* Salt Lake City Mayor: Challenging the Culture of Obedience *


Richard Moore

From: "Lincoln B. Justice" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A Turning Point for Truth
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 23:39:58 -0500

Challenging the Culture of Obedience
    By Ross C. Anderson
    The Nation
    Thursday 31 August 2006

A speech by the mayor of one of the most conservative cities in the US may well 
mark the turning point in the history.

As President Bush visited Salt Lake City August 30 to promote his policies in 
Iraq and the "war on terror," Salt Lake City Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson 
delivered this address at a peace rally outside City Hall that drew more than 
2,500 people.

Watch the video here, via CBS affiliate KUTV, Salt Lake City:    


A patriot is a person who loves his or her country. Who among you loves your 
country so much that you have come here today to raise your voice out of deep 
concern for our nation - and for our world?

And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation's 
leaders tell us the truth?

Let's hear it: "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!"

Let no one deny that we are patriots. We support our nation's troops - let's 
hear it for our nation's troops! And we have so many veterans here today. We are
grateful to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, so much 
that we could be here today.

We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, 
and we are distressed at what our President, his Administration, and our 
Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our great nation.

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country 
to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of 
politeness or for the sake of being a good host; or to show slavish, blind 
obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating 

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a 
member of a frightening culture of obedience - a culture where falling in line 
with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not 
easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid - afraid we are 
right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she 
has put in with an oppressive, inhumane regime that does not respect the laws 
and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst 
presidency our nation has ever had to endure.

In response to those who believe we should blindly support this disastrous 
President, his Administration, and the complacent, complicit Congress, listen to
the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great President and a Republican, who said: 
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public 
servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is 
warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in 
rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.

"Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell 
the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame 
him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right."

President Theodore Roosevelt continued, " Any other attitude in an American 
citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of
the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not 
only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even
more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about 
anybody else." Those are the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great president who 
knew the true meaning of patriotism.

We are here today as truth-tellers.

And we are here to demand: "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the 

We are here today to insist that those who were elected to be our leaders must 
tell us the truth.

We are here today to insist that our news media live up to its sacred 
responsibility to ascertain and report the truth - rather than acting like 
nothing more than a bulletin board for the lies and propaganda of a 
manipulative, dishonest federal government.

We have been getting just about everything but the truth on matters of life and 
death - on matters upon which our nation's reputation hinges - on matters that 
directly relate to our nation's fundamental values - and on matters relating to 
the survival of our planet.

In the process, our nation has engaged in a tragic unnecessary war, based upon 
categorically false justifications. More than a hundred thousand people have 
been killed - and many more have been seriously maimed, brain-damaged, or 
rendered mentally ill.

Our nation's reputation throughout much of the world has been destroyed. We have
many more enemies bent on our destruction than before our invasion of Iraq, and 
the hatred toward us has grown to the point that it will take many years, 
perhaps generations, to overcome the loathing created by our unjustified illegal
invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.

What incredible ineptitude and callousness for our President to talk about a 
Crusade while lying to us to make a case for the invasion and occupation of a 
Muslim country!

Our children and later generations will pay the price of the lies, the violence,
the cruelty, the incompetence, and the inhumanity of the Bush Administration and
the lackey Congress that has so cowardly abrogated its responsibility and 
authority under our checks-and-balances system of government.

We are here to say, "We will not stand for it any more. No more lies. No more 
pre-emptive, illegal war, based on false information. No more God-is-on-our-side
religious nonsense to justify this immoral, illegal war." And we are here to say
most fundamentally, "No more inhumanity in the name of our nation."

Let's raise our voices, and demand, "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give 
us the truth!"

Let's consider some of the most monstrous lies - lies that have led us, like a 
nation of sheep, to this tragic war.

Following September 11, 2001, the world knew that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda 
were responsible for the horrific attacks on our country. Our long-time allies 
were sympathetic and supportive. But our President transformed that support into
international disdain for the United States, choosing to illegally invade and 
occupy Iraq, rather than focus on and capture the perpetrators of the 9/11 
attacks on our country.

