by James Ryan
May 12, 2006
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
We members of West Point Graduates Against The War stand appalled at the deceitful behavior of the government of the United States and, in particular, its widely known malefactors. Their lying, cheating, stealing, and rendition of evasive statements not only has demeaned these deceivers and our country, but they have placed vast numbers of innocent people in deadly peril as a direct result of their deceptions. We will not serve these lies, that is, we will not work for, be a servant to, provide for, assist, or promote the interests of this dishonorable administration. By remaining silent we tacitly serve; we are no longer silent.
The illegal assault and occupation in Iraq has killed tens of thousands of innocents, both American, Iraqi, and others, causing incalculable damage to Iraq and the Iraqi people, as well as the reputation and honor of the United States of America.
The behavior of this administration is particularly odious since it makes mockery of the code of conduct instilled in us at West Point. “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” This has provided us with a lifelong respect for the truth, and a sense of responsibility to do the right thing, even if that means admonishing our country’s leadership.
Our position may be counter to the opinion of many of our fellow graduates. Our views are most probably not the views of the official institution that is West Point. It does its work, we ours. Yet, we are undeniably full-blown products of that place, trademarked by the West Point way of behavior. “Duty, Honor, Country,” the motto of the Academy, our watchwords, as well. And we express our views as an organization of graduates, as retired generals of similar pedigree express their own. The difference? There are more of us than there are generals.
Admiral John Paul Jones, the father of the American navy, said it best. “I would lay down my life for America, but I cannot trifle with my honor.” This administration has done neither. Chicken hawks in wolves’ clothing, they have been derelict in duty, honor, and country.
Consider their sending under-equipped troops into battle under false pretenses, the widely-known ignoring of First Amendment protections of the Constitution, the “quaintness” of the Geneva Convention, or Colin Powell’s ill-starred, mendacious UN presentation. Their lies and misleading statements, detailed in so many places, have become epic. They tried to make their case. They failed. Facts and time have proven these people untrustworty and incompetent. They lied, tens of thousands died, and that is a moral tragedy.
Shamelessly, the president of the United States mocks his own deceitful behavior at White House Correspondents’ Dinners. People have perished from his infamous words, and he and his ilk, and the ilk of journalists, all guffaw and wink and preen. Duty, Honor, Country? Be serious.
We are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York who are against the war in Iraq, and any other future wars similarly premised. Our ranks include sons, daughters, and spouses of deceased graduates. All of us stand in common cause against the deceitful policies and lies of the Bush administration. We are heartened by supporters from all over the world, but particularly the American taxpayers who gave and maintain the life of the institution that bore us into the adult world of service to our country. And, in that spirit, we now act.
We are not politicians, professional media pundits, retired generals, peace-at-any-price activists, conscientious objectors, Communists or traitors. We seek to overthrow nothing. Except the pattern of deceit by this administration that has so sorely damaged this country, its standing in the world, and the world itself.
We have no historic legacy of public life that we are out to maintain because we have had no public life. We are ordinary people, forged by one unforgettable unifying experience – West Point. We studied there, we trained there, we were inspired there. We are the voice of a growing band of men and women, graduates of West Point, not perfect people, but honorable. And we speak for the many who, because of their circumstance, are reluctant or unable to speak.
We call likeminded graduates of West Point to stand with us and speak out against the deceitful policies of this administration, and the resulting destruction of the honor of the United States, and the dissipation of its military.
Alarum and call to action
Say no to preventive war. Heed President Eisenhower’s words. “When people speak to you about a preventive war,” he said, “you tell them to go and fight it.”
Say no to torture. Demand that the United States government respect the conventions of war. We must lead by example, preserving some aspect of humanity in the carnage and devastation. Today, we gaze into the abyss of perpetual war. Be aware, as Nietzsche warned, “If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Say no to the trashing of the honor of our country. Stay the forked tongues of this deplorable administration.
This is not a partisan issue. Both sides of the legislative chambers have aided and abetted this corrupt administration. We exhort everyone to stand with us and to write to their political representatives. We will do the same. Tell them that you don’t appreciate their silence on these vital issues. Tell them to support and defend the Constitution as they have sworn to do. Demand honorable behavior from all public officials. Tell them how you feel about what THEY have allowed to happen to our country. And tell them that we, West Point Graduates Against The War, sent you. Tell them that we stand with you. It’s the truth!
“Now is the time!” Martin Luther King said long ago. Indeed, NOW is the time.
We live on the precipice of yet another “arranged” war. This time it’s Iran. As in Iraq, the demonization is well underway. The dogs of war are foaming and gnashing. Deja vu all over again, or, as we used to say at West Point, S.O.S, “Same Old Stuff,” or words to that effect.
And all this in the name of homeland security. Please be serious. As Dwight Eisenhower said, “If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”
Today, we have clear intimations of just such a government. We think that Americans are not so easily cowed, and that the vast majority demands far more than a diet of false statements, and confinement in endless, immoral wars.
New voices can change the world. They always have. Stand with us!
Cofounder: West Point Graduates Against The War