August 6th is certainly a day that has gone down in infamy.
Undoubtedly, the most notorious event that occurred on 8/6 was the 1945 US a-bombing of Hiroshima followed closely by the bombing of Nagasaki. The tragedy of those war crimes still has have many repercussions to this day.
I was honored to be invited to visit Japan on the anniversaries and I met survivors and the family members of those that were obliterated. I met a Japanese woman who was in Havana and she had lost a young daughter to cancer because of the never-ending after effects of radiation. What the US did on that day was beyond shameful, but what is even more shameful is the vast number of USAians who still consider those bombings justified.
Now, let’s jump over about 56 August 6ths to the year 2001. Remember this is one month and five days before the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
A little known, or remembered event happened on 8/6/2001 in teeny, tiny Crawford, Texas—a place I was to become very familiar with in a few more years.
“According to journalist and author Ron Suskind, just after a CIA briefer presents President Bush with the later infamous PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing) item entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” Bush tells the briefer, “You’ve covered your ass, now.” This account is from Suskind’s 2006 book The One Percent Doctrine, which is based largely on anonymous accounts from political insiders. In the book, after describing the presentation of the PDB, Suskind will write: “And, at an eyeball-to-eyeball intelligence briefing during this urgent summer, George W. Bush seems to have made the wrong choice. He looked hard at the panicked CIA briefer. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘You’ve covered your ass, now.’”
Like I said, today, there will be commemorations that get it right, or get it wrong about Hiroshima, but I bet none will mention the PDB in 2001, or my little contribution to that day’s history in 2005 that came to be known as “Camp Casey.”
On August 3 of that year, I was at my home in Vacaville, Ca (still in deep pain from the murder of my son Casey in Iraq) watching some news broadcast, or the other, and my nemesis George Bush came on. He was, once again, on vacation at his pig ranch in Crawford, but this day he was somewhere in Texas doing something. That day, 11 Marines from the same reserve unit in Ohio were killed in the same incident in Iraq. Bush was asked about that and he said, “The families of the fallen can rest assured their loved ones died for a noble cause.”
Of course, since my son Casey died in Iraq in another long line of Imperial wars based on lies and for profit, my ears pricked up at this “Noble Cause” bullshit! At the time George was clearly at a press availability, so I waited for someone from the “press” (really, White House stenographers) to ask him what the “Noble Cause” was, since the mission-lie had already changed several times by then. Predictably, not one of the stenographers asked George that question.
August 4th to participate in the annual Veterans for Peace convention. So, the day after George openly told another lie he was not held accountable for (except for by the people), I was scheduled to go to Texas. At that point, I had a brainstorm. After I give my speech in Dallas at the VFP conference on August 5, why don’t I drive to Crawford (at that point I didn’t even know where Crawford was in relation to Dallas—Texas is one big-ass state) and try to demand a meeting with George to ask him “What Noble Cause” myself?
I had scheduled an event in Sacramento that night, so I wrote a quick email to my email list at the time (probably about 300-400 people. There was no Twitter, Facebook, or even Myspace back then) telling my contacts about my plan, and I left for Sacramento. On the way, I called my sister Dede Miller who was meeting me in Dallas the next day to tell her that we were driving to Crawford from Dallas on Saturday to ask Bush “What Noble Cause” and she said, “okay.” Then I called Andrea Buffa who was working PR for CODEPINK at the time and asked her if she would help me spread the word and she said, “Okay.” By the time I arrived back home that evening, my AOL (remember AOL?) inbox had overflowed. Apparently, my email had traveled around the world and many people were excited about the impending action.
For the 10th anniversary next year of Camp Casey, we'd like to present a documentary to not just relive the magic and the trials of the experience, but to re-inspire some principled activism against the Empire that is completely outside the sphere of partisan politics.
Please donate to the project as an anniversary present:
We're still trying to make that difference and tip the scales towards peace and justice!