26 Apr 2004 Project 21 Press Release: Black Activists Denounce Jesse Jackson for Calling U.S. Military Action in Iraq “Murder” – April 2004
Black activists from Project 21 are criticizing Reverend Jesse Jackson for comments he made earlier this month in which he claimed U.S. military action in Iraq constitutes “murder” and said U.S. troops are committing “a crime against humanity.”
In comments made before and during a speech at the 21st Century Black Massachusetts Conference in Boston on April 3, the Boston Herald reports, Jackson condemned U.S. efforts to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power. He called the U.S. liberation of Iraq “a crime against humanity” and said Iraqi deaths resulting from the actions of U.S. forces are “murder.” He encouraged the United Nations to sanction the U.S. and consider the use of military force: “I’m not sure the U.N. has the power to act against us in a military way, but they have the right to make a moral judgment.” Jackson also called on Congress to determine if President Bush’s war policies are impeachable offenses, but said Congress itself bears no responsibility for the war, despite having voted to authorize it.
These statements produced an outcry from members of the African-American leadership network Project 21:
· Michael King (Atlanta, Georgia)- “Jesse Jackson’s motives have never been as transparent as they were with these statements. If anyone needs to apologize, it’s him. He indulges his fantasies and delusions of grandeur by calling for Bush’s impeachment and calling for United Nations action against us. But blacks are beginning to see the truth – that Jackson’s bluster is exactly that: all smoke and no substance.”
· Geoffrey Moore (Chicago, Illinois) – “This is another partisan shot by Jackson to gain media spotlight by capitalizing on the unfortunate deaths in Iraq. Throughout history, there has not been a more concerted effort to stave off civilian casualties. The real problem is that the insurgents, terrorists and Saddam loyalists do not care about civilians and are more than willing to use them as human shields.”
· Karen Alston (Washington, D.C.) – “I find Reverend Jackson’s comments to be shocking and inciteful. His argument that the ‘United Nations should consider sanctioning the United States for its decision to murder all of these people on faulty information by waging war in Iraq’ is offensive and harmful to the men and women that serve in Iraq. Our nation is at war with an enemy that is sworn to destroy our way of life.”
· Reverend Steve Craft (New Brunswick, New Jersey) – “To whom is Jackson accountable for his personal atrocities with strange women? Who is going to be his judge and jury concerning his immoral judgments? He needs help to get the log out of his own eye before attempting to get the splinter out of the President Bush’s. He is in no position to pass moral judgment on anyone.”
· Bob Parks (Athol, Massachusetts) – “I don’t recall Reverend Jackson going to Iraq and holding a press conference denouncing Saddam for killing the Kurds with those chemical weapons that people on his side say don’t exist. I don’t remember Jackson speaking out against the ‘rape rooms’ Hussein and his cronies used for intimidation as well as personal entertainment. In order for Jackson to be happy, things would have to be as they were before Saddam was removed. Unlike his predecessor, George Bush sent in troops who succeeded in removing Saddam, not lobbing cruise missies that killed more civilians while sparing the tyrant. I don’t remember Jackson criticizing Clinton’s drive-by diplomacy.”
Jackson’s statements were first brought to national attention by the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group that is urging Coca-Cola to stop making six-figure contributions to Jackson’s organizations.
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.