I originally posted the following video and commentary onto my Facebook wall…
My Commentary: The above clip is an excerpt of speech that was delivered by Mike Prysner at the Winter Soldier event, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War. It was held in Washington, D.C. from March 13 through March 16, 2008.
Mike is a veteran from the Iraq War, and an outspoken opponent of what he sees as the military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. He is very convicted in his beliefs, and has written many scathing articles, deconstructing the myths associated with our military’s current war efforts, and revealing the true reality of our government’s involvement in the Middle-East.
Ready to effect real changes in policy and government, he even ran for Congress in 2008 as a third-party candidate in Florida’s 22nd congressional district election (though he did not win)!
Mike’s perspective is important, and should not dismissed!
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy… The loss of Liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad…” – James Madison
Here is the transcript of Prysner’s clipped speech:
“I tried hard to be proud of my service. All I could feel was shame.
Racism could no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These were people. These were human beings. I have since been plagued by guilt—anytime I see an elderly man, like the one who couldn’t walk, who we rolled onto a stretcher and told the Iraqi police to take him away. I feel guilt anytime I see a mother with her children, like the one who cried hysterically, and screamed that we were worse than Saddam as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt anytime I see a young girl, like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street.
We were told we were fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me. The real terrorism is this occupation.
Racism within the military has long been an important tool to justify the destruction and occupation of another country. It has long been used to justify the killing, subjugation, and torture of another people. Racism is a vital weapon employed by this government. It is a more important weapon that a rifle, or a tank, or a bomber, or a battleship. It is more destructive than an artillery shell, or a bunker buster, or a tomahawk missile.
While all those weapons are created and owned by this government, they are harmless without people willing to use them. Those who send us to war do not have to pull a trigger or lob a mortar round; they don’t have to fight the war, they merely have to sell us the war. They need a public who is willing to send their soldiers into harm’s way, and they need soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed, without question. They can spend millions on a single bomb—but that bomb only becomes a weapon when the ranks in the military are willing to follow the orders to use it. They can send every last soldier anywhere on earth, but there will only be a war if soldiers are willing to fight.
The ruling class—the billionaires who profit from human suffering, who care only about expanding their wealth and controlling the world economy—understand that their power lies only in their ability to convince us that war, oppression, and exploitation is in our interest. They understand that their wealth is dependent on their ability to convince the working class to die to control the market of another country. And convincing us to die and kill is based on their ability to make us think that we are somehow superior.
Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have nothing to gain from this war. The vast majority of people living in the United States have nothing to gain from this war. In fact, not only do soldiers and workers gain nothing from this occupation, but we suffer more because of it. We lose the limbs, endure the trauma and give our lives. Our families have to watch flag-draped coffins lowered into the earth. Millions in this country without health care, jobs, or access to education must watch this government squander over $400 million a day on this war.
The real enemy is here.
Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in another country, to make the rich richer. Without racism, soldiers would realize that they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war. I threw people onto the street in Iraq, only to come home and find families here thrown onto the street in this tragic and unnecessary foreclosure crisis that is already leaving hundreds of Iraq war veterans homeless.
We need to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land; they’re not people whose names we don’t know and whose cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know well and people we can identify—the enemy is the system that sends us to war when it’s profitable; the enemies are the CEOs who lay us off from our jobs when its profitable; they’re the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable; they’re the banks that take away our homes when it’s profitable.
Our enemies are not 5,000 miles away. They are right here at home, and if we organize and fight with our sisters and brothers we can stop this war, stop this government, and create a better world.”
(For a transcript of the entire speech, along with accompanying video, go here: A Soldier’s Story: http://www.bethink.org/diary/876/)