Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
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worth his or her salt speaks sweet words of endearment about the
young soldiers on the periphery of the American Empire.
"courageous" and "defenders of 'our' freedoms."
power seems to be basking in the glow of spring love for 'our' young
warriors, but if time teaches us anything about the praises of politicians,
it is that such sweet words last about as long as cotton candy in
an April shower.
If we are honest,
and if we look at things from the perspective of political leaders,
we see that soldiers are but instruments of state power. They're
seen as, say a queen bee 'sees' a drone; they are expendable.
How can we come
to any other conclusion in light of the way veterans of military
engagements past are treated, not by protestors who may oppose their
imperial violence, but by the State that employed their services?
World War II were subjected to dangerous exposure to radioactive
materials, causing uncounted effects in thousands of men over generations.
The veterans of Vietnam were exposed to the ravages of Agent Orange,
but found their enemies not in grass and mud hootches in the subtropics
of Asia, but in the Veteran's Administration hospitals, the chemical
companies, and the politicians who represent their interests, who
rejected their health concerns for at least a generation. When thousands
of men and women went to the (first) Gulf War, they experienced
serious life-threatening illnesses that they called the Gulf War
Syndrome. Who opposed them, assuring them that it was 'just in their
minds'? The same folks who opposed their predecessors!
The raging protests
of Vietnam forced the government to deep-six the draft (which had
been unpopular since the Civil War), and institute what they claimed
was an 'all-volunteer' service. Yet, who volunteers and why?
shown that low-income levels and chronic unemployment is an important
element in why some people opt for military service. Slick, computer-generated
ad campaigns promise thousands of dollars for college, and emphasize
individuality under the "Army of One" pitch. With few
prospects of a career in an economy driven by recession, and the
demoralizing weight of a dead-end job (if one is able to get one),
the ads on TV can prove irresistible. The Philadelphia-based Central
Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) considers the military's
present recruitment efforts as a "poverty draft".
Lynch's of the world, surviving in the low-growth economic battlefield
of West Virginia, find the military a viable, stable option in an
unstable civilian economy.
How many people in the services would be there, if education was
truly affordable? Or if the economy was out of recession?
passes resolutions praising the troops, the very same House of Representatives
moves to cut some $25 billion from veterans' health benefits over
the next decade. The love of politicians seems ever so fickle these
and more public dollars gets funneled into the cavernous maw of
As this happens,
we see the economic underpinnings of war.
Wars are not
waged on behalf of the many, but for the few; those few who can,
and will benefit from ravages of war, like oil companies, defense
industries and the like. How can this most recent war be for the
benefit of a people who overwhelmingly opposed it, in unprecedented
numbers? Least of all, are wars fought for those who fight in them.
They are drawn,
overwhelmingly, from the ranks of the poor and the working-classes;
those who can find no space in a tight economic environment. They
fight abroad because they are exhausted from the never-ending fight
at home, for a decent, affordable education, for decent housing,
for a job with some degree of longevity.
They are fighting
to survive against a truly ruthless enemy those who run America's
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.