1248 am Sep 25, 1990 Remarks at a meeting of the Coalition Against Intervention in the Mid

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

12:48 am Sep 25, 1990 Remarks at a meeting of the Coalition Against Intervention in the Middle East, September 13th, Cooper Union, New York City. by Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General Mr. Clark began by thanking everyone for their support. Walt Whitman told us, writing On Blue Ontario Shore, that "this America is only you and me." Let's you and I resolve now that we will persevere in this effort until every American soldier is home from the Persian Gulf! And believe me there is no other force on this earth that will make that possible in the next four years unless We the People demand it and do it! We're told that the struggle for freedom is between memory and forgetting. I believe that's true. I need to recall for a moment again the events of nineteen years ago today at Attica, named for that apex that was the glory of Greece, where America built a prison to confine young men of darker skin, so we could hate them, fear them, torment them, and finally kill them if we will. New York police stormed D yard, they fired randomly and killed 39 human beings in a matter of fifteen minutes, including nine correctional officers who were being held by the inmates. It was cold-blooded murder and no one was indicted for it. And what have We the People done since? In New York State in 1971 there were 12,000 prisoners. Today there are 54,000 prisoners. The population of the state hasn't grown. The population of the prisons has increased four and a half fold, while we cut back on essential programs for education, for health, for jobs, for homes, for families, the chance for individual freedom and fulfillment. We've confined people in prison and made it impossible for them to fulfill themselves, to live decent lives. We've brutalized and manufactured crimes, and we live in fear. We've employed police force and prison bars as a means for saving America. And during that same period of time, to protect ourselves internationally, we've engaged in the creation of the most devastating capacity for destruction in history. Even at this moment we're still outfitting twenty Trident-II nuclear submarines. Each, unbelievably, could launch twenty four missiles (while submerged) containing seventeen separate independently targeted maneuvarable warheads ten times more powerful than the one that incerated the beautiful people of Nagasaki in 1945. One finger pressing one button on one boat can destroy 408 centers of human population, and perhaps cause what the poets have called the Nom Shantu - nuclear winter - rendering this planet as lifeless as the moon. And now while the welfare of our children has deteriorated consistently we are moving that terrible capacity to destroy life to the sands of Arabia and the seas of the Persian Gulf, to have our way. We might ask whether President George Bush would take the risk of beginning a war there. Let me remind you, because we must remember, what he said in a very telling interview in 1980, with Robert Shearer of the LA Times. He had responded that we could win a nuclear exchange. Shearer, in apparent dismay, asked him, "how?" He said, "you have a survivability of command and control," (that's him) "survivability of industrial potential, protection," (I have to underline the word) "even", "of a percentage of your citizens." Imagine that. "And you have a capability to inflict more damage on the oppostion than he can inflict on you. That's the way you have a winner." You remember Herman Kahn saying that in a nuclear war we could lose 60 to 90 million Americans and the survivors would lead happy and normal lives. We've seen our Constitution - trashed. There is no more legal restraint manifest in the United States today on the arbitrary actions of the President of the United States... [words drowned by applause]. And there isn't any on any military dictator that ever lived. All he has to do is do it - nuke 'em. And who will say a thing? We the People delegated the powers over war and peace, when we created this particular experiment in government, to the elected branch, the first branch, the Congress. When this terribly dangerous crisis erupted on August 2nd, the Congress was out-to-lunch, and they never took the out-to-lunch sign down, they never [came] back, they never said a mumbling word... [words drowned by applause] It's been 37 years since Justice Robert H. Jackson, in the Youngstown Steel case said that "We the People delegated the powers of war and peace to Congress, and we have let those powers slip through our fingers." And now we've completely dropped [them]. The courts offer absolutely no protection. They will not entertain any case that investigates anything of importance, like the question of legality of a war. When lawyers dared to [point out] the people killed while sleeping in their beds in a surprise air-raid at 2:30 in the morning on the cities of Tripoli and Bengasi, and a collateral effort to assassinate the leader of a foreign nation, the courts sanctioned the lawyers for their arrogance in daring to question the legality of the power of the President of the United States. We watched the war in Vietnam, where we used Agent Orange, where we carpet-bombed people sleeping in their towns and villages, mercilessly, where we employed technology against life, where their body count was a source of joy to us, failing to see that their children each were as precious as any of ours. When people attempted to stand on the dikes to resist the American bombers which would starve the people of Vietnam to death, we called them "traitors," and threatened them with prosecution. The United States is the scofflaw of the international community. When the [United Nations] Security Council resolved to make any purchase of chrome from racist Rhodesia illegal, the United States preferred chrome to international law - and bought it. When Nicaragua went to the Internation Court of Justice, and demanded justice for our criminal acts against its people in mining its harbors and strafing its towns, we rejected the jurisdiction of the court. We invaded Grenada and gave seven thousand medals, when we had a military - full time, uniformed - service 25 times greater than the population of Grenada - every man, woman, and child - and a nuclear warhead for every three people that lived there. We invaded Panama, we killed thousands - and lied about it, just as we lied about what happened at Attica. Originally, we have to remember, that we said it was the inmates that killed those nine corrections workers. We contended they had been castrated and gutted, but then they found bullet holes in them - each of the nine - and no inmate had a gun. All of our institutions are failing to resist the American war machine. The President intends to use force, the Congress will not stop him, the courts will not stop him, the press urges him on... A newspaper like the Times to this date has paled the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst... [words drowned by applause]. And recall the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Philippine people, which we should never forget. On the island of Sumara the order was to murder every man. When a colonel asked a general "above what age?" he said "ten," and it happened. And we did it because the President of the United States McKinley said it was our duty to "uplift, educate, civilize, and Christianize" those poor people. God help us. We know perfectly well that this expedition in Arabia is a classical form of colonialism as defined in the dictionary. There's only one reason we're there and we know it - oil. If the oil wasn't there we wouldn't be there. We would sit back with Henry Kissinger and say "I hope they kill each other!" But we intend to have our way with that oil if it asphyxiates every last one of us, and it will if we continue on this course. So let's take to the streets, Americans. Let's show the President of the United States that the people will demand that we withdraw all of our troops immediately. We have to work fast because he can work fast. We have to build quickly for a massive demonstration on October 20th. We cannot fail. A principle of America depends on it. Let me recall for a moment that 160 years ago, from this stage, Abraham Lincoln made a long legal argument for the proposition that the Constitution of the United States empowered the federal government to prohibit the existence of slavery in the territories. The man really seemed to believe that what the Constitution said, what the founding fathers - no mothers... they weren't perfect then either - [said] really mattered. And he went to an actual head- count. When he got through he walked over to McSorley's, had a beer, strolled down to the Battery where he caught a ferry over to the railroad in New Jersey, and went home to Illinois, and the Civil War began the next year. And he had to ask, "how could someone like I, who could never so much as wring the neck of a chicken, be elected to lead the nation in the midst of all this blood?" But it was his last words, in his Cooper Institute speech, that Americans need absolutely to remember in this fine house: "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that fath let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." I'll see you on October 20th. [Transcribed by Fred Mayer... please excuse any errors...] Source: PeaceNet - reg.mideast


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank