Monday, April 13, 2009

Speech Against the War - March 21st

20 years into the military-industrial takeover of the US, we invaded Vietnam. Back then, we had nowhere near the advanced and computerized WMD we have today. Look at the old pictures of American soldiers shirtless in the jungle heat and compare it to the pictures of our heavily body armored soldiers in Iraq and you can see why it took 58,000 American deaths to kill around 3,000,000 Vietnamese and only 4,000 American deaths to kill around 1,000,000 Iraqis. Like other American workers, soldiers have increased their productivity. I don't know if the pay kept pace.

But our advanced killing machine is not the only change in the last 30 years.
Ownership of our mass media has been concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, until now most media is controlled by 5 corporations. In the 60s, when Senator George Aiken suggested that the way to get out of Vietnam was to "declare victory and leave", it was considered an unrealistic suggestion. It was thought that altering reality in such an obvious way would be rejected by the American public.

Our ruling elite now have the power to create reality, as Karl Rove pointed out. They have not only declared victory in Iraq, but they have announced that they are leaving, and people believe both statements. Victory in Iraq is defined by fewer Americans being killed. And we’re leaving, except for 50,000 US troops to guard the US embassy and bases. And, since there is no corporate media here, we can point out, to protect US access to Iraqi oil.

In the meantime, 1,000,000+ Iraqis are dead, and 4,000,000 have been ethnically cleansed, 2,000,000 internal refugees and 2,000,000 who have fled the country. In six years, the US has not repaired the water, electric or sewer systems to the level Iraqis had before the invasion. We have built prisons for the Iraqis and bases for US troops, however.

Control of the media and modern polling methods have made it clear to our ruling overlords that the portion of Lincoln’s people you can fool all of the time is about 30% of America, or 1 in 3, enough to carry on with their imperial aims.
Way back in the 18th century Voltaire pointed out that "those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Convinced by the media that the four buildings exploded on 9-11 were the greatest tragedy of human history and that the US was in danger from goatherders in Afghanistan, Americans were easily led into attacking the people of Afghanistan. Then they had to be convinced of the absurdity that Iraq, a country of 25,000,000 people, attacked by the US in 1991, and suffering US sponsored UN sanctions thoughout the 1990s, which killed an estimated 500,000 people, thoroughly disarmed and frequently bombed, was an eminent threat to the USA, a country of 300,000,000 people, armed to the teeth with everything from nuclear weapons to biological and chemical and every other kind of weapon known to humans. Pretending to be convinced of this absurdity, the US committed the atrocity, and the ultimate war crime, of an unprovoked invasion of Iraq.

To compare by population, the Iraqi death toll of one million is comparable to 12 million US deaths. 4,000,000 refugees is comparable to 48 million US refugees. And we’re told to wave our flags in pride at our accomplishment.

Now, under President Obama, the US is turning its sights back to Afghanistan. Although a US friendly puppet government was installed 7 years ago, vast sections of the country are self-sufficient farmers, not dependent on the central government for their well being, and so not susecptible to imperial decrees. These farmers and herders must be broken in order for the US to safely control the country.

But we have a new President so we are being told new absurdities. They still are using the "terrorist" label to scare the 30% of the perpetually fooled, but it’s wearing off for the rest of us.

So here we go with the Democratic line of absurdity, the "humanitarian intervention". All of a sudden, Afghan women are of great concern to us. They have to wear veils! They don’t have equal rights! Muslim fundamentalists are oppressive!
Believing that the US government cares about rights for Afghan women or oppressive Muslims involves forgetting history again.

In 1978 a revolution in Afghanistan tried to improve the lives of the majority of Afghans. 50% of the land was owned by 5% of the people, so land reform was attempted. 90% of Afghans and 96% of Afghan women were illiterate. Literacy programs were started. Women were given equal rights (in principle) and many of them were able to take advantage of this, becoming educated, even professionally. At the least, they were no longer allowed to be sold into marriage or executed for infidelities. In May 1979, British political scientist Fred Halliday said, "Probably more has changed in the countryside in the last year than in the 2 centuries since the state was established".

The US, alarmed by the advances of the Afghan people, started arming the fundamentalist muhjadeen, many of them wealthy landowners. The Afghan government asked for help from the USSR, which invaded, and we know the rest. Although most Americans don’t know that the US spent billions to overthrow the Afghan government, along with billions from Saudi Arabia. But as Zygneviev Bresenski, who approved the arms shipments under Carter, and now is advising Obama, said in 1998, when asked if he regretted supporting the muhjadeen, "What is more important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred up Muslims or the .... end of the Cold War?"

Some peace activists point to the defeat of the USSR in Afghanistan to say that the US can’t win either. This is the wrong frame. There is no one equivalent to the US/Saudi arming, training and supporting of the muhjadeen now. It probably is possible for the US to smash and subject the Afghan people.

But it’s wrong. The US has trampled over the world like a 600 pound gorilla for 60 years now. Millions of people have lost their lives, their ancestral lands, their limbs, their water and their income. Ironically, the people of the US are worse off also. US wealth is concentrated in fewer hands. The rich are richer and the poor are poorer. The same people profiting from the destruction of people’s homes in Iraq and Afghanistan are profiting from people home losses here. Mountains are being blown up in Kentucky. We are told that we can’t afford health care, or teachers or homes for all Americans, but we can afford bank bailouts and endless wars against endless enemies.

We have to take our country back. We can beat our swords into plowshares, or at least turn our war machine into peaceful production. Shut down the military industrial complex and we can cut our taxes by more than half. Let’s use our time, talent and energy to make the world a better place, not a wasteland.


ryk said...

Shut down the military industrial complex and we can cut our taxes by more than half.That's really the key, isn't it? Our government is so locked into supporting the military industrial complex that just this past week Defense Secretary Gates' proposal to merely shift a portion of military spending away from weapons procurement (amidst an overall Defense budget increase) was met by so many cries of outrage and doom from Republicans and Democrats alike that it's probably hopeless.

Another of your "absurdities" is that we spend more on Defense than the rest of the world combined because we are afraid of what they will do to us.

wagelaborer said...

Or that's what they tell us.
I have an idea that Americans are not as paranoid as we're told we are.
But I could be wrong.

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