Remarks at Chicago Anti-War Rally, March 19, 2005
Two years ago we gathered all across America to say no to war.
We were joined by people all over the planet who know that there is an alternative to war.
But war is about the only option available when the real motive is to steal natural resources that belong to someone else.
Or to restack the deck in the Middle East with today’s generation of coups and assassinations, following the likes of the US 1949 ouster of Syria’s elected government, the US 1953 ouster of Iran’s elected government; US 1958 landing of Marines in Lebanon; and its 1963 support for a coup in Iraq after an assassination attempt against its leader failed.
The militarism we see today is nothing new.
Even though some 14 countries have withdrawn their troops since March 2003, Bush tells the American people that he has no idea when US troops can expect to come home.
Sadly, many of them are being forced to take matters into their own hands. With filings for conscientious objector status, forced pregnancies, disappearances, seeking asylum in Canada, and leading rallies like this today all over America.
The American people, and our children over there fighting, still haven’t been told the real reason the US is at war with the Iraqi people.
And against the people the US war machine has turned.
Thousands of Iraqis, especially children, have been killed by our sanctions and our bombs.
This is an immoral and illegal war and we need to bring our troops home now.
Instead, they lay the groundwork to expand the war and destabilize Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.
Destroying Iraq isn’t enough for them.
Nor are the million men and women in our Armed Services enough for them.
The George Bush war machine wants you, too. And your children.
Everywhere you turn the Pentagon is denying it wants a draft while at the same time lamenting that recruitment is way down.
Mercenaries will increasingly be used to fight their wars with your tax dollars.
While reinstating the draft only feeds the war machine.
In fact, we need to get the military recruiters out of our high schools; they need to stop harassing our children, and the 1 billion dollars they spend on slick radio and tv spots and friendly neighborhood offices, ought to be put in the education budget so our kids can go to college without having to go to war first.
They tell us we’re at war for democracy.
But that’s a joke; George Bush came to power by stopping democracy at home–denying the opportunity to vote to blacks and Latinos in Florida.
They built on that fine record last year with hackable voting machines that don’t accurately tally our votes.
And in countries like Haiti where democracy was thriving, they arrested President Aristide at gunpoint and forced him out of his own country.
While they purport to cherish democracy, they really have a disdain for it.
Democracy in Venezuela, India, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay has produced proud people willing to stand up to US imperialism, coup attempts, and destabilization of their countries. And the good news is that this resistance will spread.
The worse they are, the stronger we become.
And worse they will become because they’ve aimed their sights on Russia and China after they’ve balkanized the Middle East.
But one thing I guarantee to you and to them: we won’t be fooled!
We know the truth. And we won’t stop.
Stay strong, my brothers and sisters, we have a lot of work to do.