Letter to Senator Patty Murray re:

Dear Senator,


Thank you for your statement as our country enters the fifth year in the illegal war and occupation in Iraq.  I agree that our government is neglecting soldiers that return home.  The medical care that wounded, maimed, and traumatized soldiers receive from VA hospitals is, from reports I’ve read, extremely poor and difficult to obtain. 


Over this past weekend, many soldiers and former soldiers, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, held the Winter Soldier Hearings in Washington DC.  The cognitive dissonance and deeper psychological wounds they are dealing with in regards to their service is clear.  Also clear is that many soldiers are not returning home alive, and many who are returning home alive have suffered crippling, life-stunting wounds.  Speaking to the guilt, shame, and regret he feels about his service in Iraq, Mike Prysner said at Winter Soldier:


"I tried to be proud of my service, but all I could feel was shame….  These were people, these were human beings….  We are told we are fighting terrorists.  The real terrorist was me, and the real terrorism is this occupation."


I consider myself a pacifist.  Certainly a pre-emptive, aggressive war, based on complete falsification of evidence and deliberate lies to the American people, with the aim of arousing fear and aggression in the general population, is a high crime and a clearly impeachable offense.  From the start of our current adventures abroad, I have opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the ideological "War on Terror" that made this criminal act possible.  I opposed the First Gulf War as a high school student, sharing my objections in current events papers that a cherished Social Studies teacher had her classes write.  To this day, I oppose the aggressive imperialism of the United States, and am repulsed and ashamed by the uncivilized actions of this country as it pursues an agenda of hegemony, globalization, and elitist capitalist dominance over sovereign nations.  The acts of aggression, repression, and immorality have become overt; where once they were concealed by language and humanitarian spin, they now are clear to all but the most willfully ignorant and belligerent of people.


Today I am writing you in protest to the criminal and neglectful acts of the federal government towards people both inside and outside of the United States.  The unconscionable acts of our supposedly democratic and freedom-loving federal government effect uncountable and unfathomable numbers of human beings on this planet–and for what?  For oil?  For corporate interests?  Certainly the claim cannot be made that illegal wars and the trashing of human and civil rights abroad and at home is in the best interest of the American people–although, incredibly, this is the message that the Bush administration and the mostly complicit congress have been selling the American people for the past seven years.


Disturbing things continue to happen.  In October of last year, the United States House of Representatives approved a piece of repressive legislation called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007."  Many critics of this bill fear that, even with its language assuring that the civil liberties of American citizens will be protected, this Act would severely curtail free speech and dissent in this country.  Its passage would affect a wide range of activists and political groups, from anti-abortion activists and libertarians to vociferous anti-war protesters, anti-globalization activists, and anarchists.  The Act has been read twice in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  I realize that you are on the Homeland Security Subcommittee, and I imagine that you are familiar with this Act.


If this Act were to pass in the Senate, do you think dissenting soldiers of conscience like Mike Prysner and his fellow Iraq Veterans Against the War would be monitored more closely, questioned, or perhaps labeled as a subversive, even "radical" group?  Would respected and active citizens like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who has recently been put under intensive media scrutiny, be scrutinized further for exercising freedom of speech?  Would I, for objecting to the Act itself, for opposing war and the ideology of "us versus them," for opposing the simplistic and criminal self-serving drivel that festers from the White House and drives young men and women in this country to commit war crimes and participate in a martial occupation on citizens of a sovereign country that they were supposedly sent to "liberate"?  Where would the Act take us as a country?  I don’t think that the answer to that question is "towards freedom."  Some may argue that it takes us towards security, but I think that is a flawed argument.  Neither freedom nor security can be obtained through force of arms or repressive laws.


I close with a few famous quotes:


from Thomas Jefferson:


"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance?"


"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter.  Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless.  A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims."


Benjamin Franklin:


"Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty."


and, perhaps most relevant to the questionable constitutionality of the proposed Act, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."


Thank you, Senator, for your time, and I look forward to your response.



your constituent,


Charles Dickey

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