A Fast For Life

September 1, 1986

I and three other veterans of war have decided to embark upon the most important mission of our lives–a fast for life. Once having put our bodies on the line elsewhere in the waging of war, for issues we did not fully or even minimally understand, we now choose to put our bodies on the line here in this country in the waging of peace for issues we possess a clearer understanding of. We do so with a great affirmation for life–all life, whether for Nicaraguans, North Americans, Soviet citizens, etc. This decision became quite clear in the hours after the June 25, 1986 vote of the U.S. House of Representatives to grant $100 million to our contra terrorists in Nicaragua. This policy, subsequently seconded by the August 13 Senate vote, ostensibly under the guise of promoting our "national security," in some profound manner represents the collective, prevailing ethic of our entire culture.

As in Vietnam I, this Vietnam II policy means the death and maiming of thousands of people. This time the victims will be Nicaraguans at the mercy of our proxy killers 2,000 miles to the south. Our water-only fast for life will place us in a position of being proxies in the United States for the Nicaraguan victims of our policies.

We want our expressions of conscience to be clear to people everywhere–in Central or South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as in our native country–that in this undertaking our government does not speak for us. We choose to act with our lives in a manner that makes explicit,and compelling the nature and depth of our feelings and beliefs about our government’s policies and of the sacredness of life itself. We choose to act in a way that cannot be construed as being silent about or complicit with our government’s illegal and immoral policies in Central America. We feel revulsion for our policies of death. We feel solidarity with the Nicaraguan victims of these policies. We feel an affirmation and love for life, all life. And we believe that the soul of our country is awaiting an awakening. We make a plea to the people of our own culture to connect passionately with the victims of our policies, and then for each person to search his or her heart and conscience as to how to respond to the inner voice, how to escalate an expression of personal power and love to move for life in opposition to those forces of evil that emanate from our own government and from our own culture. This is the time to reclaim our power as loving beings.

In this act we are invoking the Nuremberg principles. The Nuremberg Charter and the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, both eagerly signed to by our government, are part of our international law, and consequently part of our Supreme Law through Article VI of our Constitution. These two legal authorities, designed to prevent any future complicity of a populace with the crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and war crimes committed by their government or officials thereof, obligate individual citizens to comply with international law, and, in our case, with our own Constitution, even when that individual’ s government or superiors order otherwise. They call upon people to take whatever action seems necessary to make known the violations of their own government and to stop the continuation of those violations.

Our policies in Nicaragua have been determined to be in violation of international law by the World Court that our country was so instrumental in creating in 1945 as part of the United Nations in an effort to preserve world order and justice. In addition, our behavior violates a number of treaties and charters we have signed that protect the sovereignty of nations from outside aggression and interference. Our own Neutrality Act prohibits any support of mercenary activities directed against foreign countries or governments with which the U.S. maintains diplomatic relations. The lawlessness of our government is so outrageous, so unconscionable, that it can no longer be denied or ignored by conscientious citizens. Only we the people can stop our own lawlessness. The alternative is to blindly await the inevitable calamity that most certainly will occur sooner or latter due to our selfish behavior and obsession with militarism and violence to preserve our greedy way of life. If we cannot be a loving nation, then perhaps we can at least be a law abiding people.

We will be praying for change, for transformation in the hearts and minds of our own people. We will patiently be looking for evidence that the North American people refuse to live in the silence of implied consent, that they will begin paying the price for peace and justice by escalating their resistance and non-cooperation with an illegal, immoral, and insane government. We will watch for evidence that the U.S. is willing to abide by the World Court decision in relation to our aggression against the sovereign nation of Nicaragua. We will pray. We will vigilantly watch for movement. We will listen with sacred attention to the Inner Voice and the Great Spirit, day by day, as to how and in what manner we are individually and collectively to carry out our mission. We are as prepared as we can be to go all the way with our fast–that is to starve our bodies to death to enhance the life of the spirit. We are also prepared to feed our bodies and to continue a life of promotion of peace, justice and love, and will conscientiously look for the signs to begin eating once again. But we also have learned from Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and others, that unearned suffering is redemptive. Gandhi declared: "Things of fundamental importance to people are not secured by reason alone, but have to be purchased with their suffering."

I and my three compatriots have all experienced much needless suffering and death in our war experiences. It does not seem too much to place ourselves in a vulnerable position, participating in a life-threatening mission that promotes peace not war; life, not death; empowerment, not apathy; responsibility, not denial; truth, not lies; resistance, not complicity; and nonviolence, not violence. We invite our citizenry, in whatever manner seems best, to join us in a journey of active peace-making and justice-seeking.

When Martin Luther King made his historic anti-Vietnam speech on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York City, "A time to Break Silence," (sometimes referred to as a "Declaration of Independence From the War in Vietnam") he declared the following: "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing oriented’ society to a ‘person oriented’ society…These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest." It is in this spirit that we begin our journey of a fast for life.

A Veterans Fast For Life,
beginning Sept, 1, 1986,
Labor Day at 10 A.M.
on the steps of the
U.S. Capitol, Wash., D.C.
S. Brian Willson, U.S. Air Force, 1966-1970; Vietnam
Charles Litkey, U.S. Army, 1966-1971, Vietnam, 2 tours;
George Mizo, U.S. Army, 1963-1970,Vietnam;
Duncan Murphy, U.S. Army, 1942-1945, ambulance driver, WWII

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