Friday, March 10, 2006

Joseph DuRocher is a Hero

I believe the following to be an open letter, of public domain, and fit for public reprint. Whether or not this is true, please view the original page.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the U. S. Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn “to protect and defend”. Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the Constitution and principles of our oath. My dad was buried with full military honors so I cannot act for him. But for myself, I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator'’s wings.

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to "disappear" them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a "signing statement" that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

As a citizen, a patriot, a parent and grandparent, a lawyer and law teacher I am left with such a feeling of loss and helplessness. I think of myself as a good American and I ask myself what can I do when I see the face of evil? Illegal and immoral war, torture and confinement for life without trial have never been part of our Constitutional tradition. But my vote has become meaningless because I live in a safe district drawn by your political party. My congressman is unresponsive to my concerns because his time is filled with lobbyists'’ largess. Protests are limited to your "free speech zones"”, out of sight of the parade. Even speaking openly is to risk being labeled un-American, pro-terrorist or anti-troops. And I am a disciplined pacifist, so any violent act is out of the question.

Nevertheless, to remain silent is to let you think I approve or support your actions. I do not. So, I am saddened to give up my wings and bars. They were hard won and my parents and wife were as proud as I was when I earned them over forty years ago. But I hate the torture and death you have caused more than I value their symbolism. Giving them up makes me cry for my beloved country.

Joseph W. DuRocher


I took a moment to respond to Mr. DuRocher. My response is free to be posted elsewhere under the conditions that it be done so only in conjuction with Mr. DuRocher's letter and only in its entirety. My requests are made in the quest to prevent malicious intent through intentional misquotation and juxtaposition.

Dear Joseph W. DuRocher,

My name is Adam Myers and I will be 28 this December. I have had nowhere near the experiences in life as you have had, but your words resonate within me. I serve as a youth minister for a United Methodist church outside of Jacksonville, FL. There are two military facilities nearby, Mayport Naval Station and Naval Air Station: Jacksonville. This is also a largely Republican-dominant and Evangelical-dominant (with much crossover) region. As a person who loves God and as many other human beings as I humanly can, I can't express how frustrated I have become during these last six years. This, too, is a very safe area for Republicans. I am regularly ribbed (many times good-natured, many times not) as to my political and social beliefs, that I am a "liberal who will grow up someday". I often campaign civilly and nonviolently for the protections you both mention and served for, while many people exclaim how un-American, misguided, and disrespectful I am for opposing the war or our president in war-time. I have been told from within my own congregation that God blesses the US to go to war because we are the "peacemakers" as mentioned in the beatitudes. I've had recent conversations where people explain that they're not worried about wire-tapping, the Patriot Act, or other measures because they're not doing anything wrong. People have said to me that it is better to torture others who may have information we need because it would be worse if we didn't and another 9/11 or worse were to occur (are they trying to convince me or themselves?). I, too, support and engage in nonviolent action yet wonder how effective can it be when relegated to nonsensical "free speech zones", is not the US a free speech zone?

Writing to you is part cathartic, part grasping for the solution you, too, seem to be grasping for. I have nothing to send the president as you have, but I should send a letter none-the-less. Thank you for your inspiration, its worth for me today is invaluable.

With warm regards,
Adam Myers

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