January 18, 2003
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"Speech at the National March Against the War"

Washington, D.C.

(Over 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on January 18, 2003 to rally and march against the U.S. government's plans to slaughter the people of Iraq. John Dear was a featured speaker along with many others including Liz McAlister, Mahti Bray, Al Sharpton, Jessica Lange, Tyne Daly and Jesse Jackson.)

Today, in the name of truth and love, we say, "Don't bomb Iraq," because bombing Iraq will not bring democracy; will not bring nuclear disarmament or peace to the Middle East; will not prevent terrorist attacks; will not help the international work of peacemaking or the U.N. inspections; will not feed the hungry or pay for jobs, healthcare, education, housing, or environmental clean-up; will not uphold international law; will not solve our problems. Bombing Iraq will only protect the oil companies; sow the seeds of further terrorism; set a horrible global precedent, that it's ok to bomb preemptively; and massacre hundreds of thousands of people.

Today, in the name of the innocent children of Iraq, we say, "Don't bomb Iraq," because they have died by the hundreds of thousands from our sanctions, they live in terror from our bombs, they only want to live in peace with us.

Today, in the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., we say "Don't bomb Iraq," because Dr. King said the night before he died, "The choice is no longer violence or nonviolence. It's nonviolence or nonexistence"; because he reclaimed Jesus' famous words, "love your enemies, don't bomb them"; because he calls us to become people of nonviolence; because he says peaceful means are the only way to a peaceful future and the God of peace.

Today, in the name of Philip Berrigan, we say, "Don't bomb Iraq," because my friend Phil who died last month says, "We are not allowed to kill. We are not allowed to be silent while the killing goes on in our name." So we pledge in the name of brother Phil and brother Martin to peacefully, prayerfully, nonviolently disrupt this country and make it harder for Bush and Cheney to massacre our sisters and brothers in Iraq.

Today, in the name of the God of peace, we say, "Don't bomb Iraq," because war is not the will of God; war is never blessed by God; war is the ultimate mortal sin; there is no such thing as a just war; war cannot end terrorism because war is terrorism; war is not the way to God. The God of peace calls us to beat our swords into plowshares and live in peace with every human being on the planet.

Dear friends, don't be discouraged. Don't be afraid. Don't give up.

Keep on speaking out for peace. Thank you, and God bless you.

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