From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject To Thank Me For My Service, Work for Peace
Date May 26, 2020 12:00 AM
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[I mourn mostly for those we have killed — and I mourn for those
we havent killed yet, but will in the days ahead. ]
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TO THANK ME FOR MY SERVICE, WORK FOR PEACE  
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Rosemarie Jackowski
May 21, 2020
Veterans for Peace
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_ I mourn mostly for those we have killed — and I mourn for those
we haven't killed yet, but will in the days ahead. _

, Veterans for Peace

 

"Thank you for your service"... on second thought -

It is Memorial Day again. Some will celebrate. Some will drink too
much. Some will march in parades. Some will rally around the flag.
Some will go shopping. Some will mourn. I am among the mourners.

I mourn mostly for those we have killed — and I mourn for those we
haven't killed yet, but will in the days ahead. I mourn for all of the
mothers and fathers who put their children to bed at night and wonder
if this will be the night that they are killed by a drone attack.

I mourn for the 500,000 Iraqi children - dead because of U.S. foreign
policy. The official policy as described by Madeleine Albright on 60
Minutes was 'that we think the price was worth it.' Worth it to whom?
Not to the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmothers and
grandfathers of those children.

I mourn the execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik — the gentle soldier who
was too moral to kill. He refused to fight. On Jan. 31, 1945, the U.S.
executed him before a firing squad. He is the only U.S. soldier, that
we know about, who was executed during World War II. In recent years
has friendly fire been used against some who refuse to kill?

I mourn for all the unarmed civilians slaughtered by U.S. troops in
Korea. The massacre at No Gun Ri is one of many war crimes.

I mourn for those still being held in Guantanamo. Either put them on
Trial, or release them and pay them compensation for the time they
were illegally imprisoned.

The results of recent elections show that more than ninety percent of
United States voters support the foreign policy of the
Democratic/Republican Party. That includes support for war, torture
and imprisonment without due process. More than ninety percent of the
people, as evidenced by their votes, are not peace makers. Supporting
crimes against humanity is not an option for people of conscience. Any
vote for any Democrat or Republican candidate is a vote for war. Those
voters are complicit in war crimes because they enable crimes against
peace. Electing peace makers to the Congress would save lives and
money.

As a nation, none can compare with the United States when it comes to
the ability to slaughter innocent civilians. Remember Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. The United States is the only nation to have used nuclear
bombs to kill.

Now we can kill from the comfort of our own neighborhoods ... at no
risk to our own safety. Some believe that the use of drones is a
cowardly approach to warfare. Some argue that the use of drones is a
war crime. No matter how one feels about drones, it is certain that
drone warfare has raised the killing of civilians to a new level. The
slaughter of little girls walking to school is a crime against
humanity.

Do the drone operators who sit at a computer thousands of miles away
from any danger deserve our admiration? Their safety is not at risk.
Should they be "'thanked for their service"? Does wearing a uniform
give anyone the moral or legal right to kill unarmed civilians? Does
wearing a uniform make anyone a hero? Is killing by remote control
really an example of heroism?

How can "heroism" be defined? Heroism is the willingness to stand
alone in opposition to evil and injustice.

We have many heroes. Julian Assange, Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning,
Jeremy Hammond, John Kiriakou, Aaron Swartz are just a few of many.
There are also local heroes... the peacemakers.

As a role model we have Archbishop Oscar Romero who took on the entire
power structure in El Salvador. With grace and dignity he defended the
poor and disenfranchised. He was assassinated while saying Mass.

When I think about heroes, I always think about my friend, Elliott
Adams. During the '60s, Adams volunteered for the Army. He fought in
Vietnam, He was a paratrooper. He was wounded. After hospitalization,
he was redeployed to Korea, and then Alaska. All of those things might
make Adams seem like a hero to most people, but that is not why I
think of him as a hero. Adams is a former president of Veterans for
Peace, but that also is not why he is a hero to me. More than anyone I
have known, Adams has dedicated his life since being discharged from
the military to working for global peace. He has gone to Gaza with
Physicians for Social Responsibility. In solidarity with the prisoners
at Gitmo, Adams went on a hunger strike. Adams has been at the
forefront of the protests against the use of drones at Hancock Air
Base near Syracuse, N.Y. Adams was arrested while participating in
peaceful protest.

Below is Adams' sentencing speech as he delivered it to the court.
This is one of the most articulate anti-war statements I have ever
heard.

"I appreciate the bench's effort to understand the arguments made —
arguments involving local law, international law and, even the
principles of civil disobedience.

"My experience in war has taught me that in life we periodically get
tested to see if we can stand up to the pressures of 'socially
acceptable procedural norms' which push us to work within the little
laws and instead comply with the requirements of International
Humanitarian Law. I cannot condemn others when they fail that test for
I have failed it myself. But those who do fail it are condemned to
live with the horrendous cost society pays for their failure. I
believe this court failed that test. The court may not have felt an
unavoidable compulsion to comply with International Humanitarian Law,
but it certainly was given the justifications it could have used to
stand up and comply with International Humanitarian Law. But being
here in DeWitt near an epicenter of war crimes couched in the humdrum
of civilian life, the bench may find it is tested again ... and again.

"I believe that my co-defendants and I did what is right morally, but
more relevant to this court, what is required by the law, the big law,
that law that deals with thousands of lives, not the little law that
deals with disorderly conduct. If the court had chosen to decide on
the big law it would have found us innocent. But since the court
chooses to rule on the little law, the law about orderly conduct, then
it must not only find me guilty but guilty to the fullest extent, with
no mitigation.

"As the court stated, there will always be consequences for pursuing
justice through 'changes made by actions outside the socially
acceptable procedural norms.' Among other life experiences I have over
15 years in local elected public office and it became apparent to me
that abiding by the 'socially acceptable procedural norms' can only
lead to more of the same injustice, indeed those norms are there to
prop up those injustices.

"I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time. I
do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please
let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom. I do
not have money to pay a court; I spend what little money this old man
has trying to bring about justice. My community service has been doing
the duty that the courts shrink from — calling attention to war
crimes and trying to stop war crimes. Standing in this court as
community service, it is the little I can do for society."

Rosemarie Jackowski

Bennington, VT

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