A member of MFSO Pacific Northwest speaks out on the Consequences of Foreign Policy.
My name is Adele Kubein, I am a spokesperson for Military Families Speak Out, and the mother of an injured
Guard member. I am also a student of political science and foreign policy. I could speak of the reasons we should not have
attacked Iraq, and of the consequences of this illegal war. But here are people more qualified than I to speak on these matters;
what I speak of is the personal effect of U.S. foreign policy on my family and Iraqi families.
When my daughter was deployed to Iraq in April of 2003, her Guard unit was told they would be welcomed with
flowers and candy; that they were going to Iraq to liberate the nation, to build schools and orphanages. Just as the soldiers
who went to Vietnam were told that the Vietnamese had asked for their help, so were our loved ones lied to.
What these soldiers were not told is that they were entering nations "softened up" by bombings, and made bitter
by years of sanctions and abuse on the part of their own rulers aided by the United States for its own strategic reasons.
These soldiers did not find what they expected, and they reacted as any person under threat does: they began to engage in
The war should never have begun, but once it was, there was a narrow window of opportunity to get the troops
back out, and allow the rest of the world to help a liberated Iraq form a government suitable to its culture. Instead, in
their hubris, the administration thought it could occupy a nation of people who have fought off foreign occupation before.
The very real consequences to me personally have been tragic. I raised my daughter to love all life, to be
generous and kind. When she left for Iraq she thought she would help, and make friends. She knew war is not the way to solve
problems; but as many of us did, she thought we would exit Iraq swiftly. The American public trusted the administration to
have an exit strategy, and so did she.
Instead of building and helping, she was put to man a fifty caliber gun on a humvee. On her first convoy from
Kuwait to Mosul, she had no ammunition, no body armor, and the unit had only one meal a day and hardly any water for almost
a month. The criminal negligence of this administration did not stop at allowing chaos to be inflicted on the Iraqi people
upon invasion, it extended to its own troops.
At first she did make friends, share meals with Iraqi families, but the blunders of this administration removed
all possibility of our occupation to bring peace to Iraq. She began to fight to preserve her life and the safety of her fellow
At first I thought that once we had broken the country, we needed to stay to fix it, but any thinking mind
can see that the longer we stay the worse the consequences to the Iraqi people. American troops are the magnets that attract
death and destruction to the Iraqi people.
Women could once walk the streets of Baghdad with their children, hold jobs, and lead normal lives; Mosul
was a thriving city of 2 million people, Fallujah a center of religion. Now these cities are in rubble, women live in fear
and poverty, children starve and families are split. I saw a photo of a wailing Iraqi man with his bloodied child in his arms;
he was frantically looking for a hospital to treat his mortally wounded daughter. This scene is repeated thousands of times
over. How can we condone destroying a nation to bring democracy to it?
Foreign policy is a dispassionate term, but in reality it is grieving families, wondering why this disaster
is upon them, it is my daughter, injured and crippled for life, who will never run or hike again.
It is what she calls "the gaping black hole" in her soul.
I nurtured my daughter when she was a child, just as Iraqi families nurture their children. Our children now
take up arms and kill other humans, pawns of governments and groups that treat them as disposable killing machines. We value
individuality and choice, but a single act of killing strips away all that makes us human. When my daughter called me sobbing
and told me that she looked in a young man’s eyes as he died from her bullet, she knew she had lost her humanity for
a time. She will bear the burden for the rest of her life, as the once great nation of Iraq will bear the scars of U.S. occupation
for ever. This is the true consequence of our foreign policy. As ethical people we cannot turn away from what we have wrought,
we must stop the invasion now and help the Iraqi people to regain dignity and peace. We owe it to them and to ourselves.
For teach in and peace march event "Saying No to War and Occupation", Portland, Oregon, March 19, 2005.
This event is co-sponsored by Peace and Justice Works, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, PSU Students United for Nonviolence,
and Portland Campus Christian Ministry, and others. Endorsed by war Resisters League, Women’s International League for
Peace and Freedom and others.
Location: Portland State University Campus Ministry. 633 SW Montgomery, Portland Oregon.
This speech may be used by Military Families Speak Out and other peace-oriented organizations, as long
as attribution is made as to authorship and location of speech. AK