Connect with us

Politics

John Lewis was a lonely voice against war with Iraq

Published

on

  • Rep. John Lewis, who died on Friday, was an early opponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
  • “What fruit will our actions bear, not just for us but for our children?” Lewis said in a 2002 floor speech. “And not just for the children of our own land, but the children of the West, and the Middle East, and the world?”
  • “What do our children gain when we have destroyed another nation? What do we gain when we have killed hundreds of thousands of their men, women, and children?” Lewis asked.
  • Invading Iraq, Lewis argued, “will not bring peace to the Middle East. It will not make the world a safer, or better, or more loving place.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“I rise to speak for peace,” Rep. John Lewis, the legendary Civil Rights activist from Georgia, said in October 2002. It was the eve of an invasion, in the aftermath of the worst terror attack in modern American history, and an immensely popular US president was pushing for war.

Lewis’ opposition to invading Iraq was not the popular position; it was, at the time, considered evidence of dubious patriotism. But Lewis, who passed away Friday evening, never erred on the side of what would be easy, politically. He took a moral stance, against inequality and militarism, and in an era of intense nationalism stood up for future generations — and the rest of the world.

“What fruit will our actions bear, not just for us but for our children?” Lewis asked. “And not just for the children of our own land, but the children of the West, and the Middle East, and the world? It is the children, our little boys and girls, who must live with the consequences of our war.”

He continued, accurately predicting the body count to come: “What do our children again when we have destroyed another nation? What do we gain when we have killed hundreds of thousands of their men, women, and children?”

Invading Iraq, as President George W. Bush would do 5 months later, with support from a majority of Lewis’ colleagues, “will not bring peace to the Middle East,” the congressman said. “It will not make the world a safer, or better, or more loving place.”

“War is bloody,” he added, “it is vicious, it is evil, and it is messy.”

As with his earlier activism, it would take years for Lewis’ position to be widely regarded as the correct one.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: [email protected]

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending