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by Pablo Paredes, posted by LiberatedInformation
Thursday, May. 05, 2005 at 2:30 PM
It has been months since I publicly refused to assist in destroying Iraq. I did so by refusing to Board the USS Bon Homme Richard and refusing to become complicit in this illegal and morally anemic plight in Iraq. There have been moments when it seemed to me that the military would work within the rule of its own laws and grant me Conscientious Objector Status, but those moments are far behind me.
The Human Argument Against War by Pablo Paredes
To whom it may concern,
It has been months since I publicly refused to assist in destroying Iraq. I did so by refusing to Board the USS Bon Homme Richard and refusing to become complicit in this illegal and morally anemic plight in Iraq. There have been moments when it seemed to me that the military would work within the rule of its own laws and grant me Conscientious Objector Status, but those moments are far behind me. I see even clearer now, that like the last 4 and a half years of my own life, everyone who has enlisted in the cause of war, however indirectly, has no autonomy. There are strings being pulled that force our hands. This is why young people like me at times execute the aggression of a select and elite few. The strings come in many forms and are often undetectable, but nevertheless effective. They come in the obvious forms of the military and its chain of command, to the servicemembers; they come in the form of Corporate dominated “journalism”, to the citizens; and in the form of corporate-owned politicians, to the voters. And until we learn to seek out the source of our oppression and rip the strings off our backs and limbs, then as much as it saddens me to say, Iraqis will continue to suffer, Palestinians will continue to suffer, Hatians will continue to suffer, Poor people everywhere will continue to suffer.
I elected to carry a cross with me. A cross that will take away my freedom, and incarcerate me for a time. My family and a community of caring people who have embraced this struggle help me carry this minor cross. But it is those for whom I carry this minor cross, that truly need our help. It is the Iraqis that die for nothing more than believing they have a right to exist in their own country who need help. It is the Iraqi families who loose children, mothers and fathers for no other reason than believing they have a right to breath their own air. It is the misled soldiers with heroism in their heart and courage in their blood, who die at the hands of those they are misled into believing they are helping, it is they who need help carrying their cross. It is the families here at home who are left alone to mourn their unjust losses. It is the communities who are loosing their leaders of tomorrow and their resources of today, who desperately need our help. It is humanity as a whole that is carrying the mighty weight of unprovoked, unnecessary and unjust violence.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know what all of us are taught at a very early age: violence is not the answer. Politically and morally I have very strong convictions against war and the politics that led to this one, but I don’t ever loose sight of the basic human quality that renders war, as a means of foreign policy or conflict resolution, obsolete: our sensitivity. Had we been born with no heartbeat and lacking the ability to weep and feel, then war would seem a simple solution to many problems. But the fact is, whatever race, religion, or political point of view that we espouse, we are all human beings first. Before we are partison, before we are of any ethnicity, before we are of any religion, before we claim any race, we must accept that we all make up the human race. We all understand ourselves to be a family called humanity and we feel each other’s pain and we cry each other’s tears. I believe that even the loudest war hawk in the world, if confronted face-to-face with a woman holding the lifeless body of a child whose blood dilutes in her mother’s tears, would weep and sob with guilt and compassion, and run not walk toward the light of resistance.
Unfortunately, many have removed themselves so far from the realities of places like Iraq that they can use a warped sense of cost/benefit analysis to make decisions - such as how much money can be made versus how many American lives can be lost before public opinion shifts.
These same elite war profiteers that never look their victims in the eye, expect the citizenry of the world to follow suite and give up the quality which makes us human. They want us to watch filtered news and cleansed reports and give a thumbs up to the brutal murders that happen daily in Iraq and elsewhere. They want us to pretend Iraqis are not human beings: they are Islamic Fundamentalists, they are Terrorists, they are Insurgents trying to murder our young boys over there. Boys who are only there trying to help them, and they, the Iraqis are Less-than-Human people who do this because it is Their Nature. They hate us for Our Freedom and that hate drives them to murder and to suicide bombings.
See, the Beneficiaries of War (measured easiest by those who wouldn’t dream of taking part in war first hand and yet reap the profits daily) would like us to believe that American lives matter and Iraqi lives don’t. It is for this reason that our government has gone as far as to forbid us from counting the death toll in Iraq.
We live in a country that is and will be what we make it, as its citizens. This country was built on virtues; whether only rhetoric remains of those virtues; or their spirit lives on is up to us. We believe and are taught in our schools that in America we value freedom to such a degree, that we would sooner let one hundred criminals go free than allow one innocent citizen to land unjustly in Jail. So in a time when the most intellectual bombs available continue to kill civilians, we have to ask ourselves: Could any one of us press a button, or fly a mission, or in any way be involved in a war in which we know for a fact that the casualties will overwhelmingly be innocent people? Could we really murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people just for the slight possibility that there is a chance we might be stopping substantial acts of terrorism? The fact is we cannot know or even strongly suggest that such actions will counter Terrorism. In fact the verdict is in and violence actually inspires terrorism. So could we push the button, could we fly that mission, could we torture that prisoner?
Unfortunately the answer is that not only can we do all these things but we have, and we continue to carry out this wholesale murder and destruction of innocent people and communities and we do it better than any other nation on the planet has done in all of human history.
I call on everyone who hears my voice, or reads these words, to reclaim their humanity. Refuse, as every member of humanity should, to promote this mass violence against innocent people. I happen to believe in the rhetoric that finds it better to release the guilty than imprison the innocent. And I believe if this war costs the life of one innocent person then it is not the answer. With that being said, and knowing that this war has, in fact, cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, there is not one fiber of my being that can support it.
As human beings we must refuse to take part in our own destruction, on all levels. We cannot pay taxes that finance the aggression. We can not invest in companies that profit from Iraqi blood. We cannot support politicians who will not call for an end to the violence yesterday, not tomorrow or six months from today. We must eradicate ourselves of the supremacist tendencies that tell us other people, specifically brown people, cannot govern themselves without our Noble, more able hands. We cannot allow our classrooms to be harvested by recruiters who play on the blind courage and need for independence that they see in the innocent eyes of our youth. We must resist in every way and in all walks of life. Humanity depends on our ability to resist. On May 10th, in San Diego, three Voices of Resistance will tell their stories. Camilo Mejia will speak of the 9 months of incarceration he gladly suffered for showing his humanity and publicly refusing to lend his efforts to the violence in Iraq. Aidan Delgado will speak of the inhumanity he witnessed in Iraq, which led him to leave the military as a Conscientious Objector. I will speak of what it took for me to reaffirm my humanity and resist this war; and how small a price to pay it is, no matter what amount of prison time I am handed, for living with peace of mind, a clear conscience and my humanity in tact. I hope that anyone who still believes in Humanity will come out to hear our Voices.
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