"GOOD-MORNING DEAR KIND FELLOW AMERICANS - brothers and sisters! We bring you a request from the VETERANS FOR PEACE - Iraq, Afghan, Vietnam, Korean War vets against these wars – we have WEST POINT OFFICERS Training School Grads Against the war. We have GENERALS on our side!"
(Heard as all in one breath as a few heads in the packed car turn toward the voice.)
"Folks, we are trying to end these wars! We need your help. Probably everybody on this car would like to see the wars end, but they are not going to stop by themselves! The stock market is UP! Important Americans are making money on these wars!
(People standing next to me are craning their necks to see the speaker. I switch on my pocket digital recorder.)
This message comes to you from Americans who have been trained to KILL, go overseas and kill people in their OWN country, OFTEN IN THEIR OWN HOMES, even CHILDREN if they get in the way!" Problem is we FELL IN LOVE with the PEOPLE WE WERE KILLING! We vets found the Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghanis, Koreans, head and shoulders above Americans in family values.
We have been used! Used to DISHONOR our country and all of you for a few already rich people to make money." – to do mass homicide – for LIES!"
"They put a bullet in Martin Luther King's neck so they could go on with the Vietnam War for another seven years, kill another million Vietnamese, and now our government LOVES that communist government in Hanoi, making a lot of money with them – we back communist Vietnam for World Trade Organization membership!(I stand up and catch sight of a nicely dressed elderly man standing mid-car. He speaks in a sincere tone,)
It's the same today. They lie! We find out they lied! Then they tell a new lie. And all the TV, radio and newspapers are owned by the same corporations making money on the wars. Every single channel and newspaper is pro-war. They deceive young men until the wars hurt their investments."
"Brothers and sisters, it is up to us. We need each other - everyone is important. They could not do all this killing without our silence. So in the last analysis you and I are responsible for these wars. Please don't say, 'What can I do?' 'Its not my problem.' 'I'm only one person.' One plus one plus one reaches up to MILLIONS!
Look at all the beautiful people on this car! Iraqis, Afghanis are beautiful TOO! Their ladies are lovely. Their men are handsome. Their children are cute. Why are we killing them?"
(Some riders are watching more intensely, some women look shocked into paying attention, but many are hunkered down into books or newspapers, hard-bitten New Yorkers used to crazy people talking on the subway.)
"I was in the occupation troops in Nazi Germany. The Germans were cool. They didn't say anything until it was too late. Are we going to be cool until its too late, like the Germans? The Neo-Liberal capitalists tell us our military killing people out there is making us safe here. But for every kid we kill, a thousand want to kill us back.
Every senator and congressman has a telephone. That's why they have telephones. So people can call them. What the hell good is FREE SPEECH if NO ONE IS TALKING!"
(He says it holding back a laugh. The old Vet's voice is cajoling - a few people nod in agreement and there are smiles of amusement,)
"Rev. Dr. King cried out right here in New York's Riverside Church - made headlines all over the world, 'My country is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. We must end this madness! SILENCE is TREASON! Everyone can find his own way to protest, but everyone MUST protest.' Rev. King saw that we have a country full of traitors! Check it out! Look around you. How many people do know that give a damn. No time for their country. U.S. military killing is not their problem. Seem only personal problems deserve attention.
We all love children. Doesn't it break your heart - photos recently on the front page of the New York Times - a beautiful child dying from an air strike in the arms of his Afghani, or Iraqi or Somali father! Jesus! Hard to go on with one's day!
We are asking you all to call the members of Congress who like machines automatically are blindly backing all these bloody wars of occupation as business as usual. NOBODY is ever sorry for the Iraqis, Afghanis, Somalis, Vietnamese, Koreans we have killed! People all of the world are hating Americans - own half the world, but keep killing!" We vets have come to realize we are killing our own BROTHERS AND SISTERS."
(A guy looks up from his newspaper, "What about 9/11?" he mutters argumentively.)
"The gentleman asks what about 9/11? The guys in those planes were all from Saudi Arabia where the Bush family and Cheney have investments. They weren't from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran - "
(An old man seated next to the speaker lightly claps his hands, and the vet acknowledges his support with a gesture,)
"Thank you, for joining in. Friends, we're not chasing al Qaeda and bin Laden, we're killing Shi'ite in Iraq and Taliban government fighters in Afghanistan - BOOM, there goes an apartment building in Iraq - BOOM, farm house in Afghanistan - always with children inside.
BOTH countries' legislatures have asked for us to stop the air strikes, have amnesty for all, and to let them negotiate peace free from foreign occupation armies. Associate Press wire services reported this last year, but you won't hear it on CNN. CNN disregards these pleas from the very governments our occupation set up.
On the Internet if you google Senate or House of Rep, phone numbers for every member in Congress come up. CALL 'em! You can even call and leave messages in the evening when your cell phone calls are free. Please, if you love your country and humanity, add your voices to ours. It's your citizen's right. And it's our responsibility to our children.
"Albert Einstein said, 'Worse than the evil and criminality in high places is the indifference that permits it to happen.' The whole world is hating white Americans for their INDIFFERENCE to the killing. The Pentagon is into body counts again, like during the Vietnam War, of SUSPECTED enemies. Our selfish self-preoccupied indifference makes this mass-murder possible. They couldn't DO IT without our SILENT acquiescence!"
(Some seated ladies clap their hands timidly. The vet grins,)
"A little approbation! Thank you – "
(An intercom recorded announcement interrupts: 'This is a message from your police department. Keep your belongings in sight at all times and if you see a suspicious package...' The old veteran, who has stopped talking, waits, takes his cue and repeats the last line:)
"If you SEE something, DON'T keep it to yourself!' Well, y'all SEE Those BEAUTIFUL AFGHAN and IRAQI CHILDREN in the ARMS OF THEIR PARENTS, DYING, FROM U.S. AIR STIKES almost every day in the New York Times. 'Don't keep it to yourself!' Please! Call! Talk! Don't let's play dead.
Do we imagine Homeland Security is protecting us? - They warn us of a 50/50 percent chance of something worse than 9/11. And the more kids we kill, the more enemies we have willing to suicide themselves for revenge on us. We were lucky last time! This city would have been evacuated in a panic if the suicide planes had hit the Indian Point Nuclear Reactor thirty-five miles north of us.
TV anchors quote Republicans claiming killing people there, protects us here, with a straight face. But every time we kill another beautiful child, a hundred volunteers step forward to suicide themselves just to get us back. We are hated overseas, trust me, I've been out there - especially hated within the HALF OF HUMANITY that LIVES ON $2 OR LESS A DAY, while America owns HALF THE WORLD and WANTS MORE!
The Italian poet Dante wrote, (the vet measures each word) 'The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those, who in times of moral crisis, MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY!'
"What Dante and Einstein meant is clear: The kids pulling the triggers are not as guilty as those who stay home and have fun. The clever lying bastards who sent them to kill and maim and BE killed and maimed themselves, they are criminally insane. A court of law would find them mentally ill – not responsible for their acts.
That leaves the people working in war promoting media and the indifferent I-don't-care American public partying and allowing it all to happen by their acquiescent silence. Dante assigns THEM the hottest fires in hell and has those war excusing ministers, priests and rabbis roasting alongside them explaining why they went along with the vicious mass homicide with their theories of 'just wars'.
We can't just mind our own business and escape our conscience, folks. Bombs are not falling on our children. No Iraqi marines kicking in our doors in the middle of the night. When you're my age, if you make it that far, you won't want to look back and think, 'Yeah, I remember that time – I didn't open my mouth, was too busy with my own sh*t.'
Friends, life is beautiful! Music! Our children! Look around this car! Think any of us would kill for money? If there is insanity in the White House, a compulsive liar, mass murderer, torturer, what does that make US? He is OUR PRESIDENT even if you didn't vote for him.
The majority Democrats' leadership blocks impeachment because we the people don't ASK for impeachment. We don't DEMAND the law be applied to the president as constitution calls for.
I usually get a little applause by this time."
(Some clapping is heard from both ends of the train as it pulls into the station)
"Your only as important as you make yourself. I PROMISE you, you' ll all feel better if you make those calls. The secretary who takes your call will feel better. The secretaries feel the same as we do. And for Christ sake, talk it up among yourselves. Find out what they are teaching your kids in SCHOOL about these wars!"
(As he was about to step through the opening doors,)