Iraq War Veteran: “Our enemy is not 5,000 miles away, it is right here at home”

by Mike Prysner

Transcribed by The Liberty Voice Transcription Service

…and I tried hard to be proud of my service, but all I could feel was shame. The racism could no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These were people. These were human beings.

I’ve since been plagued by guilt, anytime I see an elderly man, like the one who couldn’t walk, who we rolled onto a stretcher and told the Iraqi police to take him away. I feel guilt anytime I see a mother with her children, like the one who cried hysterically, and screamed that we were worse than Saddam as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt anytime I see a young girl, like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street.

We were told we are fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me, and the real terrorism is this occupation. Racism within the military has long been an important tool to justify the destruction and occupation of another country. It has long been used to justify the killing, subjugation and torture of another people.

Racism is a vital weapon employed by this government. It is a more important weapon than a rifle, a tank a bomber or a battleship. It’s more destructive than an artillery shell, or a bunker buster, or a tomahawk missile.

While those weapons are created and owned by this government, they are harmless without someone willing to use them. Those who send us to war do not have to pull a trigger or fire a mortar round. They do not have to fight the war, they merely have to sell the war. They need a public who is willing to send soldiers into harm’s way. They need soldiers that are wiling to kill and be killed without question. They can spend millions on a single bomb, but that bomb only becomes a weapon when the ranks in the military are willing to follow orders to use it. They can send every last soldier anywhere on earth, but there will only be a war if there are soldiers willing to fight.

And the ruling class — the billionaires who profit from human suffering, care only about expanding their wealth [and] controlling the world economy. Understand that their power lies only in their ability to convince us that war, oppression, and exploitation is in our interests. Understand that their wealth is dependent on their ability to convince the working class to die to control the market of another country.

And convincing us to kill and die is based on their ability to make us think that we are somehow superior. Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen have nothing to gain from this occupation. the vast majority of people living in the us have nothing to gain from this occupation. In fact, not only do we have nothing to gain, but we suffer more because of it. We lose limbs, endure trauma and give our lives. Our families have to watch flag draped coffins lowered into the earth.

Millions in this country without health care, jobs or access to education has watched this government squander over 450 million dollars a day on this occupation.


Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in another country to make the rich richer.

Without racism, soldiers would realize they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires that send us to war.

(standing ovation)

I threw families onto the street in Iraq, only to come home and find families thrown onto the street in this country in this tragic and unnecessary foreclosure crisis. I mean to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land, they are not some people who’s names we don’t know and cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well, and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable. The enemy is CEOs that lay us off from our jobs when it’s profitable. It’s the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable. It’s the banks that take away our homes when it’s profitable.

Our enemy is not 5,000 miles away, it is right here at home.

If we organize and fight with our sisters and brothers we can stop this war, we can stop this government and we can create a better world.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Small

    January 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    This speech reminds me of Gene Debs.

    And that’s a compliment, though Debs’ speech landed him in jail — in 1918.

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