In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

Michael Ferner Addresses Veterans for Peace Convention

Veterans for Peace National Convention in Washington, DC.
August 5 - 9, 2009
University of Maryland, College Park

Mike Ferner is the President of Veterans for Peace. Following is the text of his address at the 2009 Washington DC March on the Pentagon:

Mike Ferner, Statement at Washington D.C. March on the Pentagon

March 21, 2009 - Marking the 6th commemoration of the invasion of Iraq.

There is a haunting Australian folk song called "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," a recounting of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in WWI where over 40,000 Allied troops were slaughtered.

One verse describes hundreds of wounded being carried down the gangway of a hospital ship back in Australia, calling them "the armless, the legless, the blind, the insane" of Suvla Bay.

When I think of those words, I recall the hundreds of ambulatory wounded waiting in line for meals at the Navy hospital where I was stationed during the Vietnam war. They were all there -- the armless, the legless, the blind. The insane were locked on the psychiatric ward where I worked.

That, brothers and sisters, was merely a portion of the true cost of that war. Once again we are paying that price with our loved ones, families and communities. And here's a piece of advice for the Obama administration: don't tell us about new programs to treat the soldier suicide epidemic. You send people to way, you get suicided, PTSD and violence back home. It's an unavoidable equation. If you want a presecription for these problems there's only one: abolish war!

And yet, no matter how high the cost to us, it is always much more for the people under our bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

To give an illustration, here's what our costs would be if the casualties suffered by the Iraqi people hit us proportionately in the U.S. Comparable casualties in our country would mean that every person in Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Ft. Worth, Baltimore, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia would be killed. Every...single...person.

In addition, every person in Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Oregon, South Carolina and Colorado would be wounded. Every...single...person.

So if this administration won't rrescribe the abolishment of war, we have a prescription of our own from Howard Zinn: "Civil disobedience in not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders...and millions have been killed because of this obedience...Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupididy and war...our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves...and the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem."

Vision Without Glasses


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