If you were an Iraqi, how would you view America?
Mike Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election. He is chiefly known for his efforts in ending the draft following the Vietnam War and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971.
Born in 1930 to immigrant parents in Massachusetts, Gravel enlisted in the Army in 1951 and served in West Germany. A self-stated dyslexic, Gravel was educated at Columbia University%u2019s School of General Studies in New York, where he drove a taxi to support himself. Gravel's first steps into politics were in the Alaska House of Representatives, before he won his party's nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1968. During the 1980s, after Gravel lost his senate seat, he worked as a real estate developer, consultant and stockbroker.
Gravel is a strong supporter of direct democracy, and specifically, the National Initiative, which refers to proposals to allow for ballot initiatives at the federal level.
Question: If you were an Iraqi, how would you view America?
Mike Gravel: Let me tell you something very shocking. I’m very patriotic. I enlisted in the service. In fact I’m the only Democrat who has any military experience on my side. The other on the Republican side is McCain. Let me tell you something. If I were an Iraqi and I loved my country, I’d probably be an insurgent. I probably would be an insurgent, and I’d try to use everything in my power to get the Americans out of there. Does it say something about the Iraqis? They know we’re stealing their oil. They know it. And so what . . . if you believed in your country, and you’re a patriot, and you’re being occupied . . . Do we not remember the Minutemen in our revolution? Those were the insurgents. Do we not know about the Philippine history when the insurgents over opposed our occupation? Do we not get informed by history and realize that the best of those countries are fighting us? When you take a poll . . . a legitimate poll in Iraq, and 80 percent of the people say, “We want the Americans out of Iraq,” and then you get the President of the United States and our military leaders saying, “We’re they’re for their protection.” Are they so dumb that they don’t know we’re there for their protection? It’s their country. It’s their oil. But no, we want to control it. That’s the reason the Congress is so timid about ending this war. We want to continue to control that oil for another 35 years. It won’t happen. I become President of the United States, that war will end – our involvement in 120 days. We will have all of our troops out. And then I will turn to the countries in the region and appeal to them to help us correct this terrible mistake that we caused in destabilizing their region of the world.
Recorded on: 10/23/07
A patriot, Gravel will use his military experience to get American troops out of Iraq.
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