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April 2004 • Vol 4, No. 4 •

Bring the Troops Home Now!

By Carole Seligman

“Are more people going to die? You bet.”
—Donald Rumsfeld, July 14, 2003

U.S. Marines pray over a fallen comrade at a first aid point after he died from wounds suffered in fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, Thursday, April 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)

I was honored to represent Bay Area United Against War as a speaker at the demonstration Saturday. At the meeting prior to the March 20th action, the group decided collectively on the main points to be included in the speech. In the framework of three minutes, I tried to incorporate them all. Here is the speech, slightly edited:

President George W. Bush said, “there is no neutral ground between terrorism and civilization, between good and evil.” We can agree. But neither civilization, nor goodness reside in the White House, or the U.S. government.

Last march the U.S. invaded Iraq. And Iraqis and Americans are still dying today. The war on Afghanistan is still killing Afghans. Israel’s war on the Palestinians—a war paid for by the United States—still kills Palestinians. And during these three simultaneous wars, the U.S. engineered a coup on Haiti, and plans one for Venezuela.

In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Defense Department let war contracts to private corporations for nearly a quarter trillion dollar! And they prepare for even larger wars! Why else would they build new nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction?

The “goodness” of the U.S. government—a government of, by, and for, the rich—is revealed in the daily war against billions of people around the world who try to live on less than $2.00 a day, while the war contractors are rolling in wealth. It’s shown by the two million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons; shown in the cutbacks to education, healthcare, and housing.

Is it good to spend on killing, while people go hungry and homeless? This situation must be the very definition of evil to a rational person.

The big question is what to do about it. This year’s elections offer nothing. Republicans and Democrats are both war parties. Both serve the rich and trample on the poor. Both deprive us of our rights. In an immigrant nation, both oppress immigrants and minorities.

The lesson for us, in the belly of this beast, is to build a mass, independent, united, democratic antiwar movement—in spite of all attempts by the Democratic Party to co-opt it. We must stay in the streets, tell the truth and ally with antiwar humanity. Then we can become a true part of the human race, and not part of the U.S. system built on the twin pillars of genocide of the indigenous people of the Americas, and the enslavement of kidnapped Africans. That system promises endless war for oil profits and world domination. That system is not in the interests of the American people—except the one percent on top.

An independent mass action antiwar movement—as part of a global movement of human solidarity—can lead to the kind of actions which will stop U.S. wars permanently—actions where American working people can unite with our brothers and sisters of Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and all the world, to tell the rulers to stop their wars, and collectively strike against their employers and the government until they do.

Bring all the troops home now! End all U.S. aid to Israel! No to occupation! Yes to freedom!





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