In case you couldn't make it to Crawford's historic
Peace Rally . . . here is the text of a speech
Greetings. I would like to say a few words about the purpose of this rally.
We have not come here to fault the American men and women in the armed forces. Our military personnel deserve our sincere gratitude and our utmost
respect. The courage it takes to answer the call of country during these
confusing times surpasses imagination.
Neither is our object here to justify the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Hussein is a tyrant. He and those who support him should be uprooted and
their government destroyed.
The issue here is also not one of competing degrees of loss. We do not fail
to grieve for the victims of the fall of the World Trade Center. Although
American sanctions of Iraq have cost as many lives every month for ten years
now as America lost in that one blow two years ago, the numbers are not of
consequence here. Each life lost to war--whether American or Iraqi, Palestinian or Jew, North Korean or
South--each life lost is a specific life, whose loss cannot be tallied against
the loss of any other, and for those who loved that life, there will be no
measure that allows their grief to be compared to any other grief.
No, we here do not diminish the valor of those in our armed forces, nor do we
support a vicious foreign dictator, nor do we slight the deaths of minorities
anywhere nor diminish the wounding of our own country. Our presence here is
to consider whether the United States of America, our country, should initiate
a war against Iraq.
Each person here has his or her own beliefs concerning this issue, and his or
her reasons for those beliefs. There are good reasons for every stand to be
taken on this question. In fact, most Americans now are so divided, even
within themselves, about this war that they are squarely planted on both
sides of the issue, believing at once that we have to go to war, and yet
declaring to the same pollster that we must not do so.
I myself take a stand against this war for two general reasons. Years ago, I
had an Uncle "Mac" McAchran, who was a career Navy man of precise military
bearing. He was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed; I've forgotten the name
of his ship, but it escaped to the mouth of the harbor.
One time, Uncle Mac was on a furlough and was drinking in a bar. As frequently
happened, a friendly fight broke out between the Navy men and the Marines, who also happened to be
relaxing at that same bar. Soon the whole place was in an uproar, and Uncle Mac, a physically small person,
looked about himself, wishing to find an excuse to join the fray.
At about that time a huge Marine was suddenly pushed into Mac's space by
the general chaos, and Mac seized his opportunity. He hauled back and hit
the staggering Marine squarely in the jaw with all his might. Here is what
The big fellow stopped, squared his shoulders, shook his head a couple of
times, and looked down at little Uncle Mac, a strange and questioning look.
"Just why," he said in a slow, country drawl, "Did you do that?"
Mac always wondered: just why did he?
In short, one of the reasons I do not support this war on Iraq is because we
are muddled about "just why" we are going to fight them. The reasons given
have been many and confusing, and before we lash out we need to clear our
heads. Going along with this, it is also apparent that we don't know just
what we are going up against, and what we expect to do with the outcome we
generate. From where I sit, the consequences of any outcome, even victory,
are not going to be good. We are unsettling a huge, unpredictable area.
I have another, closer to the heart, reason for being against any war, including the war against Iraq. It is the
No one should be able to look into the eyes of the children of Baghdad and
then release missiles against them, calling their pain and their tiny, innocent deaths "collateral damage."
There simply has to be another way.
I want my country to be one of the good guys in this desperate world. I call
on you today to begin on a path toward peace. I call on you today to imagine,
to believe in, to stand for another way.