VETERANS FOR PEACE PRESENTATION
by Kale Danberg
This is a presentation made by Kale Danberg to the Minnesota "Veterans For Peace," a pacifist veterans group which protests everything having to do with the military. You will constantly see members of their group protesting at Fort Benning, GA - "The School of the Americas."
WAR IS HELL!
I don't know anyone, Veteran or otherwise, who doesn't think that.
When asking to speak to your Association I had nothing in mind but to prove to you how wrong you are in EVERYTHING you do. I then remembered my role as a professional speaker and that is to become thoroughly educated on the topic.
I discovered that just as your Association shouldn't ridicule every time America picks up a gun, I shouldn't ridicule every protest you've ever made.
When I made my study I found that there have been just wars and there have been unjust wars in the history of the World. I found that some of the times America went to war, she probably shouldn't have. I also found that many of the times She went to war, it was for a good and honorable cause - but in all cases the soldier who went, when called, should never be ridiculed and spat on.
The 8-year Revolutionary War led to the birth of a new nation--the United States. This war led to a free country with a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Signers of the Declaration risked their lives, families and financial security to gain America's freedom and many lost all defending her.
The Civil War, which took more American lives than any of war in history, was the war that freed the slaves and kept America intact. It was a war that had to be fought. It's just a shame that the North's commanders were, in the most part, so inept that many, many more lives than needed to be, were lost.
I will also concede that there are wars that should have never been fought and I agree that, in some cases, military buildups help cause wars. BUT as long as there are the North Koreas, the Iraqs, the Irans and the Communist Chinas of the World, there must be another power to neutralize them so they know their actions will draw even more powerful reactions. Our disarming will only encourage them to arm greater.
The war of 1812 should never have been fought, and wouldn't have been if there was the communications of today - back then. America would have known that Great Britain had repealed the laws that the war was fought about and the greatest battle of that war, the battle of New Orleans which was fought 15 days after the war was over, would never have been fought.
World War I probably never should have been fought, but once it was started it had to be won. If America had not been drawn in by the sinking of her unarmed ships, who knows what the world would be like today had the Central (European) Powers won that war. I do know however that if America had come in sooner, that war would have been over much sooner and many lives would have been spared - and just maybe the hatred that built up over many years of war would have been less and the treaty of Versailles might have been fairer to the German people and Hitler would not have been allowed to come to power.
But we can't go back and change history. All we can do today is remain strong to prevent the madmen from ruling the world and taking our freedom away.
Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - but with that right comes responsibility. Liberty is not free and some of us may have to die for it.
Americans, because of their wealth, technology and freedom, have a responsibility to the world and to trying to help make the people of the world free. Sometimes that requires diplomacy; sometimes that requires combat, and with combat comes suffering and the loss of life - but not the loss of freedom.
America cannot again become an isolationist nation closing its eyes to everything going on around her.
Our enemies measure the pulse of the American people and escalate their wars when they see the isolationist attitudes. When they see the American people are behind the effort, like the Gulf War, they hold back.
There's an old saying that say's: An appeaser is a person who keeps feeding the alligator, hoping the alligator will eat him last.
If I'm going to be "eaten," I want to only succumb after fighting with everything I have before becoming the main course.
There are wars that needed to be fought and others that shouldn't have been fought, we can become thoroughly educated -- and active in politics so that we can have a positive effect on the decisions that are made.
However we should not become promiscuously involved in protest after protest so the majority believes that we're just a bunch of quacks - protesting anything that even smacks of our having to risk our lives and limbs.
Protesting against a military base that trains cutthroats may be all right while protesting things that commemorate our past heroes is not.
Protesting against a government that denies that Agent Orange affected our Vietnam veterans is all right while protesting against a company that makes landmines, which protect our lesser number of troops and that are programmed to self-destruct, is not.
Protesting against a government that denies that Iraq's chemical weapons effected our troops is all right while desecrating our flag which stands for all of the good done by Americans is not.
Protesting against a government which is wishy washy when sending Americans to die in battle is all right while protesting those who risked all when called to do so is not. In fact, that is despicable.
Protesting against a government which allows weapons of mass destruction to be sold promiscuously around the world is all right but protesting the display of the Navy Cruiser, DesMoines, and a park commemorating American veterans, who have risked all or sacrificed all to preserve our freedom, is not. That park would in no way glorify war.
In fact no protest is acceptable if it sends a message to the cutthroats of the world that they can become more aggressive.
Sadam Hussein, of Iraq, knows of the pacifist/isolationist feelings of the American people and uses this to keep testing and testing the U.N. Inspectors. He uses this so that he can continue to develop his biological and nuclear weapons until he can finally hold the world as his hostage.
There will be those of you who will ask how I know that he is developing such weapons and I will answer - only the naive don't believe this.
When this happens, the pacifists, the isolationists will be to blame. I don't want to go to my final grave knowing that I had a hand in that. I would rather my children and grandchildren were in their graves than slaves to madmen.
