---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 21:21:36 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: "Without Struggle, There is No Progress"
"Without Struggle, There is No Progress"
Friend, Americans, Countrymen...
October 4, 2002
by RON JACOBS
October 20, 1990--Twelve years ago almost to the day I was at a rally in
Olympia, Washington that was called to oppose the upcoming war against Iraq.
Back then, we were told by the administration in DC that the reason for that
war was to drive Iraq from Kuwait-a country it had recently invaded and
occupied. Today-almost twelve years later, the regime in DC is proposing to
do the exact same thing to Iraq-invade and occupy it. Why? Well, it depends
on which week's White House press release you read. According to Bush,
Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the axis leaders, it is necessary to make
war on Iraq because (and these are just the first four supposed reasons that
pop into my head):
a) Saddam's military is a nuclear threat,
b) Saddam's military used poison gas against the Kurds in northern Iraq and
against Iranians in wars where the United States supported Iraq, or the US
needs to make war on Iraq because
c) (and I love this one) Such a war would liberate Iraq's women-yeh right,
Old GW, the Susan B. Anthony of the 21st century (today Iraq's women being
more equal to men than most other countries in the world much less the Arab
d) He has weapons of mass destruction that threaten the region.
Let's talk about these: the reasons given by the Bush administration are not
only poor reasons to go to war, they are just plain lies. Some of you might
be shaking your heads and thinking I'm misinformed and misguidedor, even
worse, an apologist for Saddam. After all, Saddam might have nuclear weapons
and he definitely gassed those people. Heck, maybe he even has other weapons
of mass destruction. Without granting legitimacy to these possibilities, let
me make a couple things clear-every single international agency that studies
nuclear proliferation has stated quite clearly that Iraq does not have
nuclear capability and is years away from even beginning to develop such
weapons. Hell, even Tony Blair's dossier said this-probably one of the few
truths in that entire piece of hearsay. As for the gas-yes this did
happen-what's left untold in this story is that the US provided the
chemicals and lent tacit support to the attacks because at the time Iraq's
war against the Kurds and Iranians were seen as serving US interests. On top
of that, the man who ordered some of those attacks, General Nizar
Al-Khazraji, is now one of the United States' top candidates for Saddam's
job if the US is able to defeat the Iraqis and put in a client regime. What
about those weapons of mass destruction? I say, what about them? One certain
way for them to be used (if they even exist in the physical plane and not
just in the minds of Bush and Cheney) is to attack Saddam's military.
Additionally, one can easily argue that it is the US weapons of mass
destruction that truly threaten the region, not Iraq's.
But all these reasons are ultimately irrelevant. The real reason for this
attack can be found in a paper Dick Cheney finished writing not too long
before that rally I was at twelve years ago-a paper whose composition was
funded, by the way, by Gulf Oil, the chemical and munitions industries, and
Rockwell International, the defense and aerospace conglomerate. As many of
you probably know, the premise of that paper (which is now the primary
operating document of the Bush foreign policy team) is that the US has every
right to be the only superpower and should use that power to expand and
ensure its continued domination. Of course, the language is not usually that
blunt. Instead, this plan for world domination is phrased in terms like
security and democracy. And freedom. Unfortunately for everyone, it will
bring neither, not even for those who champion it. It won't bring security
for Bush and crew because it will only breed greater enmity against them. It
won't bring democracy because, after all, Dubya, Rice, Cheney, et al. don't
have a clue what democracy is. As for freedom, the only freedom guaranteed
by world domination is the freedom for the rulers to go wherever they want,
take whatever they want, and use what they take however they want. In other
words, the freedom to exploit at will.
Not too long ago, when asked by a congressperson if the plan was to colonize
Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld answered, "We covet nobody's land." You know what, I
believe him. I really do. They don't want the land-they just want the oil
that lies underneath it, the strategic position that military bases built on
the land would provide, and the potential labor source and markets the
people living there represent. No, they don't covet the land, they just want
to suck it dry.
I'm gonna' ask you all to step outside of yourselves for a minute. Out of
this room, out of this life, out of this country. Are you there? Now, place
yourself in Iraq. If you are a college student here, than now you're a
college student in Iraq. If you are a teacher or a nurse here, than you're
one there. If you work at a clothing store here, than you work at one in
Iraq now. And so on. You have a lover or maybe you don't. You live with your
parents or you live with friends. Maybe in the city, let's say . When you
finish your day's studies or work, you go out for coffee or a beer. You
discuss politics or you ignore them completely. For the most part you don't
get too involved in them, though, because they don't seem to mean much in
your daily life. Now, imagine your sleep interrupted by the sound of 500
pound bombs falling nearby, the smell of fire and smoke, the screams of
children piercing your sleep and the sound of sirens blaring as you run down
the stairs of your apartment building with only a minimal amount of clothing
on. After finding a bomb shelter and hiding there through the night, you
finally hear the all-clear siren and you head out into the light. Your world
is in ruins. This continues for weeks. Every night you hide in a cellar.
