Anti-war talk: Support both peace and the troops

This is a short speech I was scheduled to deliver in Fremont at a rally organized through MoveOn.org in support of California Congressman Pete Stark in his efforts to stop the nonsense in Iraq. Unfortunately, I never made it there due to a fire on the train system (BART). I post it here anyway.

My 22-year-old son Matthew is currently somewhere north of Baghdad, Iraq. He joined the Army National Guard out of high school right after the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy. He said he wanted to defend his country and he wanted money for college. I’m sure he is not getting what he expected right now. Sadly, he is not defending his country but the gluttony, arrogance, and insanity of our leaders, defending what they call “The American Way of Life.” Why must our “way of life” be a way of death for the world? Why are they sending our sons and daughters to kill in our name instead of to college?

Anti-war veteran Liam Madden, also 22 years old, co-founder of the “Congressional Appeal for Redress,” signed by 1,000 active military to end the occupation of Iraq, was in the Bay Area recently. He asked us to remember how many times we were asked growing up what we wanted to be. He said to compare that with how many times you were asked what kind of world do you want to live in when you grow up. I asked my six-year-old son that question and he said: “A world of peace where the only guns are toy guns.”

I ask you to make the connections between the occupation of not only Iraq but the entire world (with over 700 U.S. military bases and growing) and the state of our wealthy nation here at home. The cost of living goes up while wages stagnate. Meanwhile, oil companies hit record profits. The tragedy of our times is that we squander our national wealth while human needs go wanting.

They tell us we are bringing freedom and democracy to the world, supposedly spreading the American Dream. But that is a lie. It’s time to expand that dream. Dream a better world, where the guns only shoot human kindness in the minds of six year olds.

Democracy is majority rule by the demos, the people. Right now the majority of the American people are against this nation-building project in the Middle East, yet it continues in our name. And it will continue until we do our own surge into the streets. It will not stop until we escalate our forces to support both our troops and a peaceful world. Bring my son home today.

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