Let no one deny we are patriots. We love our country, we hold dear
the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed
at what our President, his administration, and our Congress are
doing to, and in the name of, our great nation.
Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.
A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about
their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from
speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a
good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a
dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president.
That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That
person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience - a culture
where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing
what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I
suspect, that person is afraid - afraid we are right, afraid of the
truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in
with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws
and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the
worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.
In response to those who believe we should blindly support this
disastrous president, his administration, and the complacent,
complicit Congress, listen to the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a
great president and a Republican, who said: The President is merely
the most important among a large number of public servants. He
should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is
warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or
inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to
the Nation as a whole.
Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full
liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is
exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him
when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is
both base and servile.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or
that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only
unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American
public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one
else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or
unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
We are here today as truth-tellers.
And we are here to demand: "Give us the truth! Give us the truth!
Give us the truth!"
We are here today to insist that those who were elected to be our
leaders must tell us the truth.
We are here today to insist that our news media live up to its
sacred responsibility to ascertain and report the truth - rather
than acting like nothing more than a bulletin board for the lies and
propaganda of a manipulative, dishonest federal government.
We have been getting just about everything but the truth on matters
of life and death . . . on matters upon which our nation's
reputation hinges . . . on matters that directly relate to our
nation's fundamental values . . . and on matters relating to the
survival of our planet.
In the process, our nation has engaged in an unnecessary war, based
upon false justifications. More than a hundred thousand people have
been killed - and many more have been seriously maimed, brain
damaged, or rendered mentally ill.
Our nation's reputation throughout much of the world has been
destroyed. We have many more enemies bent on our destruction than
before our invasion of Iraq.
And the hatred toward us has grown to the point that it will take
many years, perhaps generations, to overcome the loathing created by
our invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.
What incredible ineptitude and callousness for our President to talk
about a Crusade while lying to us to make a case for the invasion
and occupation of a Muslim country!
Our children and later generations will pay the price of the lies,
the violence, the cruelty, the incompetence, and the inhumanity of
the Bush administration and the lackey Congress that has so cowardly
abrogated its responsibility and authority under our
checks-and-balances system of government.
We are here to say, "We will not stand for it any more. No more
lies. No more pre-emptive, illegal war, based on false information.
No more God-is-on-our-side religious nonsense to justify this
immoral, illegal war. No more inhumanity."
Let's raise our voices, and demand, "Give us the truth! Give us the
truth! Give us the truth!"
Let's consider some of the most monstrous lies - lies that have led
us, like a nation of sheep, to this tragic war.
Following September 11, 2001, the world knew that Osama bin Laden
and al Qaeda were responsible for the horrific attacks on our
country. Our long-time allies were sympathetic and supportive. But
our president transformed that support into international disdain
for the United States, choosing to illegally invade and occupy Iraq,
rather than focus on and capture the perpetrators of the 9/11
Why invade and occupy Iraq? Vice President Dick Cheney and
Condoleezza Rice represented to us, without qualification, that
there were strong ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
In September, 2002, President Bush made the incredible claim that
"You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam."
President Bush represented to Congress, without any factual basis
whatsoever, that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the
Our President and Vice-President, along with an unquestioning news
media, repeatedly led our nation to believe that there was a working
relationship between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, a
relationship that threatened the US. Even last week, when I met with
Thomas Bock, National Commander of the American Legion, I asked him
why we are engaged in the war in Iraq. He said, "Why, of course,
because of the 9/11 attacks on our country." I asked, "What did Iraq
have to do with those attacks?" He looked puzzled, then said, "Well,
the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq."
I was shocked. Here is a man who has criticized us for opposing the
war in Iraq - and he is completely wrong about the underlying facts
used to justify this war.
Not only has there never been any evidence of any involvement by
Saddam Hussein or Iraq with the attacks on 9/11, but there has never
been any evidence of any operational connection whatsoever between
Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
Colin Powell finally conceded there is no "concrete evidence about
the connection." "The chairman of the monitoring group appointed by
the United Nations Security Council to track al Qaeda" disclosed
that "his team had found no evidence linking al Qaeda to Saddam
Hussein." And the top investigator for our European allies has said,
'If there were such links, we would have found them. But we have
found no serious connections whatsoever.'"
