Howard Zinn on the “Holy” Wars

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Howard Zinn (1922-2010) on the so-called “good” and “holy” wars of the American Imperium: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WWII.

Howard Zinn on the costs of war.

His final words at Boston University on November 11th, 2009:

“No matter what we are told, no matter what tyrant exists, what border has been crossed, what aggression has taken place, it is not that we are going to be passive in the face of tyranny or aggression. No, but we will find ways other than war to deal with the problems we have. Because war is inevitably, inevitably the indiscriminate massive killing of huge numbers of people and children are a good part of those people. Every war is a war against children. So it is not just getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Think about it, well, we got rid of Saddam Hussein and in the course of it got rid of huge numbers of victims of Saddam Hussein. When you fight a war against a tyrant, who do you kill? You kill the victims of the tyrant.

Anyway, all this is to simply make us think again about war and to think. You know. We are at war now, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and sort of in Pakistan since we are sending rockets over there killing innocent people in Pakistan. And, we should not accept that. Look for a peace movement to join. Really, look for some peace organization to join. It will look small at first and pitiful and helpless, but that is how movements start. That is how the movement against the Vietnam war started, started with handfuls of people who thought they were helpless, thought they were powerless.

But, remember, the power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below.

When people stop obeying, they have no power.

Now, when workers go on strike, huge corporations lose their power. When consumers boycott, huge business establishments have to give in.

When soldiers refuse to fight, as so many soldiers did in Vietnam, so many deserters, so many fraggings, acts of violence by enlisted men against officers in Vietnam, B-52 pilots refusing to fly bombing missions anymore. War cannot go on when enough soldiers refuse the government has to decide we cannot continue. So yes, people have the power if they begin to organize, if they protest and create a strong enough movement they can change things. That is all I wanted to say. Thank you.”

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