Amid growing concern that President Donald Trump will further escalate tensions with Iran and start a new war in the Middle East, Rep. Ilhan Omar—an outspoken anti-war Democrat in the U.S. House—shared a historic clip of comedian George Carlin Monday morning that bemoaned the pattern of American militarism in which the United States—often with the help of a conspiring media and pliant public—start or jump into a major war with another country just about every twenty years.
“We like war because we’re good at it! You know why we’re good at it? Cause we get a lot of practice. This country’s only 200 years old and already, we’ve had 10 major wars.” —George Carlin in 1992Carlin recorded the routine—entitled “Rockets and Penises in the Persian Gulf”—as part of an HBO special in 1992 on the heels of the first Gulf War launched by President George H.W. Bush.
Sharing the clip on Twitter, Omar—who on Sunday announced a War Powers Resolution she plans to introduce with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to block Trump from additional attacks on Iran—suggested the topic of Carlin’s routine was once again relevant, but said it remains “no laughing matter.”
“You know my favourite part of that war?” Carlins asks in the routine. “It’s the first war we ever had that was on every channel plus cable… and the war got good ratings too, didn’t it? Got good ratings! Well, we like war! We like war! We’re a war-like people! We like war because we’re good at it! You know why we’re good at it? Cause we get a lot of practice. This country’s only 200 years old and already, we’ve had 10 major wars. We average a major war every 20 years in this country so we’re good at it!”
He goes on to describe that the U.S. government is especially fond of waging war against countries populated by brown people. He explains that bombing people is a good thing to be good at if you don’t have any other national talents.
“Can’t build a decent car, can’t make a TV set or a VCR worth a fuck, got no steel industry left, can’t educate our young people, can’t get health care to our old people, but we can bomb the shit out of your country all right! Huh? Especially if your country is full of brown people—oh we like that don’t we? That’s our hobby! That’s our new job in the world: bombing brown people. Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya, you got some brown people in your country, tell them to watch the fuck out or we’ll goddamn bomb them!”
Carlin, who died in 2008 at the age of 71, is widely heralded as one of the great standup comedians of all-time and was known for his sophisticated social critiques which included irreverent attacks on conventional thinking and cultural norms.
“That’s our hobby! That’s our new job in the world: bombing brown people. Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya, you got some brown people in your country, tell them to watch the fuck out or we’ll goddamn bomb them!”
“Now you probably noticed I don’t feel about that war the way we were told we were supposed to feel about that war, the way we were ordered and instructed by the United States government to feel about that war. You see, I tell ya, my mind doesn’t work that way,” Carlin says in the Gulf War routine.
“I got this real moron thing I do; it’s called ‘thinking,'” he continues. “And I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions. I don’t just roll over when I’m told to. Sad to say, most Americans just roll over on command—not me.”
In order to maintain this position, Carlin explains that he has certain rules that he lives by. “My first rule,” he says, “I don’t believe anything the government tells me… nothing, zero, no.”
That is where the clip that Omar shared online ends, but in the full performance, Carlin goes on to say that he has other rules when it comes to U.S. war-making.
“I don’t take very seriously, the media or the press in this country, who in the case of the Persian Gulf war were nothing more than unpaid employees of the Department of Defense,” he continued, “and who most of the time, most of the time functioned as kind of an unofficial public relations agency for the United States government. So I don’t listen to them, I don’t really believe in my country and I gotta tell you folks, I don’t get all choked up about yellow ribbons and American flags. I consider them to be symbols and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.”
Watch the complete portion of the routine: