In 1990 the US bombed water treatment plants, electric power plants, bridges, and other civilian targets
in Iraq. Over the next 12 years, US sanctions against Iraq resulted in the deaths of half
a million Iraqi children under the age of 5 due to food and medicine shortages,
lack of clean water, and poor sanitation.
In the 1990's the US provided massive support for Turkish atrocities against the Kurds. Millions were
driven from their homes, thousands of villages destroyed, tens of thousands were murdered,
and barbaric torture was routine. President Clinton poured in US arms, which
supported massive state terror. Turkey was so grateful that they were the first
to offer the US help after 9/11/01 in its "war on terror".
In 1991 the US used 360 tons of radioactive weapons in Iraq.
From 1991 through 1993, Britain and the US dropped thousands of bombs and missiles
on Iraq, killing and injuring countless civilians. During the 1991 Gulf War, US
soldiers used tanks as earth-movers, burying the entrenched enemy alive.
In 1992 the "Earth Summit" was held in Rio de Janiero. It was attended
by delegates from 178 countries, and included 116 heads of state. Two agreements
were signed: the first was related to saving endangered species. The second was
a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. The US refused to sign.
In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol called upon industrial nations to reduce emissions of
carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). The US refused to ratify it.
In the year 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote for president of the United States.
But George Bush Jr. was elected anyway (amidst obvious vote tampering, which was
resolved by an unjustifiable ruling of the Supreme Court).
In 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, president Bush
vowed retaliation, proclaiming his revenge "just" even though he admitted that it would
mean that the US would kill innocent civilians (as if that were anything new).
His bombing of Afghanistan made as much sense as if some fringe group in the US
(such as the Ku Klux Klan) had committed a terrorist act against a foreign country and
that foreign country decided to hold the entire United States accountable, and bombed
Comments from Iraqi's prior to the US invasion of their country:
[Referring to one of the US bombings of Iraq] On January 25, 1999, the house shook. Everything was destroyed in the kitchen.
I looked for my children, who were playing outside. I saw one of my children
laying in the street, in a pool of blood.
We hate the American administration. We like the American people.
We're only fearful of their greed... their greed for our wealth.
It's about the oil.
In 2003, the US deployed 90,000 anti-personnel mines to the Persian Gulf for use in
the war on Iraq. This is barbaric. Land mines cannot distinguish between friend and
foe, nor between soldier and civilian. Nor do they expire at the end of a conflict.
Land mines from WWII are still killing innocent people today. In fact two people
are killed or maimed every hour of every day throughout the world. In July of 2003,
134 countries had signed the Mine Ban Treaty. The US, of course, was not among them;
there are 47 US companies that profit from the sale of land mines.
In the invasion of Iraq the US used 1,000 tons of radioactive uranium weapons.
This has resulted in a fivefold increase of cancer in children.
Birth defects have also increase fivefold in Iraq.
This concludes our brief overview of some highlights of United States history.
Much more, of course, could be said. All of these facts are easily ascertained.
For every fact known there probably exists many more that have been covered up, and
which may never be known to the public.
100 million indigenous people died as a result of the European invasion of this land.
One hundred million. While 75% died as a result of disease brought over by
the Europeans, that still leaves 25 million individuals
who were deliberately killed. That is about three times the human carnage inflicted
by the Nazi Holocaust.
We don't know how many slaves spent their lives in drudgery and poverty,
separated from their families, mistreated, and poorly fed, clothed, and housed, but
it was in excess of ten million.
Then there were the wars: some of them just, some of them unjust. The unjust
ones were summed up best in these words in the late 19th century:
Every important thing that has happened, everything that is happening goes to
establish this proposition: That hard and selfish men and hard and selfish
policies will control our imperialist relations; that the kind and well-meaning
will be overruled. There is no intention of mildness, humanity, and justice in
the forces that are now gaining ascendancy in American life...
We are after markets, the greatest markets in the world; we do not care what we
do to get them -- we will cheerfully rob and kill, we will wrench their fatherland
from the weak and call it ours -- we admit it in cold blood, but like the praying
professional murderer, we piously declare that God and humanity will bless us in it...
