With many anti-Iraq/peace marches scheduled for this weekend, Colorado Confidential caught up with Calvin Lee, who eloquently expressed his passion for peace and his desire to protest against Bush Administration practices.Q: Why did you form the “Roaring Fork Peace Coalition?”
A: I founded the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition solely to protest President Bush’s drumbeat for the invasion of Iraq. Despite the march of millions worldwide and hundreds locally in opposition to a pre-emptive strike, we invaded Iraq and Bush was re-elected.
Q: But then you “dropped out?” What happened?
A: I decided after the re-election that the American people had spoken and we would deserve whatever came next. I hadn’t been to a Roaring Fork Peace Coalition meeting or written a letter to the editor for the last two years, waiting to see what karma had in store for us.
After 9/11 and before the invasion of Iraq, I quoted Nietzche, “Take care in fighting monsters that you do not become a monster yourself. If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss will start staring back into you.”
Looking deeply back into us in condemnation is Abu Ghraib, rendering for torture, Walter Reed Hospital, 3,000 dead U.S. soldiers, 300,000 murdered Iraqi civilians and chaos. It is time once again to speak out against the most inept, mendacious, corrupt and clueless presidential administration in my lifetime.
President Bush appears to be on the verge of attacking Iran to rally us again for a war to take our focus away from a miserable failure in Iraq — a war to promote Bush’s ideological view of the world and planned years ago by the neoconservatives to control Middle East oil.
Q: The local newspapers have been filled with letters to the editor from both sympathizers and critics of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition. Detractors complain any peace movement thwarts America’s fight against terrorists. What is your response to these charges?
A: Terrorists are obviously wrongheaded and ideologically violent. No letters to the editor are necessary in this regard. What is disturbing to anti-war protesters is the uncritical and zealously patriotic acceptance by the American public of our own barbarous acts clothed in the name of “freedom” and “support the troops.”
When it was the perception that we were victors, there was no moral outrage about the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians being killed. Only when we are losing the lives of American soldiers and clearly losing the conflict are we against the war.
We have enriched the lives of many with our international humanitarian largesse while at the same time enraging many with our military and covert manipulation for geopolitical advantage. It is the less obvious covert actions of our government that critics of our government wish to expose.
It is no longer an option to remain silent as we look into the abyss of raining chaos on the entire Middle East region.
Q: You participated in the peace march in Washington DC last month. What was that like?
It was amazing to me that we had 800 people marching down Grand Avenue in hoe dunk, conservative Glenwood Springs before the invasion of Iraq. Sometimes though it does feel lonely here in a mostly out of the way, uncritical flag waving community.
To be surrounded at the National Mall in D.C. by ten of thousands of people who care about lost lives, both American and Muslim, is a pretty awesome feeling and energized me to participate in the March 17th anti war event in Sayre Park, Glenwood Springs.
Note: For a calendar of anti-war/peace events in Colorado, check here.
Photo from last month’s protest in Carbondale by Leslie Robinson.