School and work are meaningless. You wonder how your friends in the
countryside are doing. Then, one day the foreign soldiers arrive, swaggering
through the city streets, breaking into houses and stores and dragging men
and boys out into the streets where they are pushed around and arrested,
hauled off to who knows where. All the while you are just trying to keep
your sanity. You help out in a hospital or a food shelf. You cry when you
see the children and the old ones as they wonder what happened to their
world. Already so many of them have seen their cousins taken ill because of
hunger caused by US sanctions and now this. Some of your friends are angry,
most are resigned. None are happy.
WAR! The rulers of this country have chosen violence solely because they can
use it and get away with it. They have chosen violence because they do not
seem to have the intelligence or the will to try something less harmful.
They have chosen violence because what the rulers of this country and the
money that backs them want is inherently unjust and greedy and can only be
obtained through the force of excessive violence. This is the violence of
imperial war. This is what I oppose.
I can't repeat it often enough-this war is about global domination. It is
not about freedom for Iraq or a future of peace and justice free of the
threat of war. It's not about when to go to war or whether Saddam should be
killed. It is about global domination, starting with Iraq, and those who are
calling for it know no shame.
And although the rulers in DC would like to convince and cajole the UN and
other of their ilk in other countries of the world to go along with their
plan, they don't really care if they don't. They would also like to convince
those men and women we elect to represent us to go along, too, but they
don't really care if they don't. Even if they do, that still does not make
this war right. It only means that these people have received their thirty
pieces of silver. When all is said and done, this war is still primarily
about killing, Indeed, it is about killing when several other options exist.
This is why this war is still wrong and unjust. The cooperation of Congress
and the UN Security Council only means that they too will have the blood of
innocents on their hands.
If we fail to prevent this war, then we must work even harder to end it once
it begins. Even if the warmakers get their man and kill Hussein, this war is
wrong. There is no morality in one group of mass murderers killing another
mass murderer. Especially when, if the killers in DC are telling the truth,
the defeat and occupation of Iraq may be just the beginning of a war without
end that would move its savagery and destruction to Iran, Korea, and even
China. This isn't the plan of a sane group of individuals. A boring group of
individuals, yes. A drab group of individuals, too. But calling them sane
requires a particular definition of the word that allows for planned mass
murder in the pursuit of power and money. This is why I consider their plans
to be psychopathic madness.
WAIT! There is hope. And that hope lies with those of us who oppose this
war. It is essential that everyone who does not want to see this war begin
get into the streets in their hometowns and in DC and San Francisco. Go to
your classrooms and your churches. Your workplaces. Your hangouts. Get
people to think seriously about this horror perpetrated in their names. Get
them to join you. If you know folks in the military, talk with them about
what they could be doing. Let them know there is a choice. Nobody has to
fight. Structures exist to get them to a safe place. Remind them that Dubya
never went to any war. Nor did Cheney or Rumsfeld or a good number of the
folks who want them to go fight for oil profits. Get people together and,
then make as much noise as you can. Be willing to risk arrest, your studies
and your job. Whatever you think this effort is worth. Let me repeat myself.
If they start this war despite our protests, it's even more important to
protest. Indeed, we should step our protest up. We can't do that you say?
After all, we need to support our troops. Of course we do. But we need to
support them as human beings, not as war machines. We need to support them
in their lives as our friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and
partners, not as killers for the empire. In short we need to bring them
Of course, our struggle will not be easy. At times, we will want to quit. At
times we will question the point of our resistance. But we must never quit.
No! We must raise our level of opposition to a greater level then. Sometimes
we will offend some folks, maybe even our family or friends. Sometimes we
will be verbally abused or physically assaulted. We must not, no, can not,
give in. More than that day twelve years ago, more than the 1960s, in fact,
I would endeavor to say more than ever before, the future of the planet
depends on us not giving in. Like the great fighter for the liberation of
black people in this country from slavery , Frederick Douglas, said, in a
manner so eloquent it bears repeating over and over: If there is no
struggle, there is not progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, yet
deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.
They want rain without the thunder and lightning. They want the ocean
without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one;
or it may be a physical one; or it may be both mental and physical; but it
must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. Remember
Douglass' words. Remember them and commit yourself to the struggle we are
engaged in. Our children, those who live today and those you will have in
the future, are counting on us.
Ron Jacobs lives in Burlington, VT. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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