A Profile in Courage: Three Memorable Speeches by Cynthia McKinney
October 11, 2002
I hope that we shall crush in its birth, the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. Thomas Jefferson, 1816.
What We Know Now
by Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D=GA)
Georgia (September 14, 2002) Im proud of my work to hold this Administration accountable to the American people. And after Ive asked the tough questions, heres what we now know:
As Rep. McKinney suggests, George W. Bush may not know how to read, but he does understand how to follow a script.
All of this has become public knowledge since I asked the simple question: What did the Bush Administration know and when did it know it?
- That President Bush was warned that terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and crash them into buildings in the US;
- That in the weeks prior to September 11, 24-hour fighter cover was placed over the Presidents ranch in Crawford, Texas;
- That in the weeks prior to September 11, Attorney General Ashcroft stopped flying commercial aircraft and instead flew government aircraft;
- That the US received numerous high-level warnings from a wide range of foreign intelligence services warning of impending hijackings and terrorist attacks;
- That a number of FBI agents were pleading with their superiors to conduct intensive investigations into the suspicious activities of various men in US flight schools;
- That in the days prior to September 11, highly suspicious stock market activity in aviation and insurance stocks took place indicating that certain well-placed people had advance knowledge of the attacks.
- And now this week we learn that the FBI had an informant living with two of the actual 9-1-1 hijackers.
Now against this backdrop of so many unanswered questions, President Bush wants us to pledge our blind support to him. First, for his war on terrorism and now for his war in Iraq.
How can we, in good conscience, prepare to send our young men and women back to Iraq to fight yet another war, when we have tens of thousands of our service men and women poisoned and still suffering from the first war?
And what of those veterans who are sleeping on our streets? Within five minutes of where we are today, you can walk there, and see them, and talk to them Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War veterans, veterans of our wars.
George Bush can count me out of his war-making plans.
Throughout my career, we have proudly brought blacks and whites, Asians, and Latinos together. Im proud that everywhere around me the human rainbow has been represented. And I know that as we continue to speak out on behalf of the poor and the marginalized in this country, my supporters across the spectrum, and across America will be right there with me.
And that as we continue to speak out on behalf of those who are sick and tired of greed being more important than human needs, my supporters will be right there.
And finally, as I ponder the future of America where voices of dissent are snuffed out by selfishness and intolerance, Im reminded of the words of Bobby Kennedy, who we learned yesterday, was considering Martin Luther King, Jr. as his Vice Presidential running mate.
It was Bobby Kennedy who reminded us that:
"The task of leadership, the first task of concerned people, is not to condemn or castigate, or deplore: it is to search out the reason for disillusionment and alienation, the rationale of protest and dissent -- perhaps, indeed, to learn from it. And we may find that we learn most of all from those political and social dissenters whose differences with us are most grave: for among the young, as among adults, the sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country."
The Costs of War against Terrorism Act:
My Dissent to HR 4547
by the Hon. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
Washington (July 22, 2002) The attacks of September 11th, 2001 caused significant changes throughout our society. For our military services, this included increased force protection, greater security, and of course the deployment to and prosecution of the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Sadly, one of the first acts of our President was to waive the high deployment overtime pay of our servicemen and women who are serving on the front lines of our new War. The Navy estimates that the first year costs of this pay would equal about 40 cruise missiles. The total cost of this overtime pay may only equal about 300 cruise missiles, yet this Administration said it would cost too much to pay our young men and women what the Congress and the previous Administration had promised them.
In another ironic twist, the War on Terrorism has the potential to bring the US military into American life as never before. A Northern Command has been created to manage the military's activity within the continental US. Operation Noble Eagle saw combat aircraft patrolling the air above major metropolitan areas
. Moreover, there is a growing concern that the military will be used domestically, within our borders, with intelligence and law enforcement mandates as some now call for a review of the Posse Comitatus Act prohibitions on military activity
In the 1960s
, military intelligence was used for domestic purposes to conduct surveillance on civil rights, social equity, antiwar, and other activists.
In the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Operation Lantern Spike involved military intelligence covertly operating a surveillance operation of the civil rights leader up to the time of his assassination. In a period of two months, recently declassified documents on Operation Lantern Spike indicate that 240 military personnel were assigned in the two months of March and April to conduct surveillance on Dr. King. The documents further reveal that 16,900 person-hours were spent on this assignment.
Dr. King had done nothing more than call for black suffrage, an end to black poverty, and an end to the Vietnam War. Dr. King was the lantern of justice for America: spreading light on issues the Administration should have been addressing. On April 4, 1968, Dr. King's valuable point of light was snuffed out.
A 1967 memo from J. Edgar Hoover to 22 FBI field offices outlined the COINTELPRO program well: "The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize" black activist leaders and organizations.
[W]e later learned that the FBI and other government authorities were conducting black bag operations that included illegally breaking and entering private homes to collect information on individuals. FBI activities included "bad jacketing," or falsely accusing individuals
. And it resulted in the murder of some individuals.... Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed while his pregnant wife slept next to him after a paid informant slipped drugs in his drink.
Amendments to HR 4547, would... increase the military intelligence's ability to conduct electronic and financial investigations... [marking] the first steps towards a return to the abuses of constitutional rights during the Cold War.
When taken into account with the extra-judicial incarceration of thousands of immigration violators, the transfer of prisoners from law enforcement custody to military custody, and the consideration of a volunteer' terrorism tip program, America must stand up and protect itself from the threat not only of terrorism, but of a police state of its own....
Domestic uses of the military have long been prohibited for good reason
. For, if we win the war on terrorism, but create a police state in the process, what have we won?
On US Policy towards Iraq
House International Relations Committee Hearing
by the Hon. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
Washington (September 19, 2002) Mr. Chairman: Once again the world now waits with fear and trepidation regarding the threat of a US attack on Iraq.
The President provides as justification for this impending attack the Iraqi refusal to comply with UN resolutions regarding weapons inspections, the alleged Iraqi threat to its neighbors and the Iraqi government's mistreatment of its own citizens.
The American people are being called upon to send their young sons and daughters to go and kill young Iraqi sons and daughters. This war, like all wars, will be brutal and will leave many American and Iraqi families mourning the loss of their children.
We're not allowed to publicly question the Bush Administration for fear of being called unpatriotic.
Aren't we entitled to really know why we're being urged to go to war? Aren't we entitled to be confident that the Administration is telling the truth?
We know that this Administration has some trouble with telling the truth.
You might recall that the White House had a kind of amnesia a few months ago and didn't tell the truth about September 11 until I asked some pretty straightforward questions. In so doing, it seems I helped them remember that they had in fact received a whole raft of reports warning of terrorist attacks against this country.
And this is the same Administration, which stole the 2000 election in Florida and then lied about it.
There have been so many times I wished our country could use its massive military resources for such noble goals as protecting civilians and enforcing UN Security Council Resolutions. I'd be their greatest supporter
I need only remind you of our country's shameful failure to intervene in Rwanda in 1994 and in so doing we allowed 1,000,000 Rwandan men, women and children to be butchered with axes and machetes in 100 days.
And, yes, we are the same country that abandoned the people of Afghanistan to the Taliban, that abandoned the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the invading Rwandans and the Ugandans, that abandoned the people of East Timor to the invading Indonesians, that abandoned the people of Sierra Leone to the brutal hand-chopping killers of the RUF, that abandoned the people of Chechnya to the brutal Russian Army, that abandoned the people of the Philippines to brutalities of Ferdinand Marcos, that abandoned the people of Chile to monstrous crimes of General Pinochet and so on and so on
[L]ast Sunday, September 15, 2002, the Washington Post's lead story carried the banner headline "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil is the Key Issue." The article then went on to describe how US oil companies were looking forward to taking advantage of the oil bonanza, which would follow Saddam Hussein's removal from office
.. CIA Director James Woolsey, indicated that non-US oil companies who sided with Hussein would most likely be excluded from sharing in Iraq's massive oil reserves.
I find the current Bush fervor and alleged urgent justifications for attacking Iraq startling because I recall reading an article from the London Guardian on December 2, 2001, which had a banner headline "Secret US Plan for Iraq War." The article, almost a year-old now, is interesting be cause it reports that the President had already ordered the CIA and his senior military commanders to draw up detailed plans for a military operation against Iraq.
The operational commander was General Tommy Franks
[and] other key players were, lo and behold, the CIA Director James Woolsey and the Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz. What I found most incredible about the article
was the last sentence, which said:
"The most adventurous ingredient in the anti-Iraqi proposal is the use of US ground troops . . . significant numbers of [US] troops could also be called on in the early stages of any rebellion to guard oil fields around the Shia port of Basra in southern Iraq." Isn't it amazing the London Times didn't refer to US troops guarding the new parliament, or the schools or hospitals full of ravaged civilians, or saving the men, women and children brutalized under years of Hussein's rule.
I wonder why the President hasn't talked about these plans, which were being cooked up nearly a year ago.
I learned this week from the Times of London that Bush Administration plans to spend some $200 million on convincing a skeptical American and world public that the war on Iraq is justified. I didn't realize that telling the truth would be so expensive.
Before we send our young men and women off to war, we need to really make sure that we're not sacrificing them so that rich and powerful men can prosecute a war for oil. I love this country too much to see it abused this way and I implore other Members of Congress to join me in denouncing this war of aggression.
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