OPEN LETTER:

"Dear Senator John Kerry...."

July 15, 2004   

Dear Senator Kerry,

The entire Iraq war has gone wrong. Say that. The neocons led us dishonorably into this disaster. Say that. Say that all of you in Congress made a horrible mistake. Say that.

Greetings from a common American citiizen, and a fellow veteran. I am writing this letter to you because our nation is in dire distress, due to the wreckless lack of leadership from the White House concerning our nation's foreign policy, and because of the depression here at home. Our country is "out-sourcing" itself, to borrow a modern phrase.

I have been pondering for weeks now on what words of mine might have a chance of making an impact upon you. I wrote a similar "Open Letter To President Bush" that was published in the "Baltimore Chronicle" ten days prior to when he began bombing Baghdad on March 19th, 2003.

I wrote that letter on March 9, 2003, in a last-ditch attempt to influence President Bush not to invade Iraq. I KNEW it would be a disaster. I wanted him to be a (peaceful) world hero, and I wanted to express what was felt by the 15,000,000 people around the world that demonstrated during the pre-war, anti-war demonstrations that took place on February 15th, 2003, on every continent around the world, against our (then) impending "war" in Iraq.

My time in the Infantry allowed me to learn a great deal from men who were "in-country" grunts, to learn about the effect Viet Nam had on their lives, and also to learn what a "mistake" that the Viet Nam War was, as per your own words of 1971, the year I volunteered.

Iraq is the latest "mistake" that our nation has made, and now I have two draft-age sons, and at this time I must invoke your words of 1971, in my attempt to save those sons, and the children of many other American families, from the neocon dream of WWIII.

"How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a MISTAKE?" is what YOU said in 1971. Senator, we MUST leave Iraq NOW! The "mistake" is happening again. YOU can stop it.

Let`s make some REAL friends in the Middle East through benevolent actions and giving respect to those around the world, a world that we ALL share. THAT is how you "win" a war against "terrorism."

You have spoken of the Iraq War in the context that "it was carried out insufficiently to achieve [some sort of] victory". That is NOT what I want to hear, that is NOT what your supporters want to hear, and that is NOT what the nation wants to hear from you, Senator.

The entire war has gone wrong. Say that. Say that the neocons led us dishonorably into this disaster. Say that. Say that all of you in Congress made a horrible mistake. Say that.

We do not want to hear about 40,000 MORE troops going there. We want to hear about a CEASE FIRE and withdrawal, and we want to hear it now, BEFORE the election. We want OUR money to go to US, to our own country, which is collapsing on the poor and middle class, as the Bush Administration spends (an un-budgetted) $200,000,000,000 on pre-emptive, imperiaistic war.

We are now supplying an Iraqi army with our finest weapons. How long do you think it will be before those weapons are tragically used against our own troops? Do you remember that the early US "strategy" in Viet Nam was to arm the rural towns and villages with our finest weapons? The VC and NVA soon had them all, and they were used to kill our own troops. Today we are arming an Iraqi Army, many of which are former Hussien troops. Déjà vu?

You are going to win the White House for one reason, and one reason only, that reason being that our nation has seen that Iraq is a disaster that was propagated with (documented) lies told by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condileeza Rice.

Those lies are choreographed in House Minority Leader Waxman's "Report on Iraq," which documents 237 "lies or misleading statements" made by those five "leaders," and that alone is reason enough to stop this Occupation/War against Iraq. Have you read the report? The "war" was planned long before 9-11. A fact. The PNAC. A fact.

You have had to compromise your integrity many times in your Senatorial career. Your support of pro-Isreal policies is borderline-criminal, for example. Once you are president, none of that matters anymore. Your history will be written starting the day you take the "oath of office," and from the actions you then take as president.

YOU can and will rise above petty politics as our president. I know that you have it inside you, because I remember of your speech to Congress in 1971.

It`s arrogant and disrespectful to say that the people of Iraq and the Middle East cannot conduct the business of their lives and their nations without United States intervention. Yes, WE CAN withdraw from Iraq now. Iraq has collapsed BECAUSE of our illegal and immoral invasion.

A 23-year CIA anti-terrorism veteran said yesterday that "the war in Iraq has HELPED Osama bin Laden and al Qaida." Bush & Co. HAVE HELPED the very terrorists they claim to want to stop.

Saddam has been captured, and apparently the only WMDs to be found are living in and around the White House. You can stop the killing of our children today by speaking out now. Why wait?

Senator Kerry, there is no "right way" to attack and occupy an innocent country. Iraq did NOTHING to us. You can become a true "world hero," and the act of calling a "Cease Fire" BEFORE the election will instantly start saving our troops' lives, and it will begin to restore some respectability to our nation, in the eyes of the world.

A few days after we started bombing Iraq, President Bush made this statement in a speech directed at the Iraqi people: "First, we will demonstrate to the people of Iraq and the world that the United States and the coalition aspire to liberate, NOT TO OCCUPY Iraq." He even said that without making any mistakes.

Senator Kerry, the Iraqis believed that, so they allowed us to enter their country to get rid of Saddam Hussien. We did.

On March 3, 2003, VP Cheney said of the Iraqis, "They will, IN FACT, welcome us as liberators." He, IN FACT, was completely wrong. We knew he was wrong, so why didn`t all of you that are in power know it?

We are building 14 military bases in Iraq as I write. That looks like an "occupation" to me. Almost 200,000 troops are in-country. Is that not an "occupation"?

If you take office and continue this illegal occupation, you will lose for us as a nation the opportunity to say "we were wrong, we are sorry, and please forgive us." We CANNOT, as a nation, afford to lose that opportunity. Let`s "lliberate" our own nation. Let`s "liberate" the White House. Make us proud to want peace.

Senator Kerry, as a VVAW brother, as an Infantry veteran, and as a common citizen that loves his country, I implore you to stop this attempted takeover of the Middle East, which is strictly to control their oil. You will lose your opportunity to live in history in honor as a GREAT president if you don`t. You will simply become the next Nixon. PLEASE don`t become the next Nixon. Represent OUR generation from your HEART, like you represented VVAW in 1971.

Let`s make some REAL friends in the Middle East through benevolent actions and giving respect to those around the world, a world that we ALL share. THAT is how you "win" a war against "terrorism," NOT by becoming a bigger terrorist than the fanatics that really want this never-ending and un-winnable "war" to continue.

Let's not wait for the "politics" of the election to start the ending of this mistake, let`s start NOW. Today. Only YOU can end the killing today, just by saying the words necessary to do it. Iraq will hear you. THEY WANT to hear you. We ALL want to hear you.

Thank you Senator, and good luck with the planning of OUR future, and in fulfilling your destiny of saving our great, but disgraced nation, from the neocon war-criminals now in power. I hope you become a GREAT president.


Thank you, and PEACE to you from
Ward Reilly


Mr. Reilly, who writes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, served in the First Infantry Division from 1971-1974.



Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on July 16, 2004.