A Jew’s Few Worthy Words About America 2
This is the second part of Harold Pinter’s speech published on Democracy Now. The first part is printed below.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it “bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.”
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? 100,000? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore, it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore, if any American soldier or, for that matter, politician finds himself in the dock, Bush has warned that he will send in the Marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address, if they’re interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.
Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don’t exist. They are blank. They’re not even recorded as being dead. “We don’t do body counts,” said the American general Tommy Franks.
Early in the invasion, there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. “A grateful child,” said the caption. A few days later, there was a story and photograph on an inside page of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. “When do I get my arms back?” he asked. This story was never referred to again. Well, Tony Blair wasn’t holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you’re making a sincere speech on television.
The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm’s way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.
I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as “full spectrum dominance.” That is not my term, it is theirs. “Full spectrum dominance” means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honorable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there, but they are there all right.
The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. 2,000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched with fifteen minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity, the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons, is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand, they are not a coherent political force—yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear, which we can see growing daily in the United States, is unlikely to diminish.
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision, we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us: the dignity of man.
Joe asks, how then does man define the “real truth of our lives and our societies” in order to maintain some sort of dignity? By the wanton extermination of all peoples that do not agree with us, our political opinions or religious beliefs or to America’s God-given right to “full spectrum dominance”? By impressed conversion to America’s Christianity; forced subjugation to Democracies Freedom of wanton anarchy and chaos?
Personally, Joe says, he’d rather have Almighty God define his truth. Not some worthless “political vision” espoused by fanatical religious lunatics.