Take This Empire and Shove It! by Cindy Sheehan
“Listen, I can't get involved. I've got work to do. It's not that I like the Empire; I hate it. But there's nothing I can do about it right now... It's all such a long way from here.”
Luke Skywalker in Star Wars
Dear Reader—raise your hand if you don’t know that atrocities happen in war. Now put your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
Psychologist, Robert Jay Lifton, who is a pioneer in the study of what drives otherwise “normal” human beings to commit war crimes calls war: “an atrocity-producing situation.” Atrocities have been committed in every war since the beginning of time, and the sad thing is the barbarity hasn’t decreased. Recently a US soldier tried to justify to me committing atrocities because the "British did it to the Native Americans" in the French-Indian War. This soldier was essentially agreeing with Lifton.
Since war is an atrocity in the first place, war crimes will be committed, period. In many of my speeches soon after Casey was killed, I used to call war “a failure of imagination.” Now I know that’s crap—war is imagined by and for the war machine and gladly perpetrated by its toady elected officials and promoted by its toady media.
This week, several things have upset me about our genocidal foreign policy, but I can’t decide what upsets me more—the genocidal foreign policy or the fact that most of my fellow USAins are sheeple who blindly follow (or not follow) whoever is infecting the Oval Office depending on whether that person has a (D) or an (R) behind his name.
I have spoke in dozens of venues since Obama was inaugurated promoting my e-book: Myth America: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution. Everywhere I speak, someone will ask me this question, and it is almost always this exact question, worded in almost the exact same way: “I didn’t agree with George Bush getting us into these wars, but don’t you agree that we have to stay in Afghanistan to protect the women?” When I ask the person if he/she believed that propaganda when Bush was infesting the Oval Office, he/she says with 100% regularity: “No.” And of course, Afghan women were Mrs. George (43) Bush’s greatest cause. Now we have “peace” groups parroting the same line. Sheeple live in Red AND Blue states. The Robber Class counts on at least ½ of the public being in full compliance with its crimes, that’s why they get away with these crimes on a daily basis.
How’s this for “protecting women?” On February 12th, US Special Forces attacked a home near Gardez and in that attack three women were killed. Two of the women were pregnant. Our military claimed that the women were stabbed to death before the US raid, but the truth finally came out—US Special Forces who subsequently tried to dig the bullets out of the women to hide their hideous crimes killed them, too. Cover up—the specialty of The Empire and The Pope. How can we believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Stainly McChrystalMeth much less that the US is “minimizing” civilian deaths?
At the end of last year, eight Afghan students in Ghazi Khan were handcuffed and executed by US troops. Presumably, these eight students were sons of Afghan women—and where is the righteous anger in this country over our military executing school children? I guess if Tiger Woods would keep Little Tiger in his pants, our toady media might report these outrages—but probably not. When I hear about our troops raping 14 year-old girls in Iraq, or executing Afghan schoolboys, I want to burn something down—but I would rightfully be considered “crazy” if I gave into that temporary impulse—while some US troops (in not-so-isolated incidents) behave like sociopathic maniacs and we don't consider them crazy at all and, in fact, we are supposed to “support" them.
And what about this Cult of Troop Worship? Even the antiwar movement is so careful to not criticize anything The Troops do. We are constantly admonished to “hate the war, but love the warrior.” I am sorry, but I don’t even like that word, “warrior.” It implies that our children join the military to commit war crimes, but we all know that most of our children join for education benefits, or health insurance. “Warrior” also implies that we live in a War State—which we do—but the antiwar movement does not have to use the nomenclature of The Empire. Most of us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, but when our young people become The Troops they receive a thorough brainwashing and get sent off to murder and rape children and pregnant women. Our kids become hired goons for imperial greed—more like victims of a system that neglects everyone’s essential needs, than heroes.
The second bit of news yesterday (not covered in the toady media because Tiger and Little Tiger held a press conference) was the video of The Troops in Iraq slaughtering two Reuter’s journalists, the man who tried to save one of them, and ten others. Oh, and The Troops laughed about it and shot up a van filled with children, seriously wounding two of them. The Troops that did this were in a helicopter, and The Troops that rushed up in a HUMVEE are shown intentionally running over the victims (more laughter). These atrocities happened in 2007 and Reuters has been trying to get the video (shot from the Apache helicopter’s gun sights) for two years now. Wikileaks courageously de-crypted the video and posted it. Warning—it is horrible to watch what The Troops do to these people. Previously, the military’s investigation into these atrocities was ruled as “following rules of engagement.” Which is probably not a lie, since it seems like there are no rules of engagement that protect civilians from The Troops and The Empire.
There have been reports of war crimes for years—from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to Bagram; and from Falluja to Haditha to Marja—the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are totally and completely war crimes. The Nuremburg war crimes tribunals stated that wars of aggression are: "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Anyone involved in these war crimes from President to Private must be prosecuted—that includes the new regime—killing is not okay, even if the killer is a Democrat.
This Empire has lost what little of its mind that it had left after the syphilitic Bush years. The Empire is literally living on borrowed time. The expensive occupations, the expansion of Empire into South America, the new threats of sanctions against Iran, the continued and unwavering support of Israel, the increase (66% over the Bush years) in drone bombings, hellfire missiles raining down in Yemen, presidential targeting of American citizens abroad, yadda, yadda, yadda—will lead to the eventual downfall of the American Empire. It always happens and it will happen this time, too.
What can we do about an Empire that is so many noodles short of a full casserole, but divorce ourselves from it? Can we do a full-frontal attack against a psychopath that has nukes? Can we do what the president of Afghanistan recently threatened—join the resistance? I know for sure what doesn’t work—marching around in circles and shaking our fists at empty buildings on the weekend in Washington, DC—or spending a weekend as a “guest” of the DC criminal justice system.
“Only the little people pay taxes.”
I haven’t paid my income taxes since my son was killed in Iraq in 2004. I am ashamed that I ever paid taxes to fund the crimes of this Empire. I started paying taxes around 1974 and this Empire was embroiled in crimes then as it was before and has been ever since. Get this, in 2009, Exxon, a multi-national billion-dollar crime syndicate paid zero dollars in income taxes!
Some years since 2004, I have made enough to be required to file, most years my reportable income has been way below the filing level. I rarely even receive letters from the IRS. However, I would rather go to prison than know that one of my dollars went to pay for the murder, torture, false imprisonment, or oppression of one person here or abroad.
Think of it this way—what if St. Obama himself walked up to you and asked you to write him a check for two-grand so he could have money to buy a water board, or other torture apparatus, or for bullets, or for one square inch of a bomber? Would you do it? Some of you might, but most of you wouldn’t.
There are many ways to be war tax resisters and there are a handful of us doing it. If more of us who really believed in peaceful conflict resolution did it that would be a far more effective and more courageous way of opposing this Empire than marching in circles.
If we don’t come up with more creative solutions to the violence of this Empire, more and more innocent people will suffer.
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
From War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Butler
I think as an antiwar-peace community, the only way we can “Support the Troops” is by working as hard as we can to make sure none of our children become The Troops.
If you can’t come to DC to take part in our Civil Resistance efforts for Summer Camp OUT NOW, I suggest the you pour all of your efforts into doing counter-recruitment.
There are so many good organizations doing this work that you can help, or support with donations.
No “warriors,” no wars.
These are just two of the ways that we can Take This Empire and Shove It—there are many more suggestions in my e-book, Myth America: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution.