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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Commentaries by the award-winning journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
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Now displaying: Page 1
Dec 24, 2006
Within days the Bush regime is expected to announce its so-called "new strategy" in Iraq -- the most talked-about plan being a surge in U.S. forces in Iraq. By 'surge' is meant the significant increase in troop size in that beleaguered country, a plan meant to address the obvious failures in Iraq. In light of the rumored 'surge', one wonders, what does it take for the administration to listen to the voices of the People? In February and March, 2003, the U.S. and much of the world spoke, with millions marching in the streets of cities the globe over, against the scourge of war. The Bush regime ignored them. No -- "ignored" isn't right. President Bush belittled the protests as 'a focus group.' As journalism professor Robert Jensen notes in his book, The Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (San Francisco: City Lights Publ., 2004) Bush's response to the "single largest public political demonstration in history", was unbelievable: "When asked a few days later about the size of the protest, he said: 'First of all, you know, size of protest, it's like deciding, well, I'm going to decide policy based on a focus group. The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security -- in this case, the security of the people.' "A focus group? Perhaps the leader of the free world was not aware that a focus group is a small number of people who are brought together (and typically paid) to evaluate a concept or product. Focus groups are primarily a tool of businesses, which use them to figure out how to sell things more effectively. Politicians also occasionally use them, for the same purpose. That's a bit different from a coordinated gathering of millions of people who took to the streets because they felt passionately about an issue of life and death. As is so often the case, Bush's comment demonstrated his ignorance and condescension, the narrowness of his intellect and his lack of respect for the people he allegedly serves." [pp. xi-xii] Decades ago, during the height of the Vietnam War, presidents and their military advisors extended the hostilities long after it was abundantly clear that the conflict could not be won. President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated it, but could not bring himself to rein it in, for fear that history would judge him one who 'lost' Vietnam. His successor, Richard M. Nixon further escalated the conflict, by ordering bombing of neighboring countries. Some historians now say that the escalation and continuation of the Vietnam war cost some 20,000 Americans lives; the numbers of Vietnamese, and other southeast Asians are unknown to us. The point is, the war and its needless carnage was extended for years, at a horrific cost: to save U.S. face. It seems that this not-so-distant history is repeating itself. In a few weeks, we shall hear what "the Decider" has decided. You can bet that it will conflict with the will of most Americans. What kind of democracy is this? Demonstrations don't matter. Elections don't matter. Study groups don't matter. No matter what most Americans think -- it doesn't matter. Nothing matters -- but what the decider decides. There's a word for that -- and it sure ain't democracy! Americans have seemingly settled for a dictatorship of one -- in fact, a dictatorship of disaster. Like good little sheep, they plan to silently acquiesce as more of their young people are slain on an altar slick with oil. This isn't patriotism. It's the very essence of subservience. There's another word for it. Madness. Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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