President Bush himself finally admitted nine days ago during a press
conference that there was no connection between the attacks on 9/11
and Iraq. It's terrific that the President has now admitted what
others have known for so long - but where is the accountability for
the tragic war we were led into on the basis of his earlier
Besides the fictions of Saddam Hussein somehow being linked to the
9/11 attacks and his supposed connection with al Qaeda, what was the
principal justification for forgoing additional weapons inspections,
failing to work with our allies toward a solution, refraining from
seeking additional resolutions from the United Nations, and hurrying
to war - a so-called "pre-emptive" war - in which we would attack
and occupy a Muslim nation that posed no security risk to the United
States, and cause the deaths of many thousands of innocent men,
women, and children - and the deaths and lifetime injuries to many
thousands of our own servicemen and servicewomen?
The principal claim was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction - biological and chemical weapons - and was seeking to
build up a nuclear weapons capability. As we now know, there was
nothing - no evidence whatsoever - to support those claims.
President Bush represented to us - and to people around the world -
that one of the reasons we needed to make war in Iraq - and to do it
right away - was because Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear
weapons. His assertions about Saddam Hussein trying to purchase
nuclear materials from an African nation and about Iraq seeking to
obtain aluminum tubes for the enrichment of uranium were challenged
at the time by our own intelligence agency and scientists, yet he
didn't tell us that! Ten days before the invasion of Iraq, it was
proven that the documents upon which President Bush's claim about
Saddam Hussein trying to obtain uranium was based were forgeries.
However, President Bush did not disclose that to the American
people. By that failure, he betrayed each of us, he betrayed our
country, and he betrayed the cause of world peace.
Neither did the vast majority of the news media disclose the
forgeries - until it was far too late. It took our local newspapers
here in Salt Lake City four months - until after President Bush
declared that major combat in Iraq was over - to report the
discovery that the documents were forgeries - and, therefore, that
there was no basis for the false claims about Saddam Hussein trying
to build up a nuclear capability. By its failure to promptly
disclose the forgeries, the news media betrayed us as well.
Had the American people known we were being lied to - had President
Bush informed us that the documents were forged and that he had no
other basis for his claim - had our nation's media done its job,
rather than slavishly repeating to us the lies being fed to it by
the Bush administration - our nation may well not have allowed the
commencement of this outrageous, illegal, unjustified war.
To President Bush, to his administration, to our go-along Congress,
and to our news media, we are here today, demanding, "Give us the
truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!"
Then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that
high-strength aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq were "only really
suited for nuclear weapons programs," warning "we don't want the
smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
Undisclosed by President Bush or Condoleezza Rice was the fact that
top nuclear scientists had informed the Administration that the
tubes were "too narrow, too heavy, too long" to be useful in
developing nuclear weapons and could be used for other purposes. Dr.
Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, agreed.
So much for the phony claims of Saddam Hussein building nuclear
weapons - the primary claims justifying the rush to war.
What were we told about chemical and biological weapons of mass
destruction? These claims were as baseless and fraudulent as the
claims about nuclear weapons.
President Bush told us in his January 2003 State of the Union
address that Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500
tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. Then, in May of 2003, he
made the outlandish statement that, "We found the weapons of mass
destruction. We found biological laboratories."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told us, "We know where the [WMDs]
are." Vice President Cheney and then-Secretary of State Powell also
joined in the chorus of lies and misinformation about weapons of
mass destruction. Of course, no stockpiles of biological or chemical
weapons were found.
Bush Administration Weapons Inspector David Kay noted that Iraq did
not have an ongoing chemical weapons program after 1991-a conclusion
remarkably similar to statements made by Colin Powell and
Condoleezza Rice before the 9/11 attacks - and before they
sacrificed the truth in the service of promoting the Bush
administration's case for war against Iraq.
On February 24, 2001, less than 7 months before 9/11, Colin Powell
said that Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant
capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable
to project conventional power against his neighbors," said Colin
And in July 2001, two months before 9/11, Condoleezza Rice said: "We
are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not
It is astounding how they changed their claims after the President
decided to make a case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq!
To think that we could be lied to by so many members of the Bush
administration with such impunity is frightening - chilling. Yet
these imperious, arrogant, dishonest people think we should just
fall in line with them and continue to take them at their word.
The truth has been established. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11
attacks on the United States. There is no evidence of any
operational ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. And there were no
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
What a tragedy, leading to greater tragedy. We are fed lie after
lie, our media reinforces those lies, and we are a nation led to a
tragic, illegal, unprovoked war.