If America had not been so pacifist and isolationist before World War II, WWII may never have happened or the Axis powers would have been beaten so rapidly, millions upon millions of lives would have been saved - and the war would have been over before the atomic bombs were built.
Neville Chamberlain, of Great Britain, was one of those appeasers. Because of his appeasing, Hitler kept taking Europe a little at a time until it was a full scale war.
Because Hitler knew of the pacifism and isolationism of America and the backing down of Chamberlain, he continued conquest after conquest until there was a full scale war in which there were 17,000,000 military deaths and many, many millions more civilian deaths.
If America had stayed strong militarily, if she had not been pacifist and isolationist, Hitler would not have dared to make his move, the Japanese would not have dared to bomb Pearl Harbor and millions of people would have lived including 6 million Jews, and millions of other ethnic groups, especially Gypsies, Poles, and Slavs, a total, including the Jews said to be at least 11 million people because the Holocaust would never have happened.
A nation, especially such as the strongest nation on earth, cannot remain an isolationist nation. If they choose to do so, the bullies of the world will keep eating away at the other nations a little at a time until finally "the alligator eats us last."
The bullies of the world keep a close watch on the political pulse of America knowing what they can do by what actions they see here.
No one wants war, but only strength and the willingness to go to war can prevent war. Until all of the Madmen of the world are gone, there can be no peace except through strength.
Because of America's isolationism and pacifism before World War II, millions and millions of people were doomed to die. Because of America's isolationism and pacifism many Americans had to fight with far too little training and many more died than should have died.
In Korea, reservists were thrown into battle without even going through recruit training because our troop strength had been cut so drastically.
Most of you probably believe we shouldn't have become involved in the Korean war. If any of you have been hugged and thanked by a South Korean, like I have, for the freedom they have today you might think differently.
I happen to agree with what President Kim said at the unveiling of the Korean War monument in Washington, DC when he said: "The blood and sweat shed by the U.S. and U.N. troops, during that war, proved to be the prime mover behind the realization of freedom throughout the world after the war. In that sense the Korean war was a war that heralded the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the demise of communism." It's a shame that you who are veterans of that war don't appreciate what your sacrifice meant to the future of the world.
President Clinton said that "Because of our efforts, in that war, South Korea became a free and prosperous nation." It is a shame if you don't recognize the honor in that. The Korean War WAS an honorable and just war and needed to be fought. However, and hindsight is 20/20, if MacArthur had not advanced so close to the Chinese border, and if he had not kept saying he wanted to advance over the Yalu into China, that war probably could have produced the same results with far less loss of life.
Because of America's isolationism and pacifism and mixed up politicians, the war in Vietnam became a sham and thousands of Americans lost their lives - and eventually the non communists became enslaved, or killed, by the North Vietnamese. The communists were continuously encouraged by America's Peaceniks and the Jane Fondas and Father Berrigans. Mixed up political policy killed many, many Americans.
To sum up, I'd like you to think about these questions:
1. Do you believe most veterans want war?
2. Did the Berlin wall come down because of the actions of pacifists and isolationists or was it torn down because of America's military strength and resolve?
3. Does the paring down of the military cause more casualties early in conflicts or does it keep the casualties to a minimum?
4. What would conditions in South Korea be today if America and the U.N. had not intervened?
5. If America reduced its military to a mere trifle, would that prevent wars? Would America still stay free?
6. Would all of the bullies of the world reduce their militaries if the U.S. did?
7. If the United States destroyed all of its nuclear weapons, would this insure that ALL other nations would too?
8. If the United States had not developed "the bomb," would that mean that an atomic bomb would never have been developed?
9. If Germany, Japan, the USSR, North Korea, Iran or Iraq had been the first to develop "the bomb," would they have used it?
10. Did the fact that the U.S. was the first to have "the bomb" deter other countries from starting wars?
11. Could the reason that the U.S., and her allies, had so few combat deaths during the Gulf War have anything to do with being well prepared?
12. Does America have any responsibility to the world? Or should she be an island unto herself?
13. If Americans had refused to fight in wars would you have the freedom, you have today, to picket and voice your opinions?
I want to thank each of you who believe in something enough to have shown up here tonight, whether you agree or disagree with me.
"Veterans must stick together to defend future U.S. fighting men and women by agreeing that: NO U.S. CITIZEN SHOULD EVER BE COMPELLED TO FIGHT IN A WAR UNLESS: The congress is committed; The President is committed; and the people of the United States are committed to allow our fighting forces to win. And unless they're committed to freeing any American taken prisoner during conflict. WE WOULD EXPECT NO LESS AND WE SHOULD EXPECT NO LESS FOR FUTURE AMERICAN FIGHTING FORCES.
I close quoting what an American veteran, who lost his life fighting for our freedom, had printed on his tombstone: "Tell them: I gave all of my tomorrows so they could have today!" Would you no longer be willing to give all of your tomorrows so that your countrymen, your families, your children and your grandchildren could have today (free)?
Brooklyn Park, MN
(763)560-7473 - FAX (763)560-7348
E-Mail - KaleWDanberg@aol.com