I suppose another moment in history has arrived.
Yesterday, at the Nobel prize ceremonies, the playwright, poet, and now Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter gave an address to the Swedish Academy in Börssalen, Sweden that severely criticized the US and the Bush Administration. It includes some of the most scathing words ever spoken about the US; probably the worst in the history of the country. It burns with the white heat of outrage by a great man. I was particularly struck by this passage:
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.
The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever coöperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity — the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons — is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force — yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.
The rest of the speech (including some equally blistering diatribes) can be found here. Will this be dismissed as merely ravings from another ‘European Elitist’ (I can just hear Bush’s Press Secretary Scott McClellan saying something like that), or will some of this stick? ‘Sickened, shamed and angered’ certainly describes how I feel most of the time by nearly everything the US government has said and done for the past 5 years.