Morrison I. Swift, Imperialism and Liberty, 1899
We can love our country without denying its past. The past is an invaluable storehouse
of lessons learned. To be sure, it presents us with atrocities to be avoided in the
future, but it also presents us with remarkable heroes of whom we can be proud:
people like Susan B. Anthony, David Walker, Mariah Stewart, Rosa Parks, Paul Robeson, Martin
Luther King Jr., and many more. All of these people were true freedom fighters and
credits to humanity. They weren't afraid to take a hard look at their country
(a country they no doubt loved) and point out its flaws. That is what made this
Today, the United States has declared a war on terrorism. [Why am I reminded of
Monty Python's declaration that they were "starting a war for peace"?]
In light of this declaration, we as good citizens, need to be aware of the
United States' own definition of terrorism:
[An] act of terrorism, means any activity that (A) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; and (B) appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping."
United States Code Congressional and Administrative News, 98th Congress, Second Session, 1984, Oct. 19, volume 2; par 3077, 98 STAT 2707 [West Publishing Co., 1984]
If we are serious about ridding the world of terrorism, we will of course want to
make sure that our own country is not engaging in any of the activities in the definition above.
We will especially want to make sure that we are not engaging in terrorism under
the guise of fighting terrorism. Such actions would put our country on a
par with the lunatic fringe that committed the 9/11/01 atrocities.
We have been taught that our country is "the greatest" and that we promote the ideals of
peace, justice, freedom, democracy, and equality. Occasionally, we have even lived up to
these ideals. But we mustn't forget the times we have failed; we need to remember
our history lest we repeat those failures.
When people know the truth they stand up for it.
Look at Vietnam: enough people stood up in protest against the killing that it was
eventually stopped. Think about that: for the first time in history the common people banded
together and stopped a war! We can do that again. People have started doing that again.
There are 100,000 grassroots environmental organizations. There are independent
news organizations with journalists committed to the truth. And there is the Internet:
where information can flow freely.
Peace can only begin when each one of us becomes more empathetic.
Maybe we should let the slogan "United We Stand" refer not to the
waging of war, but rather to taking a united stand for peace, the environment,
tolerance, understanding, and love for everyone in our global community.
That would be a real blessing.
| ||Adams, Simon et al.|| The Illustrated History of the 19th Century, The (Hackberry Press, 2000)|
| || || The Photographic History of the 20th Century, The (Hackberry Press, 2000)|
| ||Columbus, Christopher|| Log of Christopher Columbus, The (International Marine Publications -- Reprint 1987)|
| ||Deloria, Vine, Jr|| Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (University of Oklahoma Press; Reprint edition 1988)|
| ||Dougherty, Michael|| To Steal a Kingdom (Island Style Press, 1992)|
| ||Equiano, Olaudah|| The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (Project Gutenberg, 2005)|
| ||Evans, Harold|| American Century, The (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)|
| ||Galeano, Eduardo|| Upside Down: a Primer for the Looking-Glass World (Picador, 2001)|
| ||Harran, Marilyn Ph.D. et al.|| Holocaust Chronicles, The (Publications International, 2001)|
| ||Jackson, Helen|| Century of Dishonor, A (Indian Head Books, 1994)|
| ||Lasky, Victor|| It Didn't Start With Watergate (Dell, 1978)|
| ||Shenkman, Richard|| Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History (Harper Perennial, 1989)|
| ||Smith, Michael K. and Wuerker, Matt|| Madness of King George, The (Common Courage Press, 2004)|
| ||Stannard, David E.|| American Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 1992)|
| ||Stewart, Robert|| Illustrated Encyclopedia of Historical Facts, The (Prentice Hall, 1992)|
| ||Welles, James F. Ph.D.|| Story of Stupidity, The (Mount Pleasant Press, 1988)|
| ||Williams, Jessica|| 50 Facts that Should Change the World (The Disinformation Co. Ltd, 2004)|
| ||Ethics and the World Crisis - a Dialogue with the Dalai Lama (Tibet House U.S., 2004)|
| ||Fahrenehit 9/11 (Michael Moore; Lions Gate Films, 2004)|
| ||Power and Terror (Noam Chomsky; Siglo Productione, 2002)|
| ||Slavery and the Making of America (Ambrose Video Publishing, 2005)|