Friday, March 7, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Like you, I felt betrayed that my country sent me to fight an unjust war, though my war was several decades after yours, and in Iraq. I have spoken out against that war to the best of my ability, as you once did against your war before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In recent years you have found yourself on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but your attitudes towards war have changed drastically.
You supported the war in Iraq, the war that I was deployed to as a Marine, where I participated in the 2nd siege of Fallujah. You were at the end of your Presidential run during the build up to this operation. The 2nd siege of Fallujah was compared to Hue City for its military character, and to the My Lai Massacre for its moral character. But you supported this operation.
Fallujah is currently under siege once again. You have stated that U.S. troops will not be sent back to Iraq to assist in the current siege, but you have agreed that the U.S. should send weapons to the Iraqi government. I am writing to implore that you do everything within your ability to stop shipments of U.S. weapons to Iraq, whether they are sold, gifted, or loaned. Arming an oppressive regime so that they may better crush a popular uprising is not in the best interest of Americans or Iraqis.
During that 2nd siege of Fallujah we killed thousands of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands, destroyed nearly the entire city, and brought immeasurable loss and hardship upon those poor people. Since then I have devoted my life to raising awareness about the suffering I helped create in Fallujah, and to assisting Fallujans in their struggle with a public health disaster and ongoing repression.
I feel a moral obligation to do whatever is within my power to help these people who I once hurt. But I was not a lone actor in Iraq. I had the support of a nation behind me and I was taking orders from the world’s most powerful military. The 2nd siege of Fallujah was not exceptional; rather it was symbolic of our military’s conduct in Iraq and the way that our mission impacted the lives of Iraqis. Our war and occupation took so much from them. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions displaced, permanent environmental contamination, and a new repressive regime that most Iraqis regard as begin more brutal than that of Saddam Hussein. This is the legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. The least that we can do at this point is to end our complicity in their suffering.
The current violence in Fallujah has been misrepresented in the media. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior asserted earlier in the month that al Qaeda had taken over half of Fallujah and the media parroted this assertion. However, journalists who have done serious investigations into this assertion found it to be false. The uprising in Fallujah is a popular uprising, not one led by an international jihadist group. The Iraqi government has not been attacking al Qaeda in Fallujah. Their assault has been indiscriminate, killing dozens of civilians and wounding even more. Many of these deaths have been documented by human rights organizations within Fallujah.
I know that the U.S. plans to send further shipments of Apache attack helicopters and Hellfire missiles. If we continue to send weapons to the Iraqi government, we will be further complicit in this violence. Iraqis have long known the Maliki regime to be brutal and repressive. This is not a regime the U.S. should be sending weapons to. Some of your colleagues in Congress have voiced this same concern.
When you spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, you spoke with compassion for the Vietnamese people. You sympathized with the suffering that our illegitimate war brought to them. I am asking you to do the same for Iraqis. Please end all shipments of U.S. made weapons to Iraq.
I have attached a petition with 11,610 signatures. Most of the signatories are Americans like myself who want to be able to feel proud of their country, but cannot do so while we are assisting the Iraqi government in its violent internal repression.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Read the whole speech. Here are a few excerpts:
|MLK statue in Asheville, NC |
with peace sign by Ole Sorensen
(photo by Laura Sorensen)
They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government....
....the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered....
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.... [sustained applause]
...We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
...And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when "justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
For The Love of Sanctions Is The Root of All Evil Mike Hastie Army Medic Vietnam January 14, 2014
CLICK HERE to contact your senators
Monday, January 13, 2014
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The War Crimes Times provides compelling, ongoing information on war and the war crimes that invariably accompany war, the many costs of war, the effects of our war culture on our national character and international reputation, and the need to hold accountable those who initiate and conduct illegal wars. Additionally and importantly, we also report on the efforts of the many people who sacrifice their time, money, and comfort to work for peace.
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