Why invade and occupy Iraq when it was Bin Laden and al Qaeda that attacked our 
country and who still have never been brought to justice? Vice President Dick 
Cheney and Condoleezza Rice represented to us, without qualification, that there
were strong ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

In September, 2002, President Bush made the incredible and absolutely false 
claim that "You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam."

President Bush represented to Congress, without any factual basis whatsoever, 
that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.

Our President and Vice-President, along with an unquestioning news media, 
repeatedly led our nation to believe that there was a working relationship 
between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, a relationship that threatened the 
United States.

Even last week, when I met with Thomas Bock, National Commander of the American 
Legion, I asked him why we are engaged in the war in Iraq. He said, "Why, of 
course, because of the 9/11 attacks on our country." I asked, "What did Iraq 
have to do with those attacks?" He looked puzzled, then said, "Well, the 
connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq."

I was shocked. I was stunned. Here is a man who has criticized us for opposing 
the war in Iraq - and he is completely wrong about the underlying facts used to 
justify this war.

Not only has there never been any evidence of any involvement by Saddam or Iraq 
with the attacks on 9/11, but there has never been any evidence of any 
operational connection whatsoever between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

Colin Powell finally conceded there is "no concrete evidence about the 
connection." The chairman of the monitoring group appointed by the United 
Nations Security Council to track Al Qaeda disclosed that his team had found no 
evidence linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein. And the top investigator for our 
European allies has said, "If there were such links, we would have found them. 
But we have found no serious connections whatsoever."

President Bush himself finally admitted nine days ago on August 21st, during a 
press conference, that there was no connection between the attacks on 9/11 and 
Iraq. It's terrific that the President has now admitted what others have known 
for so long - but where is the accountability for the tragic war we were led 
into on the basis of his earlier misrepresentations?

Besides the fictions of Saddam Hussein somehow being linked to the 9/11 attacks 
and his supposed connections with Al Qaeda, what was the principal justification
for forgoing additional weapons inspections, failing to work with our allies 
toward a solution, refraining from seeking additional resolutions from the 
United Nations consistently with international law, and hurrying to war - a 
so-called "pre-emptive" war - in which we would attack and occupy a Muslim 
nation that posed no security risk to the United States, and cause the deaths of
many thousands of innocent men, women, and children - and the deaths and 
lifetime injuries to many thousands of our own servicemen and servicewomen?

The principal claim was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - 
biological and chemical weapons - and was seeking to build up a nuclear weapons 
capability. As we now know, there was nothing - no evidence whatsoever - to 
support those false claims. President Bush represented to us, and to people 
around the world, that one of the reasons we needed to make war in Iraq - and to
do it right away - was because Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear 
weapons. His assertions about Saddam Hussein trying to purchase nuclear 
materials from an African nation and about Iraq seeking to obtain aluminum tubes
for the enrichment of uranium were challenged at the time by our own 
intelligence agency and by our own scientists, yet President Bush failed to tell
us that!

Ten days before the invasion of Iraq, it was proven that the documents upon 
which President Bush's claim about Saddam Hussein trying to obtain uranium was 
based were forgeries. That was found ten days before we invaded Iraq. However, 
President Bush did not disclose that to the American people. By that failure, he
betrayed each of us, he betrayed our country, and he betrayed the cause of world

Neither did the vast majority of the news media disclose the forgeries - until 
it was far too late. It took our local newspapers here in Salt Lake City four 
months - until after President Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over 
- to report the discovery that those documents were forgeries - and, therefore, 
that there was no basis for the false claims about Saddam Hussein trying to 
build up a nuclear capability. By its failure to promptly disclose those 
forgeries, our news media betrayed us as well. Had the American people known we 
were being lied to - had President Bush informed us that the documents were 
forged and that he had no other basis for his claim - had our nation's media 
done its job, rather than slavishly repeating to us the lies being fed to it by 
the Bush Administration - our nation very well may not have allowed the 
commencement of this outrageous, illegal, unjustified war.

To President Bush, to his Administration, to our go-along Congress, and to our 
news media, we are here today, demanding, "Give us the truth! Give us the truth!
Give us the truth!"

