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2012-05-21

Rev. Jesse Jackson at NATO Protests: "People Are Searching for Alternatives to War"

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Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition joined Iraq Veterans Against the War and Afghans for Peace at the head of Sunday’s anti-NATO march in Chicago. "People are here are from around the world, searching for alternatives to war," Rev. Jackson says. "Now [the U.S.] seek[s] to go and to expand a long-term commitment to Afghanistan — $2 billion to $4 billion a week, while we’re laying off transit workers, closing schools and closing hospitals. We can’t afford it. It is a mission not worthy of the investment." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Also at the anti-NATO protests was the Reverend Jesse Jackson of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which is based here in Chicago. I asked him about the significance of the NATO summit and the protests.

REV. JESSE JACKSON: You know, people are here from around the world, searching for alternatives to war. War seems to be expanding. People seem to have accepted NATO as a defensive organization—defense against Soviet expansion into Europe, allowing Europe to restabilize—it has—and to keep the Germans from rearming. So, the Soviet Union is gone. Germany is now an ally. Europe is stable again, in a military—in an economic sense.

But here we are today. We went—we ventured into Iraq—on the wrong target. Three trillion dollars in lives and money lost. What could a trillion dollars do today? What about every state budget deficit? The 750,000 public workers lost could get their jobs back. So the misadventure is very costly.

Now we seek to go and to expand a long-term commitment to Afghanistan—two to four billion dollars a week, when we’re laying off transit workers, closing schools and closing hospitals. We can’t afford it. It is a mission not worthy of the investment.

I hope people who are here today will remain nonviolent in disciplined focus. The media would rather cover a brick than to cover the message. When the nurses say, "healthcare, not warfare," that’s the message. When the veterans say, "When we come home, we should come home to a home" — the veterans deserve a lifetime healthcare, a place to stay, a job and education — that message should not be lost. And if that message is affirmed, I think the American people will embrace that message.

AMY GOODMAN: The Reverend Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition based here in Chicago.

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