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SEGMENT #9: RAMSEY CLARK, former U.S. Attorney General
Michel Shehadeh introduces Ramsey Clark: “Everyone knows Ramsey Clark is a former U.S. Attorney General and he has been a persistent voice for anti-war movement for three decades. Ramsey has traveled all over the world and has been in Iraq every year since the sanctions were imposed.”
Ramsey Clark: “If you think it’s been a long evening, wait ‘till I get through. But we’re going to have to take some long evenings because this planet is deeply troubled and the greatest cause of that trouble is our own government. In the speech that Rev. James Lawson referred to that Martin Luther King made on April 5th 1967, the most startling thing that he said at the time and the thing that caused the most anger and hatred to be directed toward him, was this sentence: “The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government.”
“Thirty one years ago. Why anyone would have been startled is hard to say because it was an obvious fact. But apparently we need more education in the obvious than we do examination of the obscure and unknown.
“Last year, U.S. military expenditures, with all the suffering on the planet, all the sickness and hunger and ignorance and pain, the American military budget was $265 billion. The second largest government expenditure for militarism was $48 billion. And that was the Russian Federation. The United States military expenditures exceed those of the top 12 government expenditures on earth by themselves and are more than a third of all the military expenditures on the planet.”
“We have a war party in this country and we’ve had it all along! And you can call it Democrat for a while, you can call it Republican for a while, but it has been the special economic interest in this society that’s governed us from the time that we founded our governments on this continent. And the people have never controlled those governments.”
“We call ourselves the world’s greatest democracy -- we are absolutely a plutocracy! It’s the most obvious thing in the world! Wealth governs this country! And wealth uses military violence to control the rest of the world as best it can! And we’re responsible! And we will pay the price for it!”
“If we don’t control our violence, if we don’t control the effect of the symbol of our glorification of violence, on our children and on the rest of the planet, then this human species is going to be the first to destroy itself completely. And that’s the road the United States government has put us on.”
“The single most pertinent statement on this issue was by Henry Kissinger. When the Iran-Iraq war began, over a million very young men lost their lives in that war. Henry Kissinger said at the beginning of that war, eight years the war, “I hope they kill each other”. And that was exactly our policy. What could be better – have them kill each other – then who has to worry about that region anymore, you know? And don’t think that is not exactly our policy all over the world where there are poor peoples living today. That’s the solution to over-population – call it triage, whatever you want to call it. Let them kill each other, let them die. And they are dying all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where the masses of poor people live. They are expendable there as they are expendable here.”
“As appalling as what we’ve done and what we’ve threatened to Iraq, the worst violence that all of our technology could unleash and then the strangulation of the sanctions, the thing we have to realize is, it’s what our government leadership has been doing all along. It is not terribly different than how we addressed the folks that were here to meet the Mayflower standing on the dock. The North American aboriginal peoples, the Indians as we call them.
"A long steady course of destruction of those peoples. It is not terribly different than what we did to the slaves that were brought over in chains from Africa, those that survived the transit, which wasn’t easy. You look in our history books, you don’t read about a Philippine-American War, you read the Philippine history books and they know about the Philippine-American War. We call it the Spanish American War. We were liberating the Filipinos! We killed more than a million. Now we are bragging about the covert actions we are going to engage in against Iraq.”
“Do you doubt for a minute they are planning covert actions in half a dozen other places right now, and we’ll react to them five years after the misery has begun and the people have been devastated? What we have to realize is that if we don’t stand up and stop this now, if we can’t stop these sanctions in Iraq, and with them we can’t prohibit any further use of sanctions that are designed to impact on the poor, then there are no poor people on the planet that will ever be safe from our government and its future acts.”
“It is imperative that we stop them in Iraq today and that we prohibit them in the future as applied to any people, because it is a weapon of mass destruction. We have to stop military interventions by our government completely. We cannot permit more U.S. military interventions in foreign countries. We have to stop economic interventions. We’ve got to cancel foreign debt that has enslaved most of the poor countries on the planet. Cancel it!”
“So let’s organize through every effort and opportunity we have, in our families, in our churches, in our mosques, in our synagogues, in our schools, at our jobs, a massive coalition committed to end militarism and economic exploitation by our government. Thank you. God Bless.”