Hi, my name is Mike Gravel and I’m a former US Senator from the state of Alaska.  I’m standing in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial, and I’m blessed to live a block away, in fact, from my balcony I can look down at the Iwo Jima Memorial.

What this memorial represents is a sacrifice our young men have given for the safety of this country.  Today we are visited with threats to our safety, but they’re of a different kind.  They’re not of the kind of the Second World War, nor are they of the kind of the Cold War.  What we have today is global terrorism.

Terrorism is not addressed with large armies, large military expenditures.  It is addressed with a global intelligence effort where countries share their knowledge of the terrorists regardless of where they are.  And then, with that kind of arrangement, we can prosecute and bring to justice these terrorists after they’ve committed a crime, and even before, when they’re plotting to commit a crime.

Now, that’s what we need more of, not what we presently have, which of course, is expenditures for jet fighters, for all kinds of hardware that was relevant in the Cold War, but is not relevant today.  We spend more on defense, or war-making capability, than the rest of the world put together.  And we now involve ourselves with two wars.  One in Iraq, which was a fraudulent undertaking, and one in Afghanistan that need not be pursued.  We’re fighting for a country that is rampant with corruption.

And the same thing in Iraq:  rampant with corruption.  But they’ve taken our precious tax dollars and put it out in these countries so that these warlords, so that these people can be bribed and go out to the Arabian Peninsula and buy expensive homes and live off of the tax dollars that Americans have put forth.  This is not a foreign policy that will lead to success.  It will lead to the bankruptcy of the American people.

Now, keep in mind what we have is a situation where we spend more on defense than all the rest of the world put together.  And the American people don’t even act as if they care.  Now, that is a reflection, not only on the brainwashing that’s taken place, but it’s a reflection on the perceptions that Americans have about their role in the world.

That’s something that must change, and it can only change if we can bring about direct democracy – the enactment of the National Initiative – where people can make laws…The only force that can stop the military industrial complex is going to be the American people voting to stop this foolishness, this useless expenditure that goes for war-making capability when we need it for peace-making capability here at home, for the success of our economy.

Thank you.