May 23, 2013
Raise Your Voices, Protest, Stop These Wars
Posted on Dec 31, 2010
By Ron Kovic
More than 40 years have passed since Dr. King spoke those words to an overflow crowd at the Riverside Church in New York City in 1967, and the tragic lessons of Vietnam continue to go unheeded. The same patterns of wars, lies, aggression and brutality continue to repeat themselves. Another country, another occupation, another reason to hate and fear, but in the end it is the same crime being committed over and over again, the same innocent civilians being killed, the same young men and women returning home in caskets and body bags and wheelchairs.
We have petitioned our government time and time again. We have peacefully marched and demonstrated for over a decade, yet the killing and mayhem continues. Precious lives continue to be wasted as another generation of young men and women are squandered in this, our latest foreign policy debacle.
Our leaders refuse to listen. They refuse to learn. How many more senseless wars, flag-draped caskets, grieving mothers, paraplegics, amputees, stressed-out sons and daughters, innocent civilians slaughtered before we finally decide to break the silence of this shameful night? Many of us trusted and believed that change would come, that these wars would end, and that we would finally we be listened to. But that is not at all what has happened. We have been tragically misled.
We have been deceived and betrayed. We have been promised peace and we have been given war. We have been told there would be change and nothing is changing. Rather than learning the lessons from the disastrous fiasco in Iraq, our government continues down the path of destruction, brutality, aggression and war, dragging us deeper into another senseless and unnecessary conflict in Afghanistan. The physical and psychological battles from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will rage on for decades, deeply impacting the lives of citizens in all countries involved.
I have come to believe that there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war, and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.
A time comes when a people can no longer wait. A time comes when the agonies, the suffering, have become too great. A time comes when a people must act and do what is necessary. Lives are at stake. No longer can we trust the president or politicians to end these wars. No longer can we believe them when they say the troops will come home soon. They have long since lost their credibility.
Each day that passes, another life is lost. Each hour that this war drags on, the need for a daring new approach by the anti-war movement becomes more apparent. Bold, creative, and imaginative leadership is needed, and I do not believe there is a group more suited for that task at this time than the veterans of our nation’s most recent conflict.
At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, including troops now serving in the armed forces of the United States, led a dramatic act of nonviolent civil disobedience in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., with other brave veterans and citizens, protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling for all troops to be brought home immediately and without delay. (Click here to learn more about this action)
May this action and others like it in the days ahead represent a growing awareness by the American people that only they can end these wars and begin to redirect the priorities of our nation toward more positive and life-affirming goals.
I am writing this letter to you today asking you to join them on that day—and the difficult days ahead, to bravely and with great dignity step over that line you’ve not stepped over before and begin to exert that powerful moral force you as veterans and active-duty troops represent; to raise your voices, to protest, to demonstrate, to end these wars and make our country a better place.
This is my hope. This is my prayer.
With great admiration and respect,
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