Friday, November 04, 2005

He's Sick and Tired (Re-posting: Don't Plagiarize!)

DON'T plagiarize this one! Just appreciate it. It's a great excerpt from a recent speech by Paul Street. It was given at Northern Illinois University on November 2.

Read the whole thing at:

"An Anti-War Speech in Martin Luther King Commons [excerpt]"
by Paul Street

I'm sick and tired of being lied to by my own government.

I'm sick of being told that our government lacks the money for quality publc education, for college tuition assistance, for health care (for all), for ending child poverty, for affordable housing, for job-training, for environmental protection, for flood control, and so on. I tired of being told we can't really afford all that when we know damn well that federal officials have granted hundreds of billions of dollars of deficit-generating tax relief primarily to the super-rich here in the most unequal and wealth-top-heavy nation in the industrialized world.

I'm tired of hearing that we can't provide basic social services when we know that "our" government spends $500 billion each year on an exorbitant armed forces budget that accounts for nearly half the military spending in the world and which transfers enormous taxpayer resources to rich and powerful corporations like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed-Martin.

I'm sick of that armed forces budget being called "defense" when we know that it pays for a remarkable and aggressive empire project that includes more than 700 overseas US military bases spread across nearly every country on the planet.

I got tired real fast of being told that the $300 (or more) billion invasion of Iraq was about defending America from 9/11 terror atacks and Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) when we know damn well that Iraq had no serious WMD capacity and no connection to Al Qaeda or 9/11.

I'm tired of the subsequent and equally deceptive Buch line that the invasion is really about exporting democracy when we know that democracy is the last thing US policymakers want to see in Iraq and when we observe that the administration has been using 9/11 and the subsequent so-called "war on terror" to roll back our own cherished democratic liberties here at home.

I'm sick of hearing about the prisoner-abuse crimes of low-level soldiers like Lynndie England when we know that the decision to ignore human rights law and conduct Gestapo-like torture operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay (and elsewhere) came by explicit order from the top --- from the real war criminals in the White House and the Pentagon.

I'm tired of being told that it's un- or even anti-American to exercise my quintessentially American right to oppose an illegal war of aggression being conducted by my government.

I'm sick of being told that I can "support the troops" only by backing an immoral and bungled invasion that has so far killed more than 2000 American soliders along with tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

I'm tired of being told that we can't militarily disengange because "all Hell will break loose" in Iraq. American Empire is the Hell that broke loose on Iraq and that bloody conflict will continue until the U.S. renounces its imperial military ambitions in that nation.

I'm sick of being told that war opponents were given their chance to be heard during the 2004 presidential election when we know that John F. Kerry and other leading Democrats defied their own voting base by refusing to oppose the occupation. If anything, Kerry and the Democrats claimed that they were more qualified than the Republicans to competently manage the imperial domination of Iraq.

Along the way, the aristocratic Kerrry expressed close identification with wealth and power by announcing that he was "not a redistribution Democrat," meaning that he had no interest in more fairly sructuring the allotment of economic resources in the "advanced" world's most unequal state.

I don't know what sort of candidate the Democrats are going to put up next time and I really don't care right now. Richly encouraged by the corporate-imperial Democrats, the messianically militarist policies of Bush-Cheney cabal are too dangerous and evil to be tolerated for 3 more years or 3 more months. The first Tuesday in November 2008 is too late for our voices to (only possibly) be heard.

It's fun to have big staged national corporate election extravaganzas every four years, but democracy is a daily affair and its battles are fought in workplaces, local communities, schools, and on the streets. It's up to us, the people in whose name this government serves, to do everything we can at various levels and in different settings to stop the imperial war pigs who have hijacked our government in the name of protecting us from evil.

It's up to us to force withdrawal from Iraq NOW and not 3 or 5 or 10 years down the road when maybe 10 or 20 thousand GIs will have died for nothing along with God knows how many Iraqi children.

And its up to us to build a movement for a social order that is dedicated to changing what Martin King called the "perverse policy priorities" of our nation from empire and inequality to peace and justice.

Paul Street ( is a Visiting Professor in United States History at Northern Illinois University. His publications include Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO:
Paradigm Publishers, 2004) and Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005).