Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flag Draped Coffins

by Tina Richards

US flagged draped coffins
our children inside,
Iraqi flagged draped coffins
their children inside,
Afghani flagged draped coffins
their children inside

As I hold a lily to place on our children’s coffin,
my heart is torn.
So many Marines I have broken bread with,
Thanksgiving dinner,
Christmas dinner
I remember their eyes with so much innocence
Their families spread far and wide
For that day,
we became their family
I became their mom

These children who returned home in flagged draped coffins.
Not knowing what war and occupation would bring them
I mourn for what should not have been,
what should not be

Trusting their government not to lie
Not to send them into harm’s way,
unless it was absolutely necessary
I see their innocent faces each time I see a flagged draped coffin,
I go to lay a lily upon them

But then I hesitate

I hear my son’s words

“Mother,” he told me with a tear stained face,
Innocence no longer there
“I thought what we were doing was right,“
“I was told we were going to liberate the Iraqi people.”
“I trusted our leaders.”

“We set it free,”
“We set it free by shelling them with our artillery.”
“As we began to secure the city,
to safeguard the innocent civilians,”
“I saw three children playing,”
“I thought, ‘Yes that is why we are here.’”
“I saw a girl, maybe ten or eleven,
just the age of my sister,
playing with her younger brother and sister”
“Twirling something in the air.”
“Pink and Purple streamers she twirled it by.”
“Her brother and sister laughing.”
“Laughing at the pretty toy,”
“Delivered by the US military. “
“I realized at that moment,
it was a bomblet from our artillery.”
“Unexploded ordinances.”
“Cluster bombs.”
“In the moment I went to run,”
“to scream,”
“to shout, “No, No’”
……it detonated.
“In an instant,
half her face and arm gone.”
“Her brother and sister lay dead before her”
He said, “At that moment, I knew all I had been told was a lie”
“You cannot liberate or bring democracy with a howitzer,” he cried.
That thought would haunt him for years,
as he would bring a gun to his mouth
and call me to say he didn’t deserve to live.
Not live with the guilt of all the children killed

I think of that little girl,
Her brother
Her sister
I am so overwhelmed with sorrow and shame.
That our soldiers and Marines so trusting,
so patriotic,
have been so mislead
I brought my sons up to be Patriots
The occupations are not patriotic,
There is no honor
It is genocide.

As I lay the lily on the Iraqi coffin,
I make a vow
We must stop the killing of all these innocents,
perpetuated by the war profiteers,
military industrial complex,
our government
No more “patriots” will I raise

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rick Reyes Calls Out John Kerry

Former Marine Corporal Rick Reyes testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry. Of course, Kerry has come a long way since he was in Rick's position, testifying himself about the war crimes of Vietnam. He has sold out. Kerry composed a panel of four veterans expecting them all to support Obama's criminal escalation in Afghanistan as he has. Fortunately, Rick was there to point out his great failure. John Kerry went from being a principled anti-war activist, to being a presidential candidate who, regarding the Iraq war, "voted for it before voting against it," and now is supporting Obama's interventionism. Thank you Rick Reyes!

The video here from Brave New Films doesn't go quite as far as I have in pointing out the great hypocrisy of Kerry, but is still quite informative, and a nice juxtaposition of the two veterans.

Here is Rick's full testimony. You can see Kerry looking extremely bored around 2:00.

I think Reye's predictions about Afghanistan are right on, and simple observations of history (recent and not so recent) back them up. But let me go one step further, because Reye's predictions about Afghanistan are "if" predictions. I predict the Democrats will continue to posture against war while voting to fund it. The precedent of the last two years of the Bush Administration highly support this prediction. Obama will keep his campaign promises (especially those to Wall Street and the Military-Industrial Complex) and maintain the American empire of exploitation. I hope I'm wrong!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Matthis Vindicated!

A letter from Matthis today about his hearing. Be sure to watch the video, he's brilliant in it!

Good Things Come to Those Who Struggle

Today, I stood before the Army. I looked a board of officers in the eyes, and I told them I thought they were sending people off to participate in war crimes. And what did they say? Get out of here, Sergeant, and keep your damn G.I. Bill!!!

Indeed, folks! The Army awarded me a recommendation for a general discharge under honorable conditions from the Individual Ready Reserve for my refusal to deploy to Iraq last summer. This landmark decision means not only am I a free man, I’m free to continue school this fall with the “new” G.I. Bill that I earned while on active duty.

Though this discharge is identical to the one I refused in exchange for having this hearing, I can now rest easy knowing I never submitted, I never backed down and the Army has heard my story.

And not just my story, but the stories of those brave veterans at Winter Soldier and those who’ve participated in IVAW’s Warrior Writers’ program. Full texts of both books were submitted to the Army this morning, and I can only imagine the fun they’re having transcribing them into the record.

I testified, Marjorie Conn, the president of the National Lawyers’ Guild, testified, and my mother Patricia testified as to why my refusal to deploy was quite legitimate and not deserving of attack by the military.

Though Maj. Laws, the prosecution, did everything he could to keep my legal arguments from the ears of the board (he even prevented me from reading to them from my Constitution calling the document irrelevant), our voices were heard loud and clear by a board of gentlemen who’ve given me a new respect and hope for our nation and servicemembers world-wide.

