Why We Oppose George Bush's Iraq War|
Remarks by Bob Fertik
Co-founder of Democrats.com
United Nations, September 12 2002
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you for coming today to protest George Bush's planned invasion of Iraq.
You did not have to come here this morning. All of us continue to mourn the first anniversary of 9-11. The news media can change its headlines every hour, but the pain in our heart endures.
We are here today not because we want to be - but because we have to be.
We are here to mourn the enormous tragedy of yesterday - and to prevent an even greater tragedy tomorrow.
One block away, George W. Bush is urging the world to go to war.
As Americans, we ask a simple question: Why?
One year ago yesterday, America was attacked by a terrorist organization with its headquarters in Afghanistan. Of the 19 killers who took over 3,000 lives, 15 came from Saudi Arabia - our closest ally in the Arab world. The other 4 came from Arab countries that are also our allies.
Not one came from Iraq.
America lives in fear of another terrorist attack. But our enemy is called Al Qaeda - not Iraq - and its leader is called Osama Bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein.
George W. Bush cannot tell the difference between Al Qaeda and Iraq. He does not know the difference between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
George W. Bush is a simple person - and he simply wants war.
George W. Bush is proud of his ability to make hard questions seem easy. We can do the same.
Do we, the people of America, want war? No!
War is not heroic. War is not patriotic.
War is psychotic. War is Hell.
Mr. Bush, you never fought in a war, so you have no idea what war is like. You could have fought for your country in Vietnam, but you were a coward. You used your family connections to get into the National Guard, and you sent some poor young man whose name will never be known to fight and die in your place.
We have with us today a brave World War II veteran, Larry Lader, we will shortly invite to speak. Are there other veterans here? Please raise your hands.
Mr. Bush, you spent one million of our tax dollars to learn how to fly a combat plane. And then you got drunk - rotten, stinking drunk. So drunk that you couldn't pass the Air Force physical exam. So you were grounded from flight, and you deserted your country during war. If you were the son of an ordinary American, you would have gone to jail. But because your name is Bush, you became President instead.
But even that's not right. To become President, you have to win the election. Mr. Bush, you never won the 2000 election. You lost by over half a million votes. And you lost Florida too, despite your brother Jeb, who still can't run an honest election. The only election you won was a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court - and every single vote came from a judge appointed or promoted when your father was in the White House.
On NPR this morning, Mara Liasson said September 11 was the day Americans forgot the Stolen Election and the day you became the President.
Mr. Bush, you did not become the President on September 11. Before you arrived at the Booker Elementary School that morning, you knew America was under attack. Twice you said you even saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center at 8:46 - which no one else saw - and we watched your Chief of Staff tell you about the second at 9:05. Yet for 25 more minutes you just sat there, reading a story about a goat.
While four hijacked planes circled the skies with terrified passengers on board, while three buildings exploded in flames and collapsed, extinguishing three thousand lives, while terrified Americans waited for a real President to take charge, you were not the President - you did nothing.
You did not fulfill your campaign promise to restore honor and integrity to the White House, because you sold our national policies to your highest campaign bidders, men like Enron's Ken Lay. And you did not fulfill your oath to protect and defend the Constitution because you took away our freedom and our rights.
Mr. Bush, you are not a legitimate President. And you do not have the power - or the right - to send our precious children off to war.
Mr. Bush, let me quote some words of your own. These are not words from a distant past, or even before 9-11. These are the words you spoke just last night, looking straight into the camera, speaking to the people of America and the world, pretending to tell the truth:
"Our deepest national conviction is that every life is precious, because every life is the gift of a creator who intended us to live in liberty and equality. More than anything else, this separates us from the enemy we fight. We value every life; our enemies value none - not even the innocent; not even their own."
Mr. Bush, we know you did not write those words. But you read them. And their meaning is so utterly clear that even you can understand what they mean:
Mr. Bush, your words mean killing is wrong. And since war is nothing but organized killing, war is wrong.
Iraq has not attacked us. Iraq has not even threatened us. Iraq does not seek war with us, because they know they would be destroyed.
Mr. Bush, the American people will not start a war against Iraq for exactly the reason you said. "Our deepest national conviction is that every life is precious" - including the life of every Iraqi, including every Iraqi child.
Mr. Bush, your Republican Party impeached President Bill Clinton because he lied about sex, which is the affirmation of love and life.
But instead, you lie about war, which is the embrace of hatred and death.
Mr. Bush, we have put up with your hatred and lies for too long.
Today, we the people of the United States, join hands with the people of the world.
We declare that America will not start a war against Iraq.
We declare that America will not spill precious Iraqi and American blood, or take precious Iraqi and American life.
We declare that America will not join you in embracing death.
This November, we will sweep every death-embracing Republican out of office, and elect life-affirming Democrats in their place.
And when we gain control of Congress, we will change America's policies and hold you accountable for your lies.
Americans are a tolerant people. But for the past two years, we have tolerated far too much.
God Bless America. God Bless Democracy. And God Bless Peace!