Then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that high-strength aluminum
tubes acquired by Iraq were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," 
warning "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Undisclosed by 
President Bush or Condoleezza Rice was the fact that top nuclear scientists had 
informed the Administration that the tubes were "too narrow, too heavy, too 
long" to be useful in developing nuclear weapons and could be used for other 
purposes. Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic 
Energy Agency, agreed. So much for the phony claims of Saddam Hussein building 
nuclear weapons, which were the primary claims justifying the rush to war.

What were we told about chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction? 
These claims were as baseless and fraudulent as the claims about nuclear 
weapons. President Bush told us in his January 2003 State of the Union address 
that Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard 
and VX nerve agent. Then, in May of 2003, he made the outlandish statement (and 
it turned out to have been totally false) that, "We found the weapons of mass 
destruction. We found biological laboratories." Secretary of Defense Donald 
Rumsfeld told us, "We know where the [WMDs] are." Vice President Cheney and 
then-Secretary of State Powell also joined in the chorus of lies and 
misinformation about weapons of mass destruction.

Of course, no stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons were found. Bush 
Administration Weapons Inspector David Kay noted that Iraq did not have ongoing 
chemical weapons programs after 1991 - a conclusion remarkably similar to 
statements made by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice before the 9/11 attacks - 
and before they sacrificed the truth in the service of promoting the Bush 
Administration's case for war against Iraq.

On February 24, 2001, less than 7 months before 9/11, Colin Powell said that 
Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to 
weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against 
his neighbors," said Colin Powell.

And in July 2001, two months before 9/11, Condoleezza Rice said: "We are able to
keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."

It is astounding how they changed their claims after the President decided to 
make a case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq! To think that we could be 
lied to by so many members of the Bush Administration with such impunity is 
frightening - chilling. Yet these imperious, arrogant, dishonest people think we
should  continue to just fall in line with them and take them at their word 
after they have lied to us time after time.

The truth has been established. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on 
the United States. There is no evidence of any operational ties between Iraq and
Al Qaeda. And there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What a tragedy,
leading to greater tragedy. We are fed lie after lie, our media reinforces those
lies, and we are a nation that has been led to a tragic, illegal, unprovoked 

We are here because of our values. We love our country. We cherish the freedoms 
and liberties of our country. We don't call those who speak out against our 
nation's leaders unpatriotic or un-American or appeasers of fascists as we heard
from our incompetent Secretary of Defense yesterday..

We have good, wholesome family values. In our families, we teach honesty, we 
teach kindness and compassion toward others, we teach that violence, if ever 
justified, must be an absolutely last resort. In our families, we teach that our
nation's constitutional values are to be upheld, and that they are worth 
standing up as we are here today and fighting for. Our family values promote 
respect and equal rights toward everyone, regardless of race, regardless of 
ethnic origin, and regardless of sexual orientation. In our families, we teach 
the value of hard work and competence - and we are left to wonder about a 
President who, after receiving an intelligence memo about the threat posed by Al
Qaeda, decides to continue his month-long vacation - just before the 9/11 
attacks on our country.

As we demand the truth from others, let us also face the truth. Our government 
all too often has not cared at all about the human rights of people in other 
nations - and it doesn't really care about democracy, unless it leads to the 
election of those who will do our bidding. Consider the irony regarding the 
claims that Saddam had chemical weapons and, because of that, we needed to rush 
to war against Iraq. When Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons - first 
against Iranians, then against his own people, the Kurds - our country provided 
him with biological and chemical agents and equipment to make those weapons. 
Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush refused even to support economic 
sanctions against Hussein for his use of weapons of mass destruction. What did 
our nation do in response to Hussein's use of chemical weapons, killing tens of 
thousand of people, when he actually had them, and we knew that he had them?

We befriended, coddled, and rewarded him - with government-guaranteed loans 
totaling $5 billion since 1983, freeing up currency for Hussein to modernize his
military assets.

Perhaps those in the US government who aided and abetted Saddam Hussein to 
further US business interests, while he was gassing the Kurds, should be sharing
his courtroom dock as he is being tried now for crimes against humanity. No more
lies, no more hiding of the truth - we can stand the truth -no more wars that 
more than triple the value of stock in Dick Cheney's prior employer, Halliburton
- and which, as of last September, has increased the value of the Halliburton 
CEO's stock - one person, their CEO - by $78 million.

