Speech by Iraq Vet against the occupation
My name is Adam Kokesh and I am a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Today I wave the American flag with great pride. I wave it upside-down because I love my country, but it is in a state of distress. It is for my love of country that I am here today. I am here to return our democracy to its potential greatness.
I am against this war because it is bad for America. It is bad for our security. It is bad for our national defense. It is bad for our ability to fight terrorism. It is bad for our stature abroad. It is bad for our military. And it is bad for our brothers and sisters who continue to lose their lives every day in a futile occupation.
We recently heard the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Unfortunately, General Petraeus was acting in his roll as a political appointee and not as a soldier. We heard the same spin from the President. The suggested draw-down is actually a forced withdrawal. When the five brigades of the surge come home, we will have no replacements available to replace them. They have attempted to spin this by saying that they could request more troops. They may be right. They could further destroy our military by doing so, but I pray they don’t.
As we all know now, we were lied into this war and it is lies that are keeping us there. They lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction, they lied about Jessica Lynch, they lied about Pat Tillman, and they lied about Al Qaeda and Saddam. And those are just the lies we know about!
But I’m not so mad that I was lied to, as I am that I cannot trust my government any more. It astounds me that yet so many Americans want more than anything to trust our government. When will we wake up, and realize that the power of the truth is greater than any force brought to bear by any Army ever fielded?
But there are some lies that are being told to our children every day in order to convince them to sign up to be sent into the Baghdad meat grinder. Proponents of the policy in Iraq are quick to point out that everyone in the military volunteered, but what does that mean if most of them were tricked into enlisting by the lies that recruiters tell every day? It means that to support the troops means to cut through the lies, bring them home, and stop this criminal occupation!
Since joining the military came to mean fighting for a lie, they have become so desperate, that the age and weight standards have been raised; there are a record number of “morality waivers” for convicted felons; it is now easy to get in without a high school diploma; even convicted rapists are allowed to enlist. With the standards lowered at the highest levels of decision-making, we can only imagine what recruiters are resorting to when they have trouble meeting their monthly quotas.
We have come to a point in history when our government’s intents are so far from the will of the people that we have to rise up! WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW, RESISTANCE BECOMES DUTY!
How do you resist liars? Speak the truth. How do you stop a war based on lies? It starts with the truth! When we take away these lies, we can force our government to choose between no military or one based on truth, that truly represents the will of the people. Iraq Veterans Against the War are kicking off our Truth In Recruiting Campaign with National Truth In Recruiting Day on Monday and asking concerned citizens to share our truth with those affected by our government’s lies the most. If you will be in the DC area on Monday, be in front of Union Station between 7am and 1pm for instructions and materials.
In the immortal words of Dave Cline, a dedicated warrior for peace and justice who passed away yesterday suffering from the effects of Agent Orange and three bullet wounds suffered in Vietnam: There is something you should know before you go. They wave the flag when you attack, when you come home they turn their backs.”
Iraq Veterans Against the War has put the truth in your hands. In the words of Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Start walking America, because it is our lies that are now ravaging a sovereign nation on the other side of the world.
Today, we are marching to deliver a message to Congress. We will be dying-in to portray for them the cost of this war in human lives, and to send a clear message that we the people are rising up. This action is in solidarity with the people marching today in Baghdad who peacefully oppose the occupation of their country. Unfortunately, for those who have witnessed the occupation first hand, the deaths we will be portraying are all too real. The message reads:
We have come before you today with a simple message: as a representation of the people you have failed us and you have blood on your hands. This is blood that the American people will not allow to continue to be spilled in our name any longer. Today we are marching in solidarity with the Iraqi people who want the occupation to end. It is fully within your power to stop this tragedy.
You have just heard the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. General Casey was replaced by General Petraeus because he would not support the President’s agenda of keeping as many troops deployed as long as possible, keeping our military teetering at the breaking point. General Petraeus was selected for this position not only because of his abilities as a soldier, but also for political purposes. When he testified before you he was acting in his role as a political appointee. He told you the surge was working. This is the same absurd optimism that we have been hearing since the beginning of this occupation from its proponents: the insurgency is in its last throes; we are turning the corner. Why do you still believe these people?
We have come before you to ask that you consider the cost in human life of this conflict so far. We are also here to tell you that we will not stand for this corruption of our democracy any longer. We the people are in the streets. We the people are fed up. We the people are ready to rise up and take back our democracy.
The Empowered Patriots
Today marks a turning point for our movement. Today we make the shift from protesting to direct action. Today we begin to restore the rightful order in our democracy. Today is the day the people stop fearing the government, and the government starts fearing the people!
Today may very well mark the beginning of the American anti-fascism revolution. March with us. Honor the dead with us. If you are willing to risk arrest, lie in the street, if not, lie in the grass. Die-in when you hear the air raid sirens. Raise your voice and your fist with us in defiance to send a message to our leadership. If you will not make peace for us, we will make it for ourselves! Power to the people!