[Reader-list] An Alternative speech that Bush could have given

Ravi Sundaram ravis at sarai.net
Sat Sep 22 00:30:42 IST 2001

 From counterpunch.org
A Speech George W. Bush
Could Give to the Nation

By Doug Morris

Good evening, my fellow Americans.

St. Augustine said that "hope has two beautiful daughters: anger and 
courage. Anger at the way things are, and courage to struggle to create 
things as they should be." These acts perpetrated against humanity on 
Tuesday were acts of anger at the way things are. They were not courageous 
acts, but horrendous atrocities, acts of anger laced with hate. Our first 
response must be support and compassion for the victims, and families and 
friends of the victims. But, in addition, we should ask ourselves "what 
conditions led these fellow humans to develop such anger and hatred, led 
them to commit such abominably inhumane acts, and why was it directed at 
these particular targets in the United States?"

We should not repress our anger and indignation at these hateful and 
callous acts, or our anger and indignation at all hateful and callous acts, 
but our anger must be accompanied not by hate, but with love, and by the 
courage to struggle to create a more just world, and THAT my fellow 
Americans will require a major effort to question, understand, challenge, 
change and raise OUR national consciousness. Please, my fellow Americans, 
listen with open ears, open minds and open hearts.
While no loving and decent human will tolerate acts of terror, we must try 
to understand the extremely difficult question: why? For example, what is 
the symbolic significance of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in the 
eyes of the world? And here, my fellow Americans we must search deep into 
our own history, our own policies, our own pursuits, our own impositions, 
and, our own hearts. It is painful, but, let us be blunt: the war against 
terrorism has begun, violently. The two most potent symbols of global 
military and economic violence, global military and economic terrorism, 
have been struck. These were cowardly and unconscionable acts, to be sure, 
and, as in most acts of terror, the innocent suffer most, the working 
class, the toiling class, the secretaries, the firemen, the rescue workers, 
etc. We must launch a war against terrorism, non-violently. A.J. Muste, 
committed pacifist, advised us that in a world built on violence "we must 
be revolutionaries before we are pacifists." That is, we must work to 
abolish the institutions of violence, non-violently.

However, make no mistake, my fellow Americans, the Pentagon IS the center 
of world military violence and terrorism. The US is the world's leading 
exporter of tools of death and destruction. Let us be honest, we have been 
committed to violence as a way to address international conflicts for many, 
many years. And a PARTIAL list of the results of our commitment to violence 
includes: Korea ­ millions killed. Vietnam ­ millions killed. Cambodia ­ 
hundreds of thousands killed. Laos ­ hundreds of thousands killed. Iraq ­ 
hundreds of thousands killed. Guatemala ­ hundreds of thousands killed. 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki ­ hundreds of thousands killed. East Timor ­ 
hundreds of thousands killed. Nicaragua ­ tens of thousands killed. El 
Salvador ­ tens of thousands killed. Colombia ­ tens of thousands killed. 
Dominican Republic ­ thousands killed. Somalia ­ thousands killed. Haiti ­ 
thousands killed. Yugoslavia ­ thousands killed. Panama ­ hundreds killed. 
And let us not forget the ways in which we have mistreated the Cuban people 
for over 40 years now with our embargo and repeated acts of terrorism. Let 
us remember my father's words during the buildup to the US attack on Iraq: 
"there will be no negotiationswhat we say goes." "No negotiations" simply 
means we prefer violence. "What we say goes" expresses the arrogance, 
chauvinism and mystique of invincibility that has separated the US from the 
world. Both views express the notion that the US is above international law 
and the UN Charter, outside the family of nations. Is it any wonder that 
Harvard professor Samuel Huntington said that in the eyes of most of the 
world the US is seen as "THE rogue superpower," considered "THE single 
greatest external threat to their societies"? The world quakes in its boots 
wondering when we will attack, and what form of violence will ensue: cruise 
missiles, helicopter gunships, chemical or biological agents, nuclear 
bombs, F18's, F22's, B52's, fumigation campaigns, IMF/World Bank 
"Structural Adjustment Programs," or "Austerity Programs," embargoes, 
sanctions, disappearances, assassinations, massacres, tortures, cultural 
cooptation or erasure, etc., etc., etc.

The Bible warns us: "what ye sew, ye shall reap." Today, sadly, we have 
experienced what we have sewn on much of the world. Today, as a country, we 
have learned that raining death and destruction on another country creates 
a toll far higher than simply destroyed buildings and dead bodies. Today 
our freedom came under attack. We thought we were free to impose military 
and economic violence anywhere we chose, with impunity. The freedom from 
impunity appears to no longer exist. The World Court attempted to sanction 
the US for our commitment to violence but the Reagan Administration claimed 
that the World Court had no jurisdiction over our actions. Yes, we have 
been, and we are a rogue state, and, my fellow Americans, it must stop!