We are patriots. We're deeply concerned. And we demand change, now. No more lies
from Condoleezza Rice about whether she and President Bush were advised before 
9/11 of the possibility of planes being flown into buildings by terrorists.

No more gross incompetence in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

No more torture of human beings.

No more disregard of the basic human rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention.

No more kidnapping of people and sending them off to secret prisons in nations 
where  they will be tortured.

No more unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans.

No more proposed amendments to the United States Constitution that would, for 
the first time in our nation's history, limit fundamental rights and liberties 
for entire classes of people simply on the basis of sexual orientation.

No more federal land giveaways to developers.

No more increases in mercury emissions from old, dirty, dangerous coalburning 
power plants.

No more backroom deals that deprive protection for millions of acres of wild 
lands in our nation.

No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better lives in this 

No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and inconsistent 
immigration laws and practices.

No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global warming.

No more manipulation of our media with false propaganda.

No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need.

No more federal cuts in community policing and local law enforcement grant 
programs for our cities.

No more inaction on stopping the tragic genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

No more of the Patriot Act.

No more killing.

No more supposedly pre-emptive wars.

No more contempt for our long-time allies around the world.

No more dependence on foreign oil.

No more failure to impose increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles 
manufactured in this country.

No more energy policies developed in secret meetings between Dick Cheney and his
energy company cronies.

No more excuses for failing to aggressively cut global warming pollutant 

No more tragically incompetent federal responses to natural disasters like 
hurricane Katrina.

No more tax cuts for the wealthiest, while the middle class and those who are 
economically-disadvantaged continue to struggle more and more each year.

No more reckless spending and massive tax cuts, resulting in historic deficits 
and historic accumulated national debt.

No more purchasing of elections by the wealthiest corporations and individuals 
in our country.

No more phony, ineffective, inhumane so-called war on drugs.

No more failure to pass an increase in the minimum wage.

No more silence by the American people.

If we can do this in Salt Lake City we're going to see it throughout the country
and the world is going to hear us.

This is a new day. We will not be silent. We will continue to raise our voices. 
We will bring others with us. We will grow and grow, regardless of political 
party - unified in our insistence upon the truth, upon peace-making, upon more 
humane treatment of our brothers and sisters around the world.

We will be ever cognizant of our moral responsibility to speak up in the face of
wrongdoing, and to work as we can for a better, safer, more just community, 
nation, and world.

So we won't let down. We won't be quiet. We will continue to resist the lies, 
the deceptions, the outrages of this Bush Administration and of this complacent,
complicit go-along Congress. We will insist that peace be pursued, and that, as 
a nation, we help those in need. We must break the cycle of hatred, of 
intolerance, of exploitation. We must pursue peace as vigorously as the Bush 
Administration has pursued war. It's up to all of us to do our part.

Thank you everyone for lending your voices to this call for compassion, for 
peace, for greater humanity. Let us keep in mind the injunction of Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things 
that matter."

@ @ @ END @ @ @
Foot Note:
GATHER to break the cycle of violence:

On September 11, 1906 Mohandas Gandhi convened a meeting in Johannesburg, South 
Africa, to mobilize his community to oppose racially degrading legislation. That
September 11th, more than 3000 people solemnly pledged to disobey the proposed 
law, despite the consequences, without the use of violence. This fall, 
Nonviolent Peaceforce invites you to resolve to break the new cycle of violence 
that began on September 11, 2001.

Gather with others to reflect on the teachings of Gandhi, to take the Resolution
together, to discuss working for the use of nonviolent solutions to conflicts. 
We've provided a leaflet template you can edit, a Gathering Guide, background 
articles, and other resources you can use locally to hold your own 100th 
Anniversary event.


@ @ @
What happened on 9-11-2001?

If, as the Bible says, knowing the truth will set you free, then the revelations
promised in the 9/11 truth movement are frightening indeed. They describe a 
world that's more murderous, callous and scary than we can imagine. But the 
thought of a malicious government that's actively out to manipulate us is an 
enemy we can fight, which is somewhat more comforting than the alternative -- a 
series of bungling, incompetent institutions that have failed us, and will fail 
us again, just when we need them the most.

@ @ @

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