Remarks at anti-war rally in San Francisco, Sunday, February 16th, 2003

by Matthew Lasar

Thank you very much, all of you, for coming here to speak out against this war.

We of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows oppose this invasion of Iraq. We oppose it because we think that it is not necessary. We oppose it because we fear that it will destroy the lives of many innocent people. We oppose it because we oppose terrorism.

I read in the newspaper that the Pentagon has a plan for the first days of the assault upon Iraq. It is called “rapid dominance” or “shock and awe.” Its purpose, the plans author explains, is “to control the will and perception of adversaries, by applying a regime of shock and awe. It is about effecting behavior.”

According to the plan, this will be accomplished in the first two days of the war by raining down upon Baghdad up to 800 cruise missiles. That is one every four minutes. Pentagon analysts say that the purpose of the strategy is to create emotional and psychological exhaustion leading to surrender.

There is a word that describes the practice of bombing a city full of civilians in order to shock them into submission. That word is terrorism.

We of September 11th families for Peaceful Tomorrows know what terrorism means. We know what it means to wake up one morning and discover that a brother, or sister, or spouse or parent or child or uncle has been destroyed because someone wanted to fill us with “shock and awe.” We oppose such practices, whether directed by Osama bin Ladin or George W. Bush.

We of September 11th families love this country. But our hearts break that it has come to this. Our hearts break as they did on September 11th, 2001, and as they did when we visited the people of Afghanistan, especially those who continue to lose loved ones in the U.S. bombing there–over a dozen more dead civilians just days ago.

We ask America, as citizens and as human beings–when will the cycle of violence end and the struggle for understanding and resolution begin? Let it begin now. Let it begin with this enormous popular movement. Let it begin with us.

Thank you

Filed in: Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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