The “largest lie,” wrote historian Howard Zinn who died yesterday at age 87, is that “everything the United States does is to be pardoned because we are engaged in a ‘war on terrorism.’”
“This ignores the fact that war is itself terrorism, that the barging into people’s homes and taking away family members and subjecting them to torture, that is terrorism, that invading and bombing other countries does not give us more security but less security.”
In an article published previously in the Long Term View magazine of the Massachusetts School of Law, Zinn said that in the Fallujah area of Iraq, Knight Ridder reporters found there was no Ba’athist or Sunni conspiracy against the U.S., “only people ready to fight because their relatives had been hurt or killed, or they themselves had been humiliated by home searches and road stops.”
Zinn, popularly known as the people’s historian, pointed out that the U.S. may have liberated Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein but afterwards it became Iraq’s occupier. He noted this is the same fate that befell Cuba after the U.S. liberated it from Spain in 1898. In both nations, the U.S. established military bases and U.S. corporations moved in to profit from the upheaval.
“This explains why the government, not really knowing what weapons Saddam Hussein is hiding, will invade and bomb Iraq, to the horror of most of the world, killing thousands of civilians and soldiers and terrorizing the population,” he continued.
The historian pointed out that even if the U.S. experienced few battle casualties in its invasion of Iraq, casualties would mount afterwards in the occupying army from sickness and trauma, which took a high toll both in Viet Nam and after the Gulf War. In the 10 years after the Gulf War, 8,000 veterans died and 200,000 veterans filed complaints about illnesses incurred “from the weapons our government used in the war.”
Zinn called on his readers “to engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.”
The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is a non-profit law school purposefully dedicated to the education of students from minority, immigrant, and low-income households who would otherwise not have the opportunity to obtain a legal education. Zinn’s article in the Long Term View first appeared in The Progressive magazine.
Sherwood Ross formerly worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. Currently, he is a media consultant to Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Sherwoodross10@gmail.com