America is imperialistic, said David Barsamian, a left-wing talk show host and Alternative Radio icon.
“Imperialism is not a term used today unless it is referring to the Romans, but I would contend that you could put the prefix ‘American’ in front of the word imperialism and it would be true,” he said to a crowd of CSU students and community members in Room 100 of the Engineering Building on Tuesday night.
“I believe we are being ruled by warlords in Washington who have launched two major wars and are planning a third one.”
Recent talk of an American invasion of Iran wasn’t the only topic on Barsamian’s radar. The agitator also criticized the Bush administration’s alleged disregard for the nation’s founding document.
“There is an obscure document, and some of you may have heard of it, it’s called the Constitution and in recent years it has been shredded,” he said.
Decked out in a blue T-shirt that read “Stop the War Machine,” Barsamian delivered a fiery speech that lampooned the Bush White House, the Iraq War and “corporate media,” which he called a WMD – “Weapon of Mass Distraction.”
He also criticized media for not calling out the Iraq War as a monumental mistake.
“As long as we have the corporate media you will never see the word ‘America’ before imperialism,” he said. “They might talk about the ‘mistakes’ that this administration has made, but why don’t we have a voice that says, ‘It was immoral to invade Iraq?'”
The Bush administration felt the brunt of Barsamian’s rage.
“I wish I could tell you that we are led by judicious, knowledgeable, and wise leaders,” he said. “I’m sorry that I have to report the opposite.”
He compared the Iraq War to the Vietnam War in the 1960s, accusing the current administration of having the same unwillingness to admit that it was wrong.
“I saw this kind of fanatical mentality in the 60s,” he said. “They are saying the same thing, ‘We don’t cut and run.'”
Barsamian said he is not “anti-American” but simply a dissident, which he called the “highest form of patriotism”.
Paraphrasing Mark Twain, he summed up his views: “I love my country, I love my America all the time.but I will only love this government when it earns it.”
Hallie Stern, wife of campus activist Joe Stern, had heard Barsamian speak before and came away this time with renewed enthusiasm in his message.
“I think what is going on with our country is disgusting and disgraceful,” she said.
“The media is giving us a snow job, there are so many issues that Barsamian mentioned that keep happening over and over again and somehow the media spins it and people forget.”
For sophomore open-option major Brett Sasine, this was his first experience with Barsamian.
“I’ve read Noam Chomsky, and I heard that he had interviewed Chomsky, and Howard Zinn, but I had never heard of him before,” he said. “I agree with him totally, I definitely think that America is an empire.”
Staff writer Kevin Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.