A lecture by Howard Zinn, whose domestic policies always fell short to me but whose foreign policy cannot be stressed enough:
Not only is it a myth that Americanism is exceptional, but it is also a myth that when we send our soldiers abroad they are spreading freedom or democracy – the two probably being incompatible in the first place:
Let’s make one thing crystal clear, no member of the US military contributes in any way whatsoever to protecting the freedoms of the American people. As a matter of fact, they are more likely to turn their weapons on you than they are to defend your Constitutional rights.
The only people on this planet Earth who can affect your freedom are members of Congress, local legislators and the members of enforcement institutions who will blindly follow the rulers who sign their paychecks. And, while your beloved troops are murdering people around the globe, yes, I said murdering, your Congress and local legislators are eliminating your freedoms, en masse, without any intervention by our so-called protectors in the armed forces.
There is no honor in volunteering to go anywhere in the world and kill anybody you are told to, without question, without historical background and without verifying the stated reasons for doing so. In this modern age of information we now know that time and time again our military have been deployed into battle, to kill and be killed, for reasons that in no way shape or form resemble the reasons for which they, or we were told at the time. This is no secret, although many Americans refuse to take off the flag that is wrapped around their eyes and see American history as it really happened. They blindly believe what was told to them by the people who have a vested interest in maintaining myths and misconceptions.
The US military, not once but twice, committed the single largest mass murders in history by dropping nuclear weapons on civilian populations, including of course, on women and children. Say what you want about how it helped end the war….the bottom line is the US could have exploded these devices over uninhabited territory with the same effect of scaring the heck out of the Japanese. But they followed orders that were lies and murdered almost 300,000 people, without question. As a human being I find it hard to honor such “patriotism.”
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the first and second invasions of Iraq, history now teaches us that lies have led our troops to military intervention more often than not. As a matter of fact, it is hard to find an American military intervention in modern history in which the cover story ends up matching the actual events. A little research will show you this. It will also show you how the same people are usually behind funding both sides of military conflict and those doing the funding and instigating have almost always been, how should I say this, the ‘good guys.’ Yep, westerners on the popular side of conflict are the ones funding the ‘bad guys’ before they ever are labeled the bad guys.
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Unfortunately, the majority of Americans have neither the intellectual curiosity to actually learn about historical events nor the intelligence to actually think about claims made by their leaders or pop-journalism-gate keeping-icons.
For example: Americans have swallowed whole the concept of our troops “protecting our freedom” without ever once asking “how, how does killing foreigners in Iraq or Afghanistan protect our freedom?” Maybe if they asked that question just once and really waited for an answer, a real answer that actually really made sense to them, they would realize there is no answer – because troops killing foreigners have no impact on the freedoms of the American people, and they never will.
Here is another question Americans have not asked, “How can an Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghan or Islamic fundamentalist in other nations take away our freedom?” The answer to this question is of course…by becoming a member of the US Congress.
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In the meantime, your freedoms and protections are being systematically eliminated while government protected rights for corporations are expanding beyond your wildest dreams. If this nation had a legitimate mainstream news media you would know this and you would probably take to the streets and revolt because you would realize what some of us already know, your rights, health and wealth have been under assault while you are distracted by bogey men in foreign nations who are supposedly going to take your freedom away!!!
So how free are you and who exactly are the terrorists? Here is how free you are in your own home in your own country. These are just a few examples – off the top of my head. – there are more…but to start…
- You are not allowed to drink raw milk, no matter how healthy it is, because under certain rare conditions may cause health issues), but you do have the right to smoke chemically addicting cigarettes that when used as directed WILL KILL YOU!
- You don’t have the right to stop your food supply from being contaminated and genetically manipulated, leaving you with no alternative.
- You don’t have the right to collect rain water or grow your own vegetables to feed your family.
- You have no right to stop corporations from poisoning your air and water.
- You have no right to treat your ailments naturally because your government has declared that the only way to become healthy is by medications and treatments that will produce big profits for corporations. Healthy food can not benefit your health and if it does the FDA will classify it as a drug.
- You have no right to raise your child without injecting toxins and dangerous chemicals directly into their blood streams.
- During the Bush/Cheney administration you had no right to free speech. Special zones called “free speech” zones were created and kept far from Bush and Cheney where those who wanted to speak as free Americans could gather.
- You are not free to exchange goods and services on your own terms. You must use Federal Reserve Notes, which is NOT U.S. CURRENCY. It is a system of money created and maintained, unconstitutionally, by a cadre of private banks.
- You are not free to feed homeless people and if you are homeless you are not free to be fed by your fellow citizens.
- We are not free to know about or have any say about secret activities in which our rulers partake. For example what terrible weapons they create, what biological or chemical programs that may accidentally or purposely destroy us all, how they set up and instigate wars and conflict as well as events that justify actions for which they want to take but have no legitimate justifications.
America is not yet a totalitarian dictatorship, but it is clearly on the way to becoming one. And our beloved troops are doing nothing at all to stop this. What is worse is that some day they may actually be the ones to stop you from doing anything about it. They are already practicing to do so.
The author of this column is right, but fails to stress important point. War is not only another form of tyranny that accompanies the ones imposed on us at home. Fears of Communism in the 20th century and Terrorism in the 21st have been tools employed by an expanding state to get everything it wishes. It has become a way of branding people that disagree with the expansion and intensification of the American Empire. An Iraqi man shooting at our soldiers to defend his homeland is labeled as a terrorist, even though it is the route many of us would take if there was a foreign army that bombed our families and looted our economy. The United States will invade your country by bombs, guns, and planes if it is in our interest. If you resist with any force, you will be labeled a terrorist. And so it continues, and freedom dies a little every day we are still at war while the public is intellectually sedated…