2006 Mother’s Day Antiwar Rally Address

Posted by on May 18th, 2006

By Karen Kwiatkowski


I am a retired Air Force officer who saw lies being promulgated by the Pentagon and the administration, lies promoting and justifying a war that apparently couldn't be justified if the administration and the Pentagon had simply told the truth.

I have written and spoken from my perspective as a military officer, and as a citizen of this country.  I was offended as an officer and as a citizen that this is how our nation marches to war, using lies and false patriotism.  I was offended that the neoconservatives who demanded this war did so in a way that not only disregarded the value of truth, but the value of human life.  Ours and that of Iraqis. 

In over three years of destruction, we have witnessed the exposure of the lies the President told to justify his invasion of Iraq, and nearly 2500 dead Americans, almost 30,000 injured and maimed sons and daughters, and half a trillion dollars wasted. Today I also want to speak as a mother. I am the mother of four children -- a fifteen year old son, an seventeen year old daughter, a twenty year old son and a twenty two year old daughter. 

They say nothing more awe inspiring and powerful than a mother defending her young.  The truth should have prevented this invasion, and if not that. Certainly ended the occupation long ago.  But it did not.  No cost seems to high for this agenda in Iraq, if you ask the administration -- the Bushes, the Cheneys, the Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzes.  All parents or grandparents, none with a son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter at risk.  And yet neither the cold truth nor our bankrupt economy has been enough to end the occupation, and bring the troops home so we can have a real national defense, so we can begin taking care of them, and so that we can help them heal form this abuse of their trust, their faith in constitutional and international law and justice.  

The truth and our bankrupt economy are powerful things that should have already ended our adventure in Iraq.  The truth and our bankrupt economy should be enough to finally let Iraqis have their sovereignty back.  But they have not been enough. 

When this unjust war and occupation of Iraq ends, it may be only because mothers like all of you -- like all of us -- have entered the battle and tipped the scales -- not just for truth, justice, for peace, for the honor of our beloved country, but for our children. It is love that animates, love that empowers when even hope may be gone.  It is love that heals -- a wounded son, an heartbroken daughter, even a nation whose faith in itself as standing for something has been shattered.  And love may be what has been missing in the ending of this war -- love for our children, for our country, love for the enemy too.

It isn't easy to prescribe love.  And that's where mothers come in -- because while it isn't always easy to love, a mother's love is love on steroids.  It is love that never dies, does not give up, forgives, returns again and again, never quits, and never fails. 

Until today, I haven't spoken as a mother in my opposition to this war, but I have come to realize that there is a reason truth and justice and law have not yet caused our government to change course, and bring the troops home from this unnecessary, unjust and evil war. 

The untapped power of the love of a 100 million American mothers, and fathers too, for their precious children, and that precious next generation -- in America as well as in Iraq -- needs to flow.  It needs to flood the White House, drench the Capitol building, wash away the arrogance of the Pentagon.  The power of a mother's love is needed to embrace and hold each and every returning soldier, to weep openly over our dead, and to chastise this government for what it has done, and perhaps to forgive ourselves as citizens in a so-called democracy for what we have allowed our government to do in our name.

So today, as mothers, we seek peace.  We seek it for justice, in defense of the truth, in defense of the rule of law.  We seek peace as a remedy for an empire in deep debt, and facing a difficult economic future.  But seeking peace for these reasons alone have, in this case, not been enough. We need to tap into what really creates peace, and that is love.  And the most fundamental relationship where we all learn love -- even George W. Bush -- is as a child in our mother's arms.  This cannot be underestimated. 

With this -- on this very special Mother's Day -- we not only find peace, we become peacemakers.  And blessed are peacemakers -- Jesus said they are the children of God.  And if Jesus was right -- there is no limit to what we can achieve.