Friday, May 30, 2008


May 27, 08.

At this meeting, at the conclusion of remarks by Diane and myself, one of the council members gave us a little speech explaining why the council has not responded to our request and why they've shown no interest. The main reason, he said, was because "we've heard it all before and most of what you've said has just been your opinions and not facts, and frankly, I don't share your opinion."

Given that we are very careful to present the facts and to base our opinions on the facts, this seemed like an outrageous insult, which I will be addressing in my next talk.

Meanwhile, here is the most recent:

Mayor, Council members, some of you may recall that Ulysses Grant faithfully served as a captain in the Mexican War about the middle of the nineteenth century. Later, writing in his memoirs, Grant said he regarded that war as “one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”

Something about that sounds eerily familiar. Could it be that our colossal mistakes in Vietnam and now Iraq are little more than history repeating itself?

Grant went on to say that “nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions.” No, he wasn't talking about religious concerns. He was far too practical minded for that. He was talking about blow-back.

He believed the American Civil War was the logical outgrowth of the Mexican War that preceded it. That was our punishment for unnecessarily invading and occupying a sovereign country.

Now it seems logical to ask what is apt to be the blow-back of our Iraq debacle. Well, we know we have created far more enemies than we started out with before Bush launched this war based on lies.

What about the blow-back to our soldiers? Besides the killed and wounded, over 300,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are currently suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, or major depression—that's one out of every five soldiers who have served there.

In a recent email that just came to light, Dr. Ira Katz, a top official at the VA, reported over 1,000 suicide attempts per month among returning veterans. Then he went on to discuss how this alarming news might be covered up.

The highest number of suicides seems to be among those forced to do multiple tours of duty by this administration. More than half are aged 20 to 29. Three-quarters used a firearm to take their lives, such as Joshua Omvig, an Iowa reservist who shot himself in front of his mother in December, 2005, after an eleven month tour in Iraq.

In 1942 on the eve of War, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “This will require, of course, the abandonment not only of luxuries, but of many other creature comforts.”

Nowadays, President Bush encourages Americans to go shopping and spend those stimulus checks. Carry on as if nothing has happened or is happening.

And so another Memorial Day has come and gone. But this year, concerned citizens come before this law-making body asking for something more than prayers.

We come saying we are tired of prayers for soldiers killed, wounded, traumatized, by needless war. We say we are tired of lies. We believe those who told the lies that got our soldiers in this predicament should be answerable to the people, and brought to justice.

Thus, do we ask you again to stand for the Constitution and the rule of law.

Thank you.


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