FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bush Administration, Civil Rights and Iraq

 

According to a recent statement by Condoleeza Rice at a convention of black journalists that compared the war on Iraq to the civil rights movement in the United States, I am a racist. Why? Because I don’t believe the war on the people of the middle east is about bringing democracy? Because I, along with most people in the rest of the world believe the US/UK war is about control of oil access and oil profits? Because I don’t accept that the killing of thousands of Iraqis by US firepower is “the moral mission of our time”, like Condoleeza Rice does? Or is it because I find the ethnic cleansing practices of the Sharon regime in Israel–practices which are supported by the Bush administration–to be morally repugnant? Perhaps it even simpler: because I believe that the war on the peoples of the Middle East is about colonialism, plain and simple.

Like the colonialism of past centuries, the drive for power and profit is cloaked in words of morality. The western powers used to go in and Christianize the natives, now we bring them western democracy–a concept that is a figment of someone’s imagination, much like western civilization. Much like the conquerors of old killed the “natives” when they met up with indigenous peoples who didn’t feel like being Christianized, the modern colonizers kill those who don’t want to be “democratized.” Of course, if they kill enough, thereby destroying the opposition, soon the colonizers can realize their dream of democracy.

By making these comments, the Bush administration’s feeble attempts to make the US/UK war on Iraq a moral war have become more than a sad farce. They are an insult to our intelligence. Even more, this most recent utterance is an insult to the legacy of the grassroots movement to destroy legal apartheid in the United States. For Ms. Rice to take the mantle of that movement and attempt to overlay it on her administration’s shabby and immoral assault on the country and people of Iraq is a disgusting and cynical blow to integrity of the people who risked their lives and their freedom in their attempt to make this country a more just place to live and work. If he could, Martin Luther King, Jr. might tell Ms. Rice to read the speech he gave on April 4th, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York city. It was on that night that Dr. King drew the existing lines between racism in the streets of the United States and the racist war on the people and country of Vietnam.

These lines were not new. They existed long before Vietnam. Indeed, they are part of the white people’s legacy in the settling of this nation. our ancestors came here and tricked, enslaved, lied to, and killed those who were here before them in order to occupy their land. Then, when the indigenous peoples refused to be enslaved, the growers and traders joined in the growing international slave trade, becoming its biggest customers. It was this involvement, more than any other part of our history, that has stained our thinking ever since. To this day, there are reminders of that legacy–whether that be the disproportionate numbers of black men and women in our prisons or the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of black voters in the state of Florida during the 2000 election. It was this disenfranchisement that gave Mr. Bush (and by default, Ms. Rice) their jobs. It is also this disenfranchisement that represents Ms. Rice’s western democracy. In other words, it is democracy only for those who are allowed in the club.

The Bush administration can call this a war about WMD. THey can call it a war to get rid of Saddam Hussein. They can call it a war to fight terrorism. Heck, they can even call it a war to bring democracy to the country of Iraq. All of these public relations attempts might gain an adherent or two. However, for them to send out Ms. Rice and have her tell the people in this country that their dirty little war is on moral par with the movement to end legalized racism and apartheid in the United States is going way too far. If they had any shame, they would know this and be appropriately ashamed. Since shame is not a part of their thought processes, however, one can only hope that the true spokespeople for the civil rights movement–those anti-racist Americans of all skin tones who are not part of the privileged few who put us in this war–will remind them whenever and wherever they can of Martin Luther King’s words that night in 1967: “Somehow this madness must cease.”

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail