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Joan Wile

Joan Wile is the Founder of Grandmothers Against the War and the author of "Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace" (Citadel Press)

September 18th, 2010 4:06 PM

We, Too, Saw Through the Lies

Dear Michael Moore:

I applaud you for opposing the war back then when most people, including liberal big-leaguers, were so gullible and cowed that they actually supported the Bush crime syndicate's sinister plot. I know you were razzed and attacked for speaking out and I am certainly sympathetic for the hard times you endured, knowing as you did how correct you were. But today at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that the world knows you opposed the war when others didn't dare to, and that you were right and they were wrong. You are now, justifiably, a hero to millions.

As you state, you weren't the only one, though your anti-war stance had the advantage of being widely noted, thus having the possibility of persuading people to rally against this iniquity being jammed down our throats. For instance, a group of us old New York City grandmothers, calling ourselves the Granny Peace Brigade, knew the war was wrong, too. We also never believed for one moment that there was any reason to invade Iraq. We read the New York Times and we, too, didn't believe. We heard that Hillary Clinton agreed we should attack Iraq, and we, too, still didn't believe. Our hearts broke when Al Franken went along with the program, and John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer and all the other Limp Liberals, and we didn't believe them, either.

And, Colin Powell, a man supposedly of impeccable character. Huh! We didn't believe him for one minute, either, as he shuffled all those maps in front of the cameras claiming they were proof of the WMDs. We knew there would be terrible consequences and that thousands of innocent people and our own military kids would die and be horribly wounded, physically and mentally. We knew it was a complete crock.

We trembled with outrage as CNN whooped it up during the hideous, unprovoked "Shock and Awe" bombing of Iraq as if it were the latest action movie. For shame!

So we, too, went out on a limb and tried to stop it. Soon after the war began, eighteen of us elderly grandmothers ranging in age from 60 through 90 went down to the Times Square military recruiting station and tried to enlist. We figured we'd had the good fortune to live long lives and we hoped to replace the kids so they'd have the same opportunity.

They didn't want us, though. In fact, they locked the door on us. So, we laboriously lowered our sore old joints and bones to the ground and sat. The cops came and asked us to move, but we wouldn't budge. We knew we were within our rights to hold a peaceful demonstration. Strangely, the police weren't as well acquainted with the Constitution, and they arrested us and took us to jail where we old ladies languished the afternoon away.

After that, we had several court appearances, always pushed along to the next one until finally we were put on trial in criminal court for six days. Wow, isn't it a credit to the City of New York that they caught us dangerous criminals and tried to convict us so the city would be safe?

Well, we were acquitted. We got some notice in the media, too, although it was short-lived. We decided to take advantage of our fifteen minutes of fame by doing everything within our power to try and alert the public of the folly, the immorality of our occupation of Iraq. We girded our over-the-hill but still kicking selves into one action after another.  We began a weekly vigil in front of Rockefeller Center, called the Grandmothers Against the War vigil, which has continued without missing a single one through today no matter what the elements throw at us -- pouring rain, debilitating heat, freezing cold. We didn't incur national wrath, as you and the Dixie Chicks did, but we had to deal with our share of hecklers passing by, especially in the first few years.  

We did parades across Brooklyn Bridge, a 10-day trek to Washington DC stopping at cities and towns along the way to spread the word. We wrote and performed shows with skits, comedy monologues, songs, and dramatic readings. We traveled to Europe and Central America to speak at peace meetings. We organized a national action wherein 100 grannies descended on the Capitol to lobby 100 senators for peace. We did a song and dance in the middle of Times Square. And more and more.

But, it didn't really do what we hoped. The war went on and on, and then our new President, who most of us old broads supported eagerly, went and increased the troops in Afghanistan. Yes, he had indicated during the campaign that he was going to focus on Afghanistan, but either we were too dazzled by him to notice or we figured once he was in office he'd see the light and bring them home.  So, now, we are struggling to end TWO wars. Don't think for a minute we are hoodwinked into believing the war in Iraq is over. Uh uh! Fifty thousand troops is not chopped liver, and they are dying, too, in smaller numbers, to be sure, but that's immaterial to a worried parent.

So we go on and on without much applause or acknowledgment, because we HATE what we have done to Iraq and Afghanistan. We DEPLORE threats to Iran and Pakistan. We DESPISE every goddamned criminal war act we commit, always trying to justify them with phony rhetoric about democracy and safeguarding the homeland and all that blarney.

President Obama may not know about us. Our senators and Congress people may not, either, nor much of the media. But, we will go on and on even if nobody but passersby on the street see us. We will go on and on as long as we can stand up. We have our grandchildren to consider, you see. We must try to leave them with the world a modicum more peaceful than it is now. If only we had a lot of years ahead of us so we could keep on keeping on until that is achieved.

But, unfortunately we don't. And, it looks, sadly, like this state of war and chaos is going to continue for a long, long time. We urgently hope there are patriots out there to replace us when we are unable to continue.

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