By Senator Mike Gravel
Between 260,000 and 300,000 people, predominantly civilians, died in the Iraq War for nothing. They died for a war that was based on lies, a meaningless war that destabilized an entire region, and a war that created the power vacuum that ISIL filled. They died in a war that lined the pockets of war criminals like Dick Cheney while being supported by both major parties. Every single one of them died because America wanted to flex its muscles and make a profit, capitalizing on 9/11 to project its power and sate its bloodlust. These people—these human beings—were murdered by and for the American empire, motivated only by blood and treasure. Lives were ruined and lost without cause and without justice.
Around 150,000 people, predominantly civilians, have died in the War in Afghanistan for nothing. They died for a war that still rages, a complete failure in every respect: they died in a war that has gone on for longer than our campaign’s senior staffers have been alive, that has entrenched rather than destroyed the Taliban, and that has decimated generations of Afghani lives. With mercenary companies like Blackwater, employing contractor after contractor to act without culpability or restriction, America has sowed poppy and reaped death. These people—these human beings—were murdered by and for the American empire, motivated only by blood and treasure. Lives were ruined and lost without cause and without justice.
Over 70,000 Americans, all of them civilians, died of a drug overdose in 2017 alone. The War on Drugs arrested over 1,600,000 Americans in this same time frame. Our country accounts for not only one quarter of all drug-related deaths in the world, but also one quarter of all prisoners: and yet we only have 4% of the world’s population. Black people are over 3.5 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana use, despite usage being consistent across ethnicity, and with more prisoners per capita than any other country, our people die because we criminalize and target rather than treat. Entire families, communities, and generations have been decimated in the name of social control. These people—these human beings—were murdered by and for the American empire, motivated only by blood and treasure. Lives were ruined and lost without cause and without justice.
We have the most expensive healthcare in the world, and yet compared to every other developed country and most developing ones, we have the highest infant mortality rates, a declining life expectancy, diabetics dying because they can’t afford their insulin, and 643,000 people going bankrupt every year for medical costs. We are dying and decaying, and all of this while a full 25% of our tax dollars go to a bloated and imperialist military-industrial complex that feeds on our money and lives. Just 5% of our taxes actually go to our troops: 12% goes to military contractors. We spend a trillion dollars on a plane that can’t fly, we have a military budget that’s greater than the next twelve largest spenders’ budgets combined, and yet even our veterans are dying because they can’t get the care they need. These people—these human beings—were murdered by and for the American empire, motivated only by blood and treasure. Lives were ruined and lost without cause and without justice.
It does not matter whether it is the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, or the War on Drugs: we have laid waste to the world, to ourselves, and especially to those we deem as expendable, without a single care for the consequences. Whether in the form of our domestic private prisons or our international private mercenaries, every war that we wage has wreaked unimaginable havoc upon us all. And yet there is little talk of how we are orchestrating the beginnings of a declaration of war right now, on Iran or Venezuela or both: no candidates are standing up to say “no, we will not stand for this, we will not let this go on.” No one is clamoring for full decriminalization and for the end of the War on Drugs. There is no voice for justice for the crimes against humanity we have committed.
Help us be that voice in the debates.
Help us radicalize the candidates and people of the Democratic Party into fighting for what’s right.
End the wars.
End the war crimes.
End the American Empire.
Sen. Gravel is running for president to bring a message of anti-imperialism and direct democracy to the Democratic debates. He is not seeking to contest any primaries, but rather to qualify for the debates, push the field toward sane views on American imperialism and the need for fundamental political reform, and then endorse the most progressive candidate. All campaign staffers are volunteers, and money is only being spent on campaign expenditures (such as airplane tickets and web hosting). All leftover funds will be donated to get clean water for Flint, Michigan.
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