By Tarak Kauff
“Somehow this madness must cease.” That’s what Martin Luther King said in his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in April 1967.
Almost 44 years later madmen are still running the asylum. Last December 16, many of us were at the White House fence, where we were taking a stand for peace. We were opposing that same entity that Martin Luther King called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Violence in Iraq continues as more than 50,000 U.S. troops and mercenaries continue to occupy that war-devastated country. In Afghanistan, 850 children are dying daily, some directly from U.S. bombs, many from illness and starvation, all this, byproducts of the evils of war.
To sane human beings, war, not to mention permanent war, is madness. But to the madmen who control America, wars that reap massive profits are normal. Madmen do not pity the suffering, do not empathize with others’ pain that they cause. Cold to the misery of others, immune to reason and conscience, they are a strange lot, these dispensers of death.
James Connolly, the Irish socialist leader who was executed by the British in 1916, said:
It would be well to realize that the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare,’ of the ‘rules of civilized warfare,’ and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race are hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress. What lover of humanity can view with anything but horror the prospect of this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.
Over time, this “mad ruling class” loses the very qualities of love, kindness and empathy that make us human. Like inhuman monsters they become, these executors and guardians of an equally inhumane system of corporate capitalism, destroying all that humanity holds dear and sacred.
Those who are mad with power will never voluntarily relinquish, nor surrender to even the most eloquent and passionate appeals. They are like drunken drivers whose license must be revoked. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”—Frederick Douglass
The system and those in power recognize that the source of their power is a subdued, sedated and manipulated public, a public fed lies and fantasies that can, when needed, be manipulated by fear or coercion. They play all the angles. But as the uprisings in Tunisia and now Egypt show us, lies, fear and coercion can be resisted.
Here in the United States, war profiteers are thriving while people are losing homes and jobs. We don’t have adequate health care or decent education for our children, and civil services are cut while the Pentagon budget grows exponentially.
During the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in 1964, Mario Savio said, “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.”
Join veterans, many of whom have seen the madness and horror of war firsthand, as we march again to the White House, refusing to move, demanding the end of U.S. wars and occupations, as well as an end to U.S. military support and aid for oppressive right-wing client states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and $3 billion-plus-a-year partners in crime like Israel.
March 19, 2011. Help make this the largest veteran-led civil resistance to the war machine in recent history. E-mail StopTheseWars@gmail.com and we’ll keep you posted.
As Martin Luther King said 44 years ago, “Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world.”
For more information on participating in the March 19, 2011, veteran-led civil resistance to the war machine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.