I served 29 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a Colonel. I was also a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.
In my 2003 letter of resignation from the U.S. government in opposition to U.S. President Bush’s war on Iraq, I cited the “continuing unbalanced policies of the United States in Israeli-Palestinian issues” as one of my major concerns on U.S. foreign policy.
I had had an assignment in the Middle East. My first experience in Palestine was in January 2009 when I travelled to Gaza and saw the brutal destruction of much of Gaza by the Israeli attack and the deaths of over 1400 persons. Afterwards, I helped organize 5 delegations to Gaza in 2009, including the Gaza Freedom March with 1300 participants from 30 countries. I returned to Gaza in 2011 as a part of an international parliamentary delegation and again in 2012 after the Israeli attack on Gaza. I was a passenger on the Challenger 1 boat in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla in which the Israeli commandos executed 9 persons on the Mavi Marmara (a 10th person has now died from his injuries) and wounded over 50 and beat up passengers on each of the six boats in the flotilla. I was an organizer for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, in the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla and an initial organizer for Gaza’s Ark.
I am horrified by the brutal 55 day Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014 that left over 2,200 dead and 10,000 wounded and much of the country in ruins. I am equally horrified by the lack of international assistance for the people of Gaza during this past year and by the impunity that Israel has in the international community for the criminal acts it has committed on the people of Gaza and the West Ban.
I am participating again in another Gaza Freedom Flotilla because I am totally and completely opposed to the continuous Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and the U.S. complicity in the frequent massive Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. Without the approval of the United States and the military weaponry from the United States, Israel would be unable to continue its military destruction of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank. As a concerned citizen of this planet, the least I can do is challenge Israel and my country, the United States, by this flotilla.