My name is Joaquin Rafael Roces. I have lived in Nevada since 1979. I grew up in Reno, and I was part of the third graduating class of McQueen High School in 1985. I have worked and lived in Fernley and Fallon. Among other things, I was a rodeo cowboy, a bull rider, Nevada is home to me. I want to preface what I am about to say with the comment, that I did not serve in a war like Al Gore, nor was I awarded the Purple Heart as was John Kerry. I was never a prisoner of war, and I am certainly no son of a President. I want to make it clear to everyone here, I am no hero. What I am is a Marine, I served as a rifleman with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Mar Div, FMFlant. In 1987, during training and security operations in the Republic of the
So forgive me, if I should seem a little uncomfortable with these proceedings as I am not a very good public speaker, and this is certainly way out of my comfort zone. However, I learned in the Marine Corps that comfort is an illusion born of familiar things and familiar ways; a tissue thin lie; a false sense of security that in of itself breeds mediocrity and complacency. It narrows the mind; weakens the body; and robs the soul of its spirit and determination. Comfort, the Marine Corps has taught me, is an illusion. Robert Kennedy once said it is not just bravery under fire or the bravery to make sacrifices, but the bravery to discard the comfort of illusion, to do away with false hopes and alluring promises. Reality is grim and painful, but it is only a remote echo of the anguish that a policy and agenda founded on illusion is sure to take us. The Bush doctrine, developed under the National Security Strategy (issued in 2002), advocates for the pre-emptive use of military power for self-defense and national security, if it is intended to assert a right available to the
Henry Kissinger, who is certainly not known for his dedication to International law, put the matter succinctly in a column for the Washington Post:
“As the most powerful nations in the world, the
Those principles are embodied within the framework of our Constitution. (Korematsu v.
Beyond the human cost, the financial and economic repercussions of “staying the course” at $9 billion per month, on top of an initial outlay of up to $13 billion for the deployment of troops to the Persian Gulf region will not be felt for years to come. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), they estimated the cost of "prosecuting" a war against
CBO estimated the following costs for an
- Initial deployment of troops: $9 billion to $13 billion
- Conducting the war: $6 billion to $9 billion per month
- Returning forces to US: $5 billion to $7 billion
- Temporary occupation of
: $1 billion to $4 billion per month Iraq
In comparison, from 1941 until 1945, during the Second World War, President Roosevelt paid for war effort by selling Bonds to the
The debate about
In 1975, the
There is a third way. Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, has proposed a five-point plan to keep
In 1975, civil war and sectarian violence erupted in
Sectarian violence among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds is now the major impediment to stability and progress in
The plan would maintain a unified
There is no purely military solution to the sectarian civil war. The only way to break the vicious cycle of violence – and to create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw -- is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully. That requires an equitable and viable power sharing arrangement. That’s where this plan comes in. This plan is not partition – in fact, it may be the only way to prevent violent partition and preserve a unified
The example of
President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in
At the start of my speech, I used a quote from Robert Kennedy who said it is not just bravery under fire or the bravery to make sacrifices, but the bravery to discard the comfort of illusion, to do away with false hopes and alluring promises. I believe this is a great nation and a great people. Any who seek to comfort rather than speak plainly, reassure rather than instruct, promise satisfaction rather than reveal frustration; they deny that greatness and drain that strength. In closing, I think it an appropriate reminder that our freedom is not assured by the brilliance of our weapons, the greatness of our army, or the rhetoric of our noble leaders; it assured by the Constitution and the core principles embodied within. As a Marine Rifleman that is what I was sworn to defend above all else, against all enemies foreign and domestic. It is not about the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. The test of this new presidency is not about who is to blame for the past; but who will accept responsibility for our future.
Today, democrats, republicans and independents have come together to urge Dean Heller to change his position on the Iraq War. I was disheartened to learn that the White House and not General Petraeus, will give the the "Progress" report on Iraq next month. After more than four years of war, I no longer trust this administration and its false illusions and bright and shining lies. But most disheartening is Dean Heller's refusal to attend this town hall meeting and explain to us face to face why he continues to block an end to the war.