The hearing, which lasted around four-and-a-half hours, cemented in my mind that not only is military resistance to our illegal occupations righteous, it is finding new breath amongst troops who are fed up with the status quo.

This all came after a provocative appearance this morning on the local Fox News Channel (,0,1094348.story) in which I wore a patriotic symbol of distress (an upside-down flag) on my uniform.

During the hearing, my girlfriend Alexandra among others were present in the board room to offer moral support. Having them there made all the difference as I squared off with the military over human slaughter that we’ve all been forced to bow down to.

So what does this mean for the military? RESIST!!!! Now’s the time, ladies and gentleman. The flood-gates are open. Your leaders are listening, and more and more, they are agreeing. Resisters are moving away from being the exception, and slowly becoming the norm.

If I can refuse to go to Iraq, climb monuments, march into presidential debates, lobby congress, face the military, not go to jail and not even loose my G.I. Bill, we just don’t have any excuses anymore! Resistance is rising, and IVAW will stand firm underneath it. My story is now history, and I humbly pass the torch.

More to follow soon on my testimony at Winter Soldier and the juicy details of my hearing. Now, I’m going to sleep like I haven’t in a year!

Peace and Solidarity,

Matthis Chiroux

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Obama Looks Forward, Sees More Torture

The Obama mantra on crimes of the Bush administration since before he was elected has always been, “We're looking forwards, not backwards.” This is why people think Obama is arrogant, because he must think we are all idiots. Pointing out the logical absurdity of this statement is not enough when the intent is clear: Obama is arguing for immunity for his own continuation of the crimes he is trying to cover up.

In Obama's recent statement regarding Bush Administration torture memos, he said, “In one of my very first acts as President, I prohibited the use of these interrogation techniques by the United States because they undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer.” After a few paragraphs waxing about how none of this matters anymore, as in, “I fixed it, you can all feel better and go back to sleep now,” he concludes by saying that, “The United States is a nation of laws. My Administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakeable commitment to our ideals. ... That is why we have taken steps to ensure that the actions described within them never take place again.” So the Bush Administration does something that is not moral and makes us less safe, and we're supposed to believe that by releasing a few memos and waving the magic Obama wand, everything is just going to be ok? Not only is Obama derelict in his duties to support and defend the Constitution, he is criminally obstructing justice.

Of course there is something much more insidious here. Yes, we should be outraged that Obama is letting Bush and his cronies off. We should be outraged that there will be no justice for the innocent detainees at Guantanamo. We should be outraged, that on behalf of those doing the torturing, Obama has intervened with the defense that was rejected at Nuremberg so long ago, “We were just following orders.” But there is something far worse to be outraged about.

Please consider for just one second why Obama would not seek accountability and establish precedent that torture will not be tolerated. It is because he plans to continue the same basic policies! Obama is working to deny detainees at Bagram their right to habeas corpus. Obama is keeping open secretive prisons within the US called Communcation Management Units in Indiana and Illinois which inmates refer to as “little Guantanamos.” Obama has declared his intent to continue the practice of rendition of victims to other countries to be tortured. His largely symbolic closing of the facility at Guantanamo will do nothing to change our image around the world when our travesty of a justice system continues to produce torture victims. Perhaps Bush did not know better, but as a scholar of Constitutional Law, Obama must know that he is crossing numerous lines. Even the most deeply “immoral” and “dangerous” policies created by the Bush Administration have not changed with the election of a President at least as immoral and dangerous.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tea Party posters, poseurs, lions, tigers, and infiltrators, oh my!

Trouble is brewing, and the movement of patriots demanding individual economic freedom is being infiltrated, co-opted, and derided. But fear not. Restore the Republic, a truly grassroots, unregistered organization of freedom fighters is going to be there to ensure that the true message of liberty will be heard. For my contribution to the effort, I designed a series of posters for them that you can download here.

The Tax Day Tea Parties that began as a grassroots effort have been somewhat co-opted by big money sponsors and "neocon types." If they want to invest in a message that is important to us, I say let them. This may not be a day for our movement, but it could be a day for a much broader coalition to form. In Santa Fe, we even have a former Democrat State Senator speaking.

It is for this co-option (and her obsession with our tongue-in-cheek use of the verb "to teabag") that they have been derided by Rachel Maddow. She claims Obama is going to be cutting taxes for most people present, and only raising them for the rich sponsors of some of these events. Oh Rachel. If only you were paying attention when Bernanke himself admitted to Ron Paul in a Congressional hearing that inflation constituted a tax. In fact, it is the most insidious and regressive tax there is.

There have been reports that ACORN reps plan to infiltrate these events and gather signatures of people who like to sign things without reading them, only to tell Obama they were collected from people who support his economic policies.

And on top of all that, a number of movement insiders are calling the whole thing an exercise in controlled opposition. I suppose if they have us building coalitions at rally after rally (the 25th End The Fed followed by 4th of July Tea Parties) we won't have time to build a real resistance. I don't think so. Rallies will always have their place in any movement, even if they only become really effective in places like France and Thailand. Those guys know how to shut a country down! Maybe the rallies are helping our movement build towards 2010 and 2012. Believe me, the opposition our movement puts forth in 2010 and 2012 will be nowhere near controllable!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The taxman is coming: 090415. RESIST TODAY!