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

 

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail