Speech by Stephanie Tang for the San Francisco October 6, 2012 Rally on 11th Anniversary of Afghanistan War

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Yesterday I was at a high school with a young army vet on the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour.  We spoke in 3 classes, telling the students  the truth about America’s wars.

These students were between 4 and 6 years old the day the U.S. attacked Afghanistan.  Now they see military recruiters prowling their campuses because the empire needs them to fight, kill, and die for it. 

I am outraged - Are you?

 

 

We here know the story of these 11 years.  How Bush launched illegal illegitimate war in Iraq/Afghanistan.  How Obama’s expanded those wars into 3 more countries.

In Pakistan,  45 drone bombings during the eentire Bush Regime.  During Obama’s first year alone he sent 51 – and he’s now up to 284 in Pakistan alone. 

 

Afghan casualties are higher now than at any other time since the invasion.  Special Forces, military operations that terrorize those they don’t kill, night raids, the ongoing use of torture, and mythology spun by the mass media to make the public think all this is OK.

Obama himself has declared this will continue for at least another ten years. This is happening in our names.  Are you for this or against it?

But just being against it is not enough.  We have to fight to change the whole political terrain and climate in this country.  We have to spread truth, resistance and refusal to go along with these crimes so that tens of millions more push aside the curtain of their silence, and or their complicity, and or their sad belief that war is terrible but nothing can be done.

Way too many people still think the U.S. is the “good guys”trying to spread freedom and democracy, even if sometimes that isn’t actually what happens. 

We need to step up and spread out, to break people out of that box – with work like the Iraq Veterans Against the War are doing today at Fisherman’s Wharf with Occupy Fleet Week outreach (join us to join them after today’s march!)  And the We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour that we in World Can’t Wait do in the high schools.  And when our friends now on the trip to Pakistan come home, helping them speak out everywhere about the people living and dying on the other end of the drone strikes. 

And also: we need to argue out what we should do once people KNOW all this murder, torture, occupation and war are illegitimate and  arenot the acts of “good guys.” 

Some say even if Obama’s commander-in-chief for these wars, and for the fascist laws like the NDAA – we should critically support the Democrats because we have to work with the lesser of two evils.  How many lives and how much of your humanity will you sacrifice, how much energy and resources will you waste for a game with nothing good to come of it?

It was disastrous but perhaps more understandable that 4 years ago people wanted off the Bush road so badly they put their hope into change from Obama. But now we’ve had 4 years to watch……   so now there’s really some serious responsibility in repeating the same error a second time.

A writer says in the pages of progressive blogs and the Nation:  Yes Obama is killing innocent civilians with these wars, but he’s saving lives with his enlightened health care and environmental policies.  So stop obsessing about foreign policy.  Shame on you, Rebecca Solnit!  I say anyone who puts a preference on lives of people from this country over the rest of the planet, and who relegates the longest occupation in U.S. history to a side issue, is complicit in its continuance.

And having just seen his video, his catchy anthem to Obama that he’ll probably sing this Monday – Michael Franti, when he headlines Obama’s fundraising concert here -- as we protest outside – again I say maybe in 2008 some people were bamboozled, but now we know what Obama will do with his next four years.  Michael have you lost your mind?

But things are not hopeless.  Actually we should have enormous hope: but it’s not hope in the criminals running this government, be they Democrats or Republicans.  We put our hope in the people, and their awakening, and their action in mass resistance…..

Yesterday at the high school, two 11th-graders told us they think the reason recruiters are allowed to come after them at school is “because it’s like when you’re fishing: we’re easy bait” and “because people don’t think there’s any hope for us.”  It’s up to us to show this isn’t so.

PROTEST MONDAY   4:30 UN PLAZA RALLY 5:00 – when Obama is in San Francisco.
STOP U.S. Aggression and Continued War on the World!
Humanity and the Planet Come First!  Stop This War – NOW, not in 2024!

The World Can’t Wait.


Main Reports on Protest & Resistance Speech by Stephanie Tang for the San Francisco October 6, 2012 Rally on 11th Anniversary of Afghanistan War