Suzanne Swift's mother speaks to her son and to the nation
A letter to my Son and to my Nation
I know it has been very difficult for you to watch me work night and day to protect your sister, Suzanne, and the hundreds of other people sexually abused and harassed in the military. It has been hard, but nothing compares to the stress we went through when Suzanne was in Iraq for that very long year. I watch your face as Suzanne tells her stories of being in Iraq and being shot at more times that she can count. You have been so strong and loving through this all. For a 12 year old boy you are very compassionate and intelligent. I was so proud of you for wearing your "Impeach Bush and Cheney" shirt today and that you want to be V from "V for Vendetta" for halloween. It makes me smile to know you have a mind to see what has to be done in our nation to begin to regain some national pride.
You have heard my story about watching the movie "Sir, No Sir" and how it slammed my heart to hear the story of the Vietnam Veteran and how he was 11 when he watched the beginning of the Vietnam invasion on television. By the time he was 18, he was drafted and fighting against the Vietnamese. This had a very deep and real impact on me. I was thinking that you, my loving, gentle, basketball playing boy could in 6 short years be drafted to fight a possible World War 3. I thought, there
is no way in hell my son is going to be forced to kill. And even if there is a "noble cause", we all will know the history. I tell my friends about this very possible future. They who sit by while I rant, rave and take to the streets daily to work for peace, refusing to be silent. They reply that they will just take their child to Canada or New Zealand. Can you imagine my anger at this elitist way of thinking? Not only is it elitist but it is faulty. Canada is not taking our young people anymore. Our AWOL soldiers are being sent back to face court martial for standing up and saying no to this illegal and immoral genocide, supported by our corrupt government.
I attended the opening of Arlington West in Olympia, Washington last week. As I was placing the symbolic headstones for our fallen soldiers on their spikes, my heart broke. Not only for the soldiers, many of them 19 and 20, but for the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children that are being left behind. My worst fear when my daughter Suzanne was in Iraq for an entire year was that I would get the official
military notification visit that my friends Cindy and Carlos & Melida describe with such painful clarity. As I placed each headstone tears began to stream down my face as I whispered, "So sorry buddy, so sorry." At times I can't sleep because I think about what more can I personally do to bring the troops home now. And what can I do NOW to keep my son from being drafted and sent to the very likely start of World War 3. How can we heal the middle east and let them establish the type of community
structure that works for them. Let's stop funding Israel and start funding medical care and education for every child. I tell you Jake, you are lucky you have health care and a bright future. I am working everyday to ensure that you have every opportunity to grow and thrive.
After the struggle I have had trying to get our elected officials to really help your sister to be treated fairly and justly, I realized something very scary and profound. Hearing about the congressional abuses of power to exploit minors and their subsequent cover ups, and reading the book, "The Franklin Cover-Up" by John W. Decamp, I realized that our nation does not value our children. As evolved, powerful and wealthy as we proclaim we are, our lack of action belies our words. Starting with poor prenatal care, to the lack of funding for our nations schools, and allowing the US military to have access to our children and prey upon them by lying to them in order to enlist them. Our elected officials seem only to respond to numbers, dollars and statistics. Who is covering up for whom? How can we be allowing this flagrant disregard for our children to continue? Jake, can you imagine some of your
friends who do not have the financial options that you do being sent to war in 6 years? Look around your school or at your buddies on your basketball team. Can you imagine Malik, Tristan or Keidran being sent over to war? I know you understand why I am doing this and why I spend so many weekends away trying to raise awareness and increase the number of people singing and screaming in our choir so we can start protecting our children.
Once again, our nation is turning it's back on our children and soldiers. Why is it that a child can enlist and be sent off to kill before they are 21 yet they are not allowed to drink alcohol? If our Nation truly wanted to protect our children, why don't we raise the enlistment age to 21. At least by then the frontal lobes of the brain have begun to connect and some level of maturity has started to surface. I think this is criminal to allow these predators into our schools to seduce and lie to our children.
Children are our most precious resource, NOT OIL. We have to stop our addiction to oil. By investing in alternative energy solutions we can stop the war/oil mongering that is running our country into a financial and spiritual nightmare. I would rather give up my car forever than risk your precious life for oil. We have passed the 2,800 US soldiers to have died now in this illegal and immoral conflict. How many more of our children are going to be sacrificed? Why are our Congressional Representatives and Senators not working day and night to Impeach Bush and Cheney? Or even better: to bring our troops home now and take care of them when they get here! You know I have been working hard to get your sister out of the military where she was allowed to be sexually used and abused by her superior officers. I want her to have the benefits
that the recruiter told her she would receive for serving her country. It almost seems unfair for me to work so hard for these benefits when the VA is swamped and denying claims left and right. They do not have the resources to provide for the physical and mental devastation that is being inflicted upon the Iraq Veterans. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is at an epidemic high for our Veterans. Depleted Uranium poisoning is not widely known about. Why aren't we interviewing these families who are having deformed babies resulting from their soldier parents exposure to
illegal chemical weapons?
By getting people to see that this is affecting them right now, I am hoping to motivate them to action. To write letters to their editorial boards and elected officials. These officials took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Hold them to this oath with daily vigor. Support groups like Gold Star families for Peace, MilitaryFamilies Speak Out , Vets for Peace, Iraq Veterans
Against the War and Codepink. Or help our war resisters, Ricky, Darrell, Mark, Kyle, Agustin, Melanie, Kevin, Camilo, Catherine and Ehren. They are all heroes in my book.
We have to help our nation and world move away from the religions and politics that divide us and move towards seeing our common divine humanity. After reading Sam Harris's book, "Letter to a Christian Nation" it was clear that this shift is one of the most vital moves we can make to create peace and social change for our lives and the generations to follow. This type of evolutionary process is happening in small
ways all over our country and it is time to support it with all our hearts.
I want to give you hope, Jake. I want you to believe in our country and trust that a government official would not lie or manipulate you. I want you to grow old in a peaceful world where we value our children and make war mongering extinct, instead of destroying our civilization. Along with your sister being free and healthy living a life full of love and laughter, I want you to be in college and playing
basketball for the Tarheels in 6 years, not being drafted and fighting World War 3.
Peace, everyday it is our goal~
aka Sara Rich
aka the proud mom of Suzanne, Sonja, Brandy and Jake.
P.S. Suzanne's attorney just called. He is flying out to do pretrial work in December and court martial is tentatively set sometime in January. We will keep you posted.