by Nicholas DeVincenzo
(Swans - March 28, 2005) My father was an Italian immigrant and a marine who fought in World War II. He died a few years back and had a military funeral. As his oldest son I was presented with the flag that draped over his coffin. That flag means a lot to me, and I know what it meant to my father. Why I am telling you about my father is to point out that though I have never served in the military or seen combat, I know indirectly what war does to people, and to their families.
My father was in and out of the mental wards of veterans and state hospitals most of his life. The last years of his life were spent in a veterans home in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Throughout my life I got to meet and see the side of war that isn't so glorious. As a young boy, because of my father's mental problems, other World War II vets helped me make sense of things; they explained to me that war is hell, and what it can do to the men and women who fight in them. They knew all too well what my father had gone through. I will always be grateful to them for their wisdom and kindness. So when I see men who did not serve, like Cheney, and Bush (who sort of served) waging a war of aggression predicated on lies, I am compelled to speak out against them.
Each pretext this administration used to justify the invasion, such as WMDs or linking Iraq with 9/11 has been proven to be false. The new (post invasion) reason given is that America has been chosen to democratize the world. A noble idea, but realistically, destroying the infrastructure of a country, and killing the very people that you are supposed to be liberating is insane (100,000 Iraqi civilians killed). Many of our troops are starting to question what our president has done. The establishment of military bases and the control of Iraqi oil are just two of the real reasons for the war. (America uses 20 million barrels of oil a day.) The truth is that the invasion of Iraq and the reordering of the Middle East was planned long before the events of 9/11. This is all stated quite clearly within the writings of the neo-conservative think tank called PNAC (Project for a New American Century). In fact 9/11 was the catalyzing event the neo-cons were hoping for in order to hasten their foreign policy goals. It was their new "Pearl Harbor."
I ask you, who are these men, claiming moral superiority, that have sent our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers, to endure the horrors of war? Some would have us believe that it is GOD'S will that has led us into the quagmire in Iraq, and not the plans of mere men, whose perception of America's future may be fundamentally flawed. Getting you to agree with them is the job of Bush's spin doctors and perception management team (the linchpin being the trauma of September 11th).
The right to dissent is an essential component of our democracy. My father and many others fought for the freedom I have to question the motives of our government officials. No one should think they are not supporting the troops or being unpatriotic by doing so. I want the Iraqi people and the world to know that there are many Americans who are aware of, and opposed to this administration's corruption and deceit. Bush and company have no mandate since half of us voted against their policies.
I would like to take a moment to publicly apologize to the people of Iraq, and to offer my heartfelt support to the US troops and their families. With so many lives at stake, as citizens of this republic, it is our duty to understand what has been done in our names.