FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Winter Soldiers and Summer Patriots

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
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail