As more reports of abuse surface, and more leaks occur, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Bush regime is and has been engaging in a wide range of war crimes and human rights abuses throughout the world. From the mass killing of Afghani and Iraqi civilians and the intentional destruction of entire cities like Faluja to the use of secret CIA-run prisons and widespread use of illegal tactics such as mass arrests, indefinite detention without access to the courts, kidnapping, torture and assassination, the heartless thugs in Washington have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to achieve their unrealistic goals and will not be restrained by the U.S. Constitution or International Law - much less human compassion or morality. Bush has said it himself: "My job is to protect the American people and I will do everything in my power to do just that." My question is: Who will protect the world from us?
I say "us" when referring to the people of this nation because I was born here. I'm a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent and, like many Mexicans residing north of the fictious border, I straddle two cultures. On one hand, I feel fortunate for the fact that I enjoy more freedoms and a better standard of living than my compatriots to the south; on the other hand, I understand quite well how my liberties and the great wealth of America are directly tied to the oppression and poverty of the Third World.
I say "us" because even though it wasn't so long ago that America waged a war of aggression against Mexico and stole more than half of its national territory, and even though I refuse to fully assimilate into white society and struggle daily against racism and the preposterous idea that I'm a foreigner in my own land, I am part of this nation. I mean, I pay taxes and take back what I can in the form of public services, health care, social development, etc. Many of my family members and loved ones also live here and greatly benefit from being American citizens. Some have even joined the military and, as I write, are fighting for this country overseas.
I say "us" because even though I don't take part in the electoral system, and even though I don't know anyone who voted for Bush, like it or not he is the President and his government is running the show. As far as the world is concerned, Bush was "elected" (and "re-elected") by a majority of Americans; he's the leader we "chose." I'm personally ashamed to call this theocratic fascist my "leader" — just as I imagine a person of conscience living in Germany during Hitler's reign would have been ashamed to claim the Fuhrer as his or her leader - but, hey, the truth is the truth, right?
I say "us" because even though I'm firmly against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even though I'm sickened by everything this country is doing in the Mid-East and throughout the world, it's apparent that those affected most by American atrocities rarely distinguish between someone like me and, say, someone like my relatives (who joined the military prior to 9/11 in the hopes of getting money for college but are now taking part in a shameful war). What Arabs and other Muslims see on their television screens or in the streets of Baghdad or Ramadi is American soldiers of all races and ethnicities. They, like many others inside and outside the U.S., suck up the whole melting pot theory and view us as one people.
I say "us" because even though I strongly object to capitalism and neo-liberalism and globalization, and even though it strikes a chord deep in my heart when I see what American corporations and trade policies and structural loans do to poor people in Latin America and Africa and Asia, I don't exactly refuse the benefits that come my way.
I say "us" because I know that statistically-speaking it's not a question of IF but WHEN the enemies of this nation will strike again. Intelligence officials - who have proven not to be so intelligent - have to be able to "connect the dots" 100% of the time in order to prevent another attack, and that's impossible. Numerical odds dictate that one day soon we're going to wake up like we did on September 11, 2001, and we're going to discover that somebody who hates us with a passion has managed to get their hands on a nuclear or biological weapon. Tens-of-thousands of ordinary people - folks like me and you and the old lady next door - will take the brunt of the attack while our so-called leaders - folks like Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld, the true architects of everything that's going on right now - will be safe and secure in some underground bunker.
I say "us" because I'm beginning to realize something: I'm part of this nation, part of this law of supply and demand, part of this constant "need" for more land, more resources, more power and influence. And this isn't just some abstract or theoretical concept. Bush had it right when he arrogantly declared that "people are either with us or against us." In a struggle like this, an unending war with dire consequences for all of humanity, one must choose sides. You can't be a friend of the exploited and oppressed and, at the same time, a friend of the exploiter and oppressor. You can't support or be a part of the war machines and, at the same time, support or be a part of those crushed by that machine.
I say "us" but the more I think about it, and the more death and destruction I see carried out in my name, the more I realize that I don't want to be American if being American means contributing to or being complicit in any form of exploitation or murder.
I say "us" but I should be saying "them" because, from this day forward, I renounce this nation and forever waive any rights or benefits as a U.S. citizen. In fact, I am Mexican and I didn't cross the border; it crossed me. Time can't change that fact - just as it can't change the fact that my people have the memory of an elephant. One day, perhaps when America is most terrorized and vulnerable, we will rise up and take back what is rightfully ours. We will reject this people-eating, soul-crushing system and demand our freedom and dignity - and if they don't give it to us we'll take it! On that day we will say to the American people: "You're either with us or them." And to everyone else we'll say: Join our cause. Help us destroy this evil empire and, afterwards, build a free and just society - not just for Mexicans but everyone.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right on in renouncing his/her stake in the imperialist country. We call it committing class/nation/gender suicide. Rather than giving up class/nation/gender privilege that comes automatically to citizens of Amerika, we call on people to use those privileges to the advantage of the struggle against imperialism.