I want to thank everyone who participated in our Veteran’s Day Memorial and Peace Rally. We powerfully took a stand for peace. Veteran’s Day is a day of peace. It began as Armistice Day in recognition of Nov. 11, 1918, the day World War I ended. That was a day of peaceful celebration and demonstration. In 1938, Congress passed a bill that each Nov. 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace." Nov. 11 is a day when weapons are to be put down and laid to rest forever. We think of those who have sacrificed. We think of those who served, those who lived and those who died. We also think of those who are innocently caught up, trapped and destroyed by war. We look at our own children and we pray that they are never touched by the horrors of war.
A retired U.S. military officer spoke at my children’s elementary school on Veteran’s Day and he said, "War is a terrible thing. I know. I have been there. But we only have wars when it is absolutely necessary." Sixty-five percent of Americans now believe it was not worth going to war in Iraq and disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq. Every one of us was lied to, which is what makes every day and every death more unacceptable. Those who perpetrated the lies, those who rushed this country and the world into a state of war, a state of suffering, debt and fear — those liars must be brought to justice. And what is the price they will pay? I will not make that judgment here today, but they must be removed. We must bring the troops home now. Some people say, "We can’t just bring the troops home." Why? The occupation of Iraq is unjustified, immoral, and illegal. Bring the troops home now. The death toll on all sides is mounting. Bring the troops home now. The occupation is making life miserable for ordinary Iraqis. Bring the troops home now. There is no end in sight to the conflict. Bring the troops home now. The cost of the Iraq war is soaring: $220 billion and counting. Bring the troops home now. The proposed transition to Iraqi power is a sham. Bring the troops home now. The war and occupation have expanded and inflamed terrorism, making our lives more dangerous and insecure. Bring the troops home now. The war and occupation are isolating the U.S. from the countries and the peoples of the world. Bring the troops home now. If the U.S. leaves, the Iraqi people can reassert control over their own country. Bring the troops home now. We are now faced with a global conflict that knows no boundaries and is so nebulous, so ill defined and ill conceived that it may never end. All we are told is that there is our side, and there is the other side. But our circumstances bring with it a chance for true global resistance. We must create a new side; the side that wants to understand and seek out the root causes of our struggle and wants to triumph over conflict itself. We must transform their dead into our dead, and our dead into theirs and we must challenge those around us to do the same. Peace is possible. And it begins within each of us.
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