Tonight, while many are calling for vengeance, my fellow Americans we must 
raise a call of humility, a humility that does not in any way diminish 
humanity, but a humility that raises the respect for, and dignity of, all 
people, a humility that allows us to celebrate all human life. Let us 
recall the words of that great man of peace, Martin Luther King, Jr., who 
said: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, 
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, 
it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot 
murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the 
hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases 
hate...Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper 
darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out 
darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can 
do that."
It is time that we joined the world, not as its major purveyor of violence 
and destruction, but as a peaceful participant who will work to end 
violence, end racism, end classism, end sexism, rather than increase them. 
The proposed Pentagon budget, the "violence" budget, for next year is $330 
billion dollars. I am tonight proposing an immediate 50% decrease in this 
spending that promotes violence, and calling for a redistribution those 
funds to help ameliorate problems of hunger, poverty and poor-health around 
the world. It is a call to reach out with love, and a call to find the 
courage to struggle to create a more just, peaceful, healthful and 
equitable world, a world in which human creativity is celebrated rather 
than the human capacity for great violence.

Tonight we must call on the world to forgive us OUR sins, forgive us OUR 
sordid and calamitous acts of violence that we have pursued without pause 
for over 50 years. Let this be the beginning of our reconciliation with the 
world. We now, to some degree, understand the pain, misery and suffering we 
have caused, the turmoil we have perpetrated, the hate we have elicited, 
the destruction we have imparted, the physical, emotional, psychological 
and spiritual scars and unconscionable hurt we have created and that much 
of the world has endured because of our rapacious and destructive pursuit 
of wealth, power and privilege at the expense of human concerns and human 
lives. We humbly beg the forgiveness of all humanity, as we pray that you 
will offer your support, your compassion, your understanding, and your love 
in our time of suffering, mourning and loss.
This is not a time, as it is never a time, to seek vengeance, but a time to 
seek the courage to forgive, to harbor the power of anger to be used in 
acts of love, and to uncover insights that will allow us to direct our 
indignation at the institutions of power, violence and greed, many of 
which, sadly, are centered in the US, and begin to transform them in order 
to increase our love for the victims of that power, violence and greed, 
including those who died and were injured in the attacks on the Pentagon 
and the World Trade Center.

When I attended the G8 meetings in Genoa recently I saw a banner in the 
street that said, "you are 8, we are 6 billion," and it struck me deeply. 
We have pursued for too long the interests of the few at the expense of the 
many. Wealth, privilege and power inequalities exacerbate every day. We 
have created, protected, endorsed and now imposed on the rest of the world 
an economic system, symbolized by the World Trade Center, and protected by 
the Pentagon, that must produce and expand in order to profit and survive, 
an economic system that treats everything as a commodity to be exploited 
whether it is water, food, air, soil, the rest of the environment, animals, 
fish, or our fellow humans, a system that puts corporate profit interests 
above human interests. This must stop. We, who represent and serve power, 
should have listened sooner.

Let this horrible tragedy serve as our wake up call. Let us begin tonight 
to transform this monster before it is too late. This act of terror, 
infamous and abominable, will pale in comparison to the growing terrors of 
increasing global militarism of which we are the primary cause, increased 
global warming of which we are the primary cause, and intensifying 
environmental destruction of which we are the primary cause and which may 
soon make much of the world uninhabitable for humans, and surely increase 
human suffering, misery and death.

If we are to overcome these acts of terror, and more importantly prevent 
future acts of terror against humanity, we must act out of a sense of hope 
and faith that the future is unfinished, that it is there to be created; 
and, we must be driven by a judicious anger at the way things are, anger at 
the monster we have created, anger that can be harbored in momentous acts 
of love, and the courage to struggle in cooperation, understanding, support 
and solidarity with the rest of humanity to create a world in which all 
will be happy to live.

Tonight, and in the days and weeks to come, we must find the courage to not 
only reach out with love and understanding, but to find the courage to 
self-reflect honestly about what WE have done to the world so that we can 
understand why things are the way they are, and what we can and will do to 
struggle to create things as they should be ­ a world of less violence and 
greater peace; a world of diminished arrogance and greater humility; a 
world where more people do not die of hunger every two years than were 
killed in both World Wars combined, but a world in which all people have 
access to the great and nourishing bounties of the earth; a world of less 
disease and greater health; a world of less hate and greater love; a world 
of less vengeance and greater understanding; a world of less greed and 
greater sharing; a world of less destruction and greater creativity; a 
world of less disparity and greater equality; a world of less 
fundamentalism and more progressivism; a world of less mysticism and more 
humanism; a world of less criminality and greater justice; a world of less 
separatism and more solidarity; a world in which we live both an examined 
life and a committed life; a world of less militarism and more artistry; a 
world of less vilification and more celebration; a world in which life is 
worth living; a world in which we understand well the lesson of Rousseau 
who said "the fruits of our labor belong to us; the fruits of the earth 
belong to everyone; and, the world itself belongs to no one."

So, in closing, my fellow Americans, allow us to support one another in our 
quest through hope, and anger, and courage, to make love our aim during 
this time of crisis, and in the future. And, let us remember and reflect 
upon the words stated in Corinthians 13:1-3: "though I may speak with the 
voice of angels; though I may understand all the mysteries; though I may 
have all the knowledge; though I may give all to feed the poor; though I 
may give my body to be burnedif I have not love, I have nothing at all."

Thank you. Good night, and blessings, peace, justice, solidarity and love 
for all humanity.

And now, my fellow Americans, in order to assist us in developing a much 
deeper understanding of all of these issues, I have invited MIT professor 
Noam Chomsky to share his views. Professor Chomsky will have unlimited 
time. Thank you. Professor Chomsky, welcome. CP

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