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Actor Jessica Lange Speaks Out at Anti-War Protest in DC

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Jessica Lange speaks before the crowd of protesters gathered to demonstrate against the war in Iraq in the nation’s capital. [includes rush transcript]

Actor Jessica Lange was among the celebrities who spoke out against the war at Saturday’s demonstration in Washington D.C. She responded to a statement President Bush made last Thursday about the anti-war movement. He said “I recognize their good intentions, however I think their position is wrong. Withdrawing our troops would make our world more dangerous.”

  • Jessica Lange, Actor

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

AMY GOODMAN: Actor Jessica Lange also addressed the crowd. She began by responding to a statement President Bush made last Thursday about the anti-war movement. He said, quote, “I recognize their good intentions; however, I think their position is wrong. Withdrawing our troops would make our world more dangerous.” This is actor, Jessica Lange.

JESSICA LANGE: There have been twice as many terrorist attacks in the three years since 9/11 than in the three years preceding 9/11. All their reasons for waging war on Iraq have been proven to be manipulation of facts, untruths and lies, lies, and more lies. And then he dares accuse us of being guilty of wrong thinking, a man who traffics in deadly lies, the front man for an administration who came into office with the intention of taking out Saddam and becoming an occupying force in Iraq, members of the Project for the New American Century, who promote an ideology of U.S. domination through the use of force, who have imposed their politics of scorch and burn on the American people and made us complicit against our will in their regime of shame.

And who are these men? Who are these men? Let’s talk for a minute about these masters of war, these same men that are sending our sons and our daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers to fight an undeclared and unconstitutional and unwinnable war for them. Let’s talk about their service records. Karl Rove did not serve. Paul Wolfowitz did not serve. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Newt Gingrich did not serve. Jeb Bush did not serve. The list goes on and on. And we know George W. did not really serve.

And yet they expect the ultimate sacrifice from us. More than 1900 American soldiers dead, tens of thousands — a very low estimate — tens of thousand Iraqi deaths, mostly civilian, and in modern warfare, civilian meaning mostly women and children.

They say there is no way to withdraw now. The truth is, they never intend to withdraw. What they planned was a continuing military presence in the Middle East, control over the region, control over the oil. They had their eyes on the prize, the master plan.

And what they want of the American people, to remain in the dark, and to keep the American people unaware of the bloodshed, the torture and the devastation. And that is why there are never any official — why there is not an — there is an official ban, Pentagon ban on photographing the dead or the flag-draped coffins arriving home. They are determined not to repeat the same — as they see, the same policy mistakes that were made during the Vietnam War. Not one military funeral has been attended by George Bush or his cabinet. This disregard for human life only reinforces the knowledge that this man has no heart.

So, I read the names in the paper. That’s all we can do. If you look in your local paper there is the little column that lists the names of the dead, and I say them out loud, and I read the towns where they come from. And I know who they — I know the names, their ages. And Bush continues to say that we must follow through with this mission to give their lives and deaths meaning. Could there be any more terrible cynicism than that? In truth, what we owe the dead is an end to the killing.

So, for all of us Americans, the majority now, who don’t share this administration’s scorched earth brand of politics, who don’t share their vision of a new America and their policies of shame, we must remain vigilant, and we will not be deterred, because what it comes down to is a question of conscience. And that question is deeply patriotic. And we must hold them accountable and make sure words like “peace” and “freedom” and “compassion” retain their original and essential meaning and not become taglines used by them to justify more atrocities, more killings. When I hear his empty words with phrases like “armies of compassion” or “culture of responsibility,” I understand how deep their mendacity runs. They are a lie, and they call us wrong.

But I think we can be comforted because I believe that these monstrous men and the women who condone and support them are finally on their way out. That in their chosen isolation, they are diminished and defeated men, because they do not embody the American spirit or encompass the American heart, and they do not represent the will of the people. So we must remain steadfast in our knowledge that they are wrong and we are right, and we must remain hopeful that for our children and our children’s children, that we are not a warring nation, but we will embrace and practice true compassion and honor the ideals of peace and freedom, and we will not give up. Peace!

AMY GOODMAN: Actor, Jessica Lange, at this weekend’s major march on Washington.

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