In 2005, Laura Berg, a nurse at the Veterans Administration, wrote the following letter to a New Mexico based Internet news and information publication, “Alibi”.
Take a quick look.
I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government. The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes! Bush and his team partied and delayed while millions of people were displaced, hundreds of thousands were abandoned to a living hell. Thousands more died of drowning, dehydration, hunger and exposure; most bodies remain unburied and rotting in attics and floodwater. Is this America the beautiful?
The risk of hurricane disaster was clearly predicted, yet funds for repair work for the Gulf States barrier islands and levee system were unconscionably diverted to the Iraq War. Money and manpower and ethics have been diverted to fight a war based on absolute lies!
As a VA nurse working with returning OIF vets, I know the public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder; now we will have hundreds of thousands of our civilian citizens with PTSD as well as far too many young soldiers, maimed physically or psychologically—or both—spreading their pain, anger and isolation through family and communities for generations. And most of this natural disaster and war tragedy has been preventable … how very, very sad!
In the meantime, our war-fueled federal deficit mushrooms—and whither this debt now, as we care for the displaced and destroyed?
Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence. This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil.
Katrina itself was the size of New Mexico. Denials of global warming are ludicrous and patently irrational at this point. We can anticipate more wild, destructive weather to occur as a response stress of the planet. We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit. Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.
A letter of decided opinion surely, but not otherwise remarkable. One might find similar such expression everywhere in the press and online. Probably much milder than the posts found on this Blog.
Why are we discussing it? Because this simple little expression of an opinion was picked up by the VA and shuttled off to the FBI for an investigation on suspicion of “sedition”. The penalty under law for sedition is a $ 250,000 fine and 20 years in prison. Fortunately, unlike most of us who would be instantly cowed, Laura contacted the local ACLU which rushed to her defense. ACLU attorneys quickly informed the Federal Government through its agent, the VA, that “sedition”, the law and not the suspicion, consists of waging war against the U.S. and not the exercise of opinion.
The VA backpedaled and shifted its assertion that they had actually “suspected” that Government property, a computer, had been improperly used to print this expression of opinion. Later, the Government dropped this suspicion in the absence of any evidence supporting it.
We are at all times in danger of tyranny. Our rights are preserved only through their exercise. Things we take for granted may at anytime be taken away. We should thank Laura Berg, and the ACLU, and assert our rights without reservation and by so doing, preserve them for our children and grandchildren.