Bring Them Home Now Campaign

David Potorti made these remarks in support of Military Families Speak Out’s “Bring Them Home Now” campaign at a press conference at Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, September 14, 2003

My name is David Potorti, and I am one of the founders of a group  called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. My oldest brother Jim was killed at the World Trade Center. We are  a group of family members of September 11th victims who decided that responding to the violence of that day with more  violence would not solve the problem of terrorism. That it would only bring more death, and would only produce more families without sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.

I’m here today because  of our support for the “Bring Them Home Now” campaign. And I’m  here because I’m feeling a little bit responsible for what has been going on in the world for the past two years. It is in my brother’s name, and in the names of the 3,000 Americans who died on September 11th, that we have bombed Afghanistan and Iraq, sent US servicepeople to die, that we have abridged the rights of American citizens, that we have vested the President and the Pentagon with unchecked and unlimited power. And it’s all been done in my name and in my brother’s name.

After the deaths of some 240 American service people—just like my father, who is a World War II Marine veteran….After the  collateral  damage  of an estimated 4,000 Afghan civilians just like my brother, and an estimated 6,000 Iraqi civilians, just like my brother, I have some bad news: My brother is still dead. Our country is still at risk from Al-Qaeda. We are feared by virtually everyone on earth. We have lost the respect  of the world. And the future that I imagined for myself and my children has become dark, and hellish, and without hope. And it is not because of what happened on September 11, but what has happened since September 11th in my brother’s name.

Our group has written to the President on four occasions, asking him to meet with us, and to stop using our family members, killed on September 11, as a reason taking actions that will cause the deaths of other innocent family members. In October of 2002, we were graced with a response from Condoleezza Rice, who wrote,

We join you and other grieving families across America — all those who lost loved ones in the brutal terrorist attacks of September 11 — in our continued hope that war will not be necessary to end Saddam’s repressive leadership, gain Iraqi compliance with United Nations resolutions, and convince Baghdad to abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

Her response, in retrospect, speaks to a pattern of misleading statements, half-truths and insincerity on the part of this administration.

So I continue to say to President Bush, on behalf of myself and September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, to stop using the deaths of our family members as an excuse for wars without end. If you have a case to make, make it—honestly, and based on facts. But don’t use our losses as an excuse to pursue policies that cause the deaths of other innocent civilians. That put our troops in danger. And that make the world a more dangerous place. 

And to our men and women in uniform, we appreciate your love of country, your professionalism and your service. We support  you, but we are convinced that you have been sent on a mission that is at odds with the goal of reducing terrorism. 

If we must send our precious  men and women in uniform to fight and die,  let it be for a worthwhile reason and in a way that honors their sacrifice, that honors those who died on September 11, and honors the values  of our Constitution and our nation.

 

Remarks of David Potorti, 9/14/03

 

 

My name is David Potorti, and I am one of the founders of a group  called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. My oldest brother Jim was killed at the World Trade Center. We are  a group of family members of September 11th victims who decided that responding to the violence of that day with more  violence would not solve the problem of terrorism. That it would only bring more death, and would only produce more families without sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.

 

I’m here today because  of our support for the “Bring Them Home Now” campaign. And I’m  here because I’m feeling a little bit responsible for what has been going on in the world for the past two years. It is in my brother’s name, and in the names of the 3,000 Americans who died on September 11th, that we have bombed Afghanistan and Iraq, sent US servicepeople to die, that we have abridged the rights of American citizens, that we have vested the President and the Pentagon with unchecked and unlimited power. And it’s all been done in my name and in my brother’s name.

 

After the deaths of some 240 American service people—just like my father, who is a World War II Marine veteran….After the  collateral  damage  of an estimated 4,000 Afghan civilians just like my brother, and an estimated 6,000 Iraqi civilians, just like my brother, I have some bad news: My brother is still dead. Our country is still at risk from Al-Qaeda. We are feared by virtually everyone on earth. We have lost the respect  of the world. And the future that I imagined for myself and my children has become dark, and hellish, and without hope. And it is not because of what happened on September 11, but what has happened since September 11th in my brother’s name.

 

Our group has written to the President on four occasions, asking him to meet with us, and to stop using our family members, killed on September 11, as a reason taking actions that will cause the deaths of other innocent family members. In October of 2002, we were graced with a response from Condoleezza Rice, who wrote,

 

We join you and other grieving families across America — all those who lost loved ones in the brutal terrorist attacks of September 11 — in our continued hope that war will not be necessary to end Saddam’s repressive leadership, gain Iraqi compliance with United Nations resolutions, and convince Baghdad to abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Her response, in retrospect, speaks to a pattern of misleading statements, half-truths and insincerity on the part of this administration.

 

So I continue to say to President Bush, on behalf of myself and September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, to stop using the deaths of our family members as an excuse for wars without end. If you have a case to make, make it—honestly, and based on facts. But don’t use our losses as an excuse to pursue policies that cause the deaths of other innocent civilians. That put our troops in danger. And that make the world a more dangerous place. 

 

And to our men and women in uniform, we appreciate your love of country, your professionalism and your service. We support  you, but we are convinced that you have been sent on a mission that is at odds with the goal of reducing terrorism. 

 

If we must send our precious  men and women in uniform to fight and die,  let it be for a worthwhile reason and in a way that honors their sacrifice, that honors those who died on September 11, and honors the values  of our Constitution and our nation.

Filed in: Timeline, Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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