iraqis, all caught in a vicious cycle of popular resistance and intensifying repression. Just as in Vietnam, there is no way out of this swamp of violence other than to renounce it. So far, all we have heard from you are politically-calibrated platitudes about staying the course. This is caution, not courage; calculation, not leadership. To our dismay, you have even suggested sending more troops to Iraq, a policy that may require the reinstatement of the draft to sustain.

Senator Kerry, we call on you to show the same courage now that you did in 1971. Tell the people of this country the war was wrong, the occupation is disaster, and that we can have no future as a colonial power. Speak up for what’s right, right now. Otherwise, if you are elected, you will have to tell some family, years from now, that their daughter or son was the last one to die defending not simply a “mistake,” but a series of lies. You will be known as the president who dragged the U.S. further into a quagmire of countless needless deaths.

We urge you to speak as a winter soldier, not a summer patriot. As you know, a war begun for the wrong reasons cannot be made right. The only way forward is to end this war now.

Sincerely,

UNITED for PEACE and JUSTICE

http://www.unitedforpeace.org

 

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail