Who’s Aims in What “Global War on Terror?”*

A slightly shortened version of the following speech was delivered at the Plenary Session of the 2008 Midwestern Meetings of the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN), hosted by the University of Iowa Antiwar Committee in Iowa Committee in Iowa City, IA, on Saturday, April 19th, 2008.




Thank you University of Iowa Antiwar Committee for asking me to speak on the topic of “America’s Aims in the Global War on Terror.”


I’d like to start with a quote from one my moral and intellectual heroes – the great radical American historian Howard Zinn.  “We who protest the war,” Zinn wrote last year, “are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable…It is not easy, in the corrupting atmosphere of Washington, D.C., to hold on firmly to the truth, to resist the temptation of capitulation that presents itself as compromise. Except for the rare few, our representatives are politicians, and will surrender their integrity, claiming to be ‘realistic.’ We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth. That, history suggests, is the most realistic thing a citizen can do.”


Fellow citizens, fellow American citizens, and fellow world citizens, these are urgent times and they call for solutions that go far beyond anything being proposed by any of our self-appointed saviors and messiahs from within the bipartisan governing and politician class.




America’s Aims in the Global War on Terror” is something of a phantom phrase.  It refers to things that exist only in the deluded minds of elites.


A “global war on terror” worthy of its name would involve confronting any and all sources of socially imposed terror in the world, including state and economic terror.


The U.S. isn’t doing that at all. There’s a paramilitary terror state in Latin America called Columbia.  It has killed and disappeared and tortured hundreds of thousands of trade unionists,   farmers, activists and intellectuals and it has displaced millions over recent decades.  It recently undertook an illegal and murderous incursion into Ecuador<

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