Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace sent this additional update over the Google Groups Peace Movement on February 25, concerning the Left-Right Antiwar Meeting:
Sorry we did not videotape the event. We did not want to hinder discussion, wanted people to feel free to speak freely without fear that the whole world would see it. We did however take notes, had several people taking notes, and we will summarize the event probably as part of a book that will come out about across the political spectrum views on war and Empire.
There is only one luncheon speaker, otherwise every speaker was limited to five minutes so that we can have more dialogue than monologue. We succeeded in that, probably 3/4 of the even was discussion. So, there were no key note speakers, other than Nader at lunch.
Just because someone is a vet does not mean s/he cannot be against war. One of the more effective antiwar activists in American history was Smedley Butler -- the most decorated Marine in history who served for 34 years in the military. When he left he reflected on his career and wrote War is a Racket and described himself as a racketeer for big business. He lectured around the country against war, consistently.
I've also found some of the members of Iraq Vets Against the War and members of Veterans for Peace to be excellent anti-war pro-peace speakers.
The people in the room -- whether libertarian, conservative, liberal or progressive -- are not people who will become antiwar the next time war fever hits the nation. They are people who have written and spoken about war for a long time. So, I do not see about them changing their views "when the chips are down." Quite the opposite. I expect these will be the types who will speak up. These are not people who are stopping the bleeding of losing wars, these are people who oppose war. That is the core nucleus we need to build from.
If you are right and people cannot change their views than how will policy ever change? Why is education of Americans on the costs of war and Empire worth doing at all? I don't believe peoples views are set in stone. There is too much misinformation on which views are based. Getting out accurate information showing people how Empire undermines security, the economy and the rule of law is the antidote to misinformation.
-- Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace
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