Third Anniversary of Iraq War - Speech
Port Angeles Rally
March 18, 2006
to bring them home.
time for our country to heal.
Good Afternoon. My name is Jenny Keesey. I represent Military
Families Speak Out.
Tomorrow we enter our fourth year in Iraq.
Today we gather to raise our collective voice in opposition to a war that was based on lies and to oppose the policies that
sent our troops into harms way for motives we will never fully know. We gather to voice our outrage at a government
that casts a blind eye and deaf ear toward the citizens of this country. All across the nation, people are gathering
– just as we are – to demand that our government bring our troops home now. Not over the course of several
years, not over the course of 12 months, but NOW.
For as long as I can remember, my son’s
dream has been to be a soldier. He announced this to me when he was five years old. A few years later, he and
his two best friends made a sacred pact that only nine-year-old boys can make. They pledged that they would all join
the military and be soldiers as soon as they were old enough.
Through the years, and sometimes across
many miles, these three boys held fast to their pledge and their friendship to each other. Our families have grown close
because of the bond between these men. Two of us are single Moms that wondered if we would ever survive raising teenage
boys. We shared in their joys, their not-so-wonderful moments, and now we (all three families) share the unease of the
In 2002, two boys joined the Army and
the other joined the Marines. Today, one is in Fallujah, one is at Ft Hood, Texas awaiting deployment early next month
to Baghdad, and one is scheduled to deploy early next year. They have not second-guessed their decision to join the
military. They do not regret it. All are proud to wear the uniform, and all understand much better than our leaders
do the responsibilities that go along with wearing the uniform.
They carry the pride of their accomplishments
and their newfound self-respect like a badge of honor. Before he left for his duty station, I asked my son just what
it was that made him want to join the military. He assured me that he didn’t join for the college money, he didn’t
join for the medical benefits, and he didn’t join to see the world, although seeing the world, he said, was a great
bonus. He simply said it was what he was meant to do. It was that clear-cut.
I respect my son. I respect all
three of these boys. But, I do not respect this war or the people who took us there.
The arrogance of our leaders resulted
in the squandering of any goodwill the world felt for us before the war began. When I speak of leaders, I mean all of
our leaders, from the Oval Office to the Senate to the House of Representatives. Where we - as a nation and as a people
- are at this moment, is a result of a meltdown that spans political parties and all branches of government. While
we were lied to by one branch of the government, the other branch stood silently by while our troops were sent into harms
way without a plan to succeed and without the equipment they needed to be safe.
For those of us at home who questioned
or criticized our government, we were labeled as unpatriotic – un-American. Over the course of the past three
years, it has been drummed into our heads, through hate radio and special interest TV media, that this is a fearful time to
be an American. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of living in fear. I’m tired of being
told how I am supposed to think and what I’m supposed to fear. I can tell you that it is not the fear of terrorists
that keeps me up at night. It is the fear of knowing my boys are fighting for a lie and that my government is in a horrible
We cannot demand the freedoms of our Constitution
if we are not willing to stand up and voice our opposition when our leaders take us down the wrong path. I would
like to read to you a statement made by conservative Ohio Senator Robert Taft. He said, “ As a matter of
general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind
of democratic government. Too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some
comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments,
they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do
the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise
occur.” Senator Taft made this statement just a few short days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
A recent survey revealed that 72% of military
personnel believe that it is time to leave Iraq.
A recent Gallup Poll survey has revealed
that 51% of Americans now believe that we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction.
67% are now convinced that there is not
a clear plan for Iraq.
When asked how Americans felt it was going
in Iraq 60% of those polled stated that it is going badly.
Finally, when asked if going into Iraq
was a mistake 57% of those surveyed said that it was.
It is our duty to hold our elected officials
accountable. More importantly it is our responsibility – no, it’s our obligation - to our soldiers.
They need us to do that now more than ever. They need us to stand up for them as they would stand up for us.
We must get them home now and take care of them when they get here. Not one more dime should be spent for the sake of
killing. Not one more life should be lost. The cost of losing a loved one is too much to ask of our families.
Putting their lives on the line for a cause that has been nothing more than a lie is too much to ask of our soldiers.
It’s time to bring them home.
It’s time for our country to heal.