We are here because of our values. We love our country. We cherish
the freedoms and liberties of our country. We don't call those who
speak out against our nation's leaders unpatriotic or un-American or
appeasers of fascists. We have good, wholesome family values. In our
families, we teach honesty, we teach kindness and compassion toward
others, we teach that violence, if ever justified, must be an
absolutely last resort. In our families, we teach that our nation's
constitutional values are to be upheld, and that they are worth
standing up and fighting for. Our family values promote respect and
equal rights toward everyone, regardless of race, ethnic origin, and
In our families, we teach the value of hard work and competence -
and we are left to wonder about a President who, after receiving an
intelligence memo about the threat posed by al Qaeda, decides to
continue his month-long vacation - just before the 9/11 attacks on
As we demand the truth from others, let us also face the truth. Our
government all too often has not cared about the human rights of
people in other nations - and it doesn't really care about
democracy, unless it leads to the election of those who will do our
Consider the irony regarding the claims that Saddam had chemical
weapons and, because of that, we needed to rush to war in Iraq. When
Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons - first against Iranians,
then against his own people, the Kurds - our country provided him
with biological and chemical agents and equipment to make the
weapons. Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush refused even to
support economic sanctions against Hussein for his use of weapons of
What did our nation do in response to Hussein's use of chemical
weapons, killing tens of thousand of people, when he actually had
We befriended, coddled, and rewarded him - with
government-guaranteed loans totaling $5 billion since 1983, freeing
up currency for Hussein to modernize his military assets.
Perhaps those in the US government who aided and abetted Saddam
Hussein to further US business interests, while he was gassing the
Kurds, should be sharing his courtroom dock as he is being tried now
for crimes against humanity.
No more lies, no more hiding of the truth, no more wars that more
than triple the value of stock in Dick Cheney's prior employer,
Halliburton - and which, as of last September, has increased the
value of the Halliburton CEO's stock by $78 million.
We are patriots. We're deeply concerned. And we demand change, now.
No more lies from Condoleezza Rice about whether she and President
Bush were advised before 9/11 of the possibility of planes being
flown into buildings by terrorists.
No more gross incompetence in the office of the Secretary of Defense.
No more torture of human beings.
No more disregard of the basic human rights enshrined in the Geneva
No more kidnapping of people and sending them off to secret prisons
in nations where we can expect they will be tortured.
No more unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans.
No more proposed amendments to the United States Constitution that
would, for the first time, limit fundamental rights and liberties
for entire classes of people simply on the basis of sexual
No more federal land giveaways to developers.
No more increases in mercury emissions from old, dirty, dangerous
coalburning power plants.
No more backroom deals that deprive protection for millions of acres
of wild lands.
No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better
No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and
inconsistent immigration laws and policies.
No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global
No more manipulation of our media with false propaganda.
No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need.
No more federal cuts in community policing and local law enforcement
grant programs for our cities.
No more inaction on stopping the genocide in the Darfur region of
No more of the Patriot Act.
No more killing.
No more pre-emptive wars.
No more contempt for our long-time allies around the world.
No more dependence on foreign oil.
No more failure to impose increased fuel efficiency standards for
No more energy policies developed in secret meetings between Dick
Cheney and his energy company cronies.
No more excuses for failing to aggressively cut global warming
No more tragically incompetent federal responses to natural
No more tax cuts for the wealthiest, while the middle class and
those who are economically-disadvantaged continue to struggle more
and more each year.
No more reckless spending and massive tax cuts, resulting in
historic deficits and historic accumulated national debt.
No more purchasing of elections by the wealthiest corporations and
individuals in the country.
No more phony, ineffective, inhumane so-called war on drugs.
No more failure to pass an increase in the minimum wage.
No more silence by the American people.
This is a new day. We will not be silent. We will continue to raise
our voices. We will bring others with us. We will grow and grow,
regardless of political party - unified in our insistence upon the
truth, upon peace-making, upon more humane treatment of our brothers
and sisters around the world.
We will be ever cognizant of our moral responsibility to speak up in
the face of wrongdoing, and to work as we can for a better, safer,
more just community, nation, and world.
So we won't let down. We won't be quiet. We will continue to resist
the lies, the deception, the outrages of the Bush administration. We
will insist that peace be pursued, and that, as a nation, we help
those in need. We must break the cycle of hatred, of intolerance, of
exploitation. We must pursue peace as vigorously as the Bush
administration has pursued war. It's up to all of us to do our part.
Thank you everyone for lending your voices to this call for
compassion, for peace, for greater humanity. Let us keep in mind the
injunction of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent about things that matter."