ORIENTAL REVIEW republishes the fragment of one of the most powerful anti-war speeches done by the former Corporal of the US Army in Iraq Michael Prysner at the 2008 Winter Soldier in Maryland. It is still relevant and sounding as ever.
“I tried hard to be proud of my service, but all I could feel was shame. Racism could no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These were people, these were human beings. I’ve since been plagued by guilt, any time 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 any time I see a mother with her children, like the one who cried hysterically, and screamed that we’re worse than Saddam, as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt any time 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, and the real terrorism was 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 than a rifle, a tank, a bomber, or a battleship; it is more destructive than an artillery shell, or a bunker buster, or 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 the trigger, or lob a mortar round; they do not have to fight the war, they merely have to sell the war. They need a public who’s willing to send their soldiers into harm’s way. 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 of the military are willing to follow 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.. And the ruling class, the billionaires who profit from human suffering, care only about expanding their wealth, 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 kill and die, is based on their ability to make us think that we are somehow superior.
Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, have nothing to gain from this occupation. The vast majority of people living in the U.S. have nothing to gain from this occupation. In fact, not only do we have nothing to gain, but we suffer more because of it. We lose limbs, endure 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, have watched this government squander over FOUR-HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS A DAY ON THIS OCCUPATION. [IRAQ]
Poor and working people in this country, are send to kill poor and working people in another country, to make the rich richer; and 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 families onto the street in Iraq, only to come home and find families thrown onto the street in this country, and it’s a tragic, and unnecessary foreclosure crisis.
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 cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well, and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable. The enemy is the CEO’s who lay us off from our jobs when it’s profitable; it’s the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable; it’s the banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable.
Our enemy is not five thousand miles away, they are right here at home. When we organize, and fight with our sisters and brothers, we can stop this war, we can stop this government, and we can create a better world.