- Remarks delivered (March 19) to the anti-war rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on the 8th Anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.
- Our need to memorialize the instances we have been lied to by our government, that has allowed us to feel justified in taking military actions.
Wayne Witmann, Veterans for Peace
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Thank all of you for coming to the rally commemorating the initiation of the invasion of Iraq. My remarks today are going to be centered around our need to memorialize the instances we have been lied to by our government, that has allowed us to feel justified in taking military actions.
I recall from my history courses that there were some real questions about the attack on the battleship Maine which sparked the Spanish – American war that led to a great expansion of our empire. Once the war started we never bothered to go back and revisit the instant to see what actually did happen with the battleship Maine as it appears we were content to occupy the lands we won and set up puppet States we knew we could control.
Similar situation appears to have occurred bring our involvement into World War I, with the sinking of the Luesitania. We did not look critically at that happening, but got involved in shaping the post war world, with the promise that World War I was to be a war to end all future wars and, after all, we got rid of the Kaiser.
Many historians now are contending that the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was not a surprise attack. A decision was made to remove our carriers from the port so they would not be a target. We have a monument right over there noting the first shot fired of World War II for the United States occurred when the USS Ward sank a Japanese submarine about 2 hours before the attack on the fleet, after all we got rid of Hitler Mussolini and Tojo.
It is now well documented that the Tonkin Bay incident was a fabrication which was used to justify the Vietnam tragedy with the intent to depose Ho Chi Mighn and stop the advance of communism.
In our own lifetime we know that President Bush Senior in 1989 was bent on invading Panama and just needed an incident. Failing to promote one by soldier abuse of the citizens of Panama he finally found an incident, he said an officer’s wife was harassed and intimidated by Panamanian solders at a check-point. With this evidence an invasion of Panama was launched with much loss of life and we did capture and imprison Noriega..
Today there is a movement with growing support to find out really what happened in New York City and Washington D. C. on September 11, 2001. This effort in spite of a massive effort to thwart it is gaining ground and brave people are demanding to know who may have abetted these terrible crimes and what really did happen that day.
The one thing we do know is we were lied to and deceived on March 19, 2003.
It is appropriate that we be here today and work to commemorate this date every year to remind ourselves that we have a history of being lied to and to commit ourselves to be critical thinkers. Having lived 81 years, most of it not wanting to ask the questions, and being comfortable in accepting what our military government was telling me, although I knew I probably was being lied to, but not wanting to make a fuss, kept my mouth shut and went along with the deceit. By our being here today we are letting the powers in our country know we are going to be examining what they do and we will do what we can to call out our government leaders and hold them accountable and not let them forget what they do and what is to be their legacy.
We are challenged today by the events in Northern Africa and other areas of the Middle East. We are tempted today to identify with the yearning of the people of the affected areas for more freedom and a better life in their opposition to the repressive governments under which they live by the unilateral use of our military forces. We must take care to avoid thinking we can solve the problems with our massive military might. We are challenged in our own culture by the assault on the basic hard won right to join with other workers, and create a union to have a say about the place we work and promote workers interests. It may be more prudent for us to attend to our own business and encourage others to do the same as we recall our Veterans For Peace Statement of Purpose noting we will restrain our government from intervening overtly and covertly in the internal affairs of other nations.
I want to thank the organizers of this event for allowing me to share these comments with you, you are welcome get a copy of our War Times and I look forward to chatting with you at the Black dog café.