---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 15:15:10 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 15)
"PATRIOT, One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the
whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors. -- Ambrose Bierce,
'The Devil's Dictionary'
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
Stop the war, plead parents of NY victim
'Our country is using our son's memory as justification to cause more
suffering for other sons and parents in other lands'
by Duncan Campbell
Sunday October 14, 2001
Hours after air strikes on Afghanistan began last week, thousands attended a
peace rally in New York. They heard 87-year-old Reuben Schafer, whose
grandson Gregory Rodriguez was killed in the World Trade Centre on 11
September, read a letter from Gregory's parents, Phyllis and Orlando
Rodriguez, to President Bush.
It read: 'Your response to the attack does not make us feel better about our
son's death... It makes us feel our government is using our son's memory as
justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands.'
The Rodriguez family is part of a growing network of relatives opposing the
attacks on Afghanistan. Phyllis Rodriguez, speaking from her Westchester
home, said she had been inspired by her son's 'instinctive internationalism'
to register her protests. When 14 years old Gregory Rodriguez spent a month
studying in Spain and was puzzled to find how much the Spanish hated the
French. When he returned home he told his parents: 'Nationalism stinks.'
Some 17 years after that Spanish trip, the 31-year-old head of computer
security at Cantor Fitzgerald was killed in his office on the 103rd floor of
the World Trade Centre.
'He liked the challenge of the workaday world,' said his mother. He had been
at Cantor Fitzgerald for three years following seven years at Salomon
Brothers, where he had met his wife of a year, Eliza Soudant.
His tastes, in music as in people, were eclectic: from opera and reggae to
Tom Waits and the Beastie Boys. 'He was hungry for life, a very outgoing guy
and he loved new experiences and travel,' said Phyllis Rodriquez.
His travels and his work took him to Cuba and Japan, Guatemala and England,
hiking, scuba diving and exploring. He liked to get off the beaten track and
meet people of different nationalities. Then came 11 September and his
parents, like thousands of others, found themselves searching the hospitals
and waiting for news.
Calls were already being made for the bombing of Afghanistan, and a CBS/ New
York Times poll found that 75 per cent of those interviewed favoured war,
even if it meant the deaths of innocent civilians. The Rodriguez family
decided they had to speak out so that such retaliation was not carried out
in their son's name.
'I feel the American public has to join the international community in a
meaningful way, and stop being an isolationist nation,' said Phyllis
'One way we can do it is by educating ourselves. It's not part of our
national consciousness - the conditions under which people live in Iraq,
Rwanda, Paraguay. That's the first step: to learn about the sufferings and
joys of other people. We have to find out why we are hated in other parts of
The family have made contact with others who have lost members in the
attacks and who feel as they do. In his memorial service speech shortly
after the attacks, the President singled out an unnamed man 'who could have
saved himself' but instead 'stayed until the end at the side of his
quadriplegic friend'. The man was Abe Zelmanowitz, a 54-year-old computer
programmer who worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield in the World Trade Centre.
Matthew Lasar, Zelmanowitz's nephew, said: 'He was a warm and compassionate
person, very principled, with a wonderful droll sense of humour.'
Zelmanowitz had telephoned his family after the first plane struck to
explain that he could not leave his friend, wheelchair-bound Ed Beyea,
behind. 'He called his brother Jack, and said he was not going to come back.
The two of them met their ends in the building.'
A devout Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn, Zelmanowitz was in the garment trade
until it collapsed in the Seventies and studied computer programming so that
he could begin a new career.
Lasar, 46, said his cousin, Saul, and his friends had been searching the
hospitals on 11 September and someone had told a reporter about his uncle's
decision not to abandon his friend. The White House heard of it and it was
decided to include the story in the President's speech.
Lasar said : 'I can't put words into his [Zelmanowitz's] mouth, but I know a
little about Afghanistan and I know it [bombing] would result in a famine of
unbelievable consequences. I don't think people in this country realise we
are so powerful. In terms of my own grief, I don't know how to describe it,
but in the private place I am right now I don't want to see any more
bloodshed. I felt I had an obligation to say that.'
Other relatives have added their voices. Judy Keane, whose husband Richard
was killed, told CNN: 'Bombing Afghanistan is just going to create more
widows, more homeless, fatherless children.' Jill Gartenberg, whose husband
Jim was killed in the attacks, told Fox news: 'We don't win by killing other
As for the pursuit of those who planned the attacks, Phyllis Rodriguez said
she had hoped for 'due process, a fair trial, no shoot-first, bomb-first
policy. It may be painful and slow, but it would be the best testament to my
son and to all of those who died'.
by Sunera Thobani
My recent speech at a women's conference on violence against women has
generated much controversy. In the aftermath of the terrible attacks of
September 11, I argued that the U.S. response of launching 'America's new
war' would increase violence against women. I situated the current crisis
within the continuity of North/South relations, rooted in colonialism and
imperialism. I criticized American foreign policy, as well as President
Bush's racialized construction of the American Nation. Finally, I spoke
of the need for solidarity with Afghan women's organizations as well as
the urgent necessity for the women's movement in Canada to oppose the war.
Decontextualized and distorted media reports of my address have led to
accusations of me being an academic impostor, morally bankrupt and
engaging in hate-mongering. It has been fascinating to observe how my
comments regarding American foreign policy, a record well documented by
numerous sources whose accuracy or credentials cannot be faulted, have
been dubbed 'hate-speech.' To speak about the indisputable record of U.S.
backed coups, death squads, bombings and killings ironically makes me a
'hate-monger.' I was even made the subject of a 'hate-crime' complaint to
the RCMP, alleging that my speech was a 'hate-crime.'
Despite the virulence of these responses, I welcome the public discussion
my speech has generated as an opportunity to further the public debate
about Canada's support of America's new war. When I made the speech, I
believed it was imperative to have this debate before any attacks were
launched on any country. Events have overtaken us with the bombing of
Afghanistan underway and military rule having been declared in Pakistan.
The need for this discussion has now assumed greater urgency as reports of
casualties are making their way into the news. My speech at the women's
conference was aimed at mobilizing the women's movement against this war.
I am now glad for this opportunity to address wider constituencies and in
First, however, a few words about my location: I place my work within the
tradition of radical, politically engaged scholarship. I have always
rejected the politics of academic elitism which insist that academics
should remain above the fray of political activism and use only
disembodied, objectified language and a 'properly' dispassionate
professorial demeanor to establish our intellectual credentials. My work
is grounded in the politics, practices and languages of the various
communities I come from, and the social justice movements to which I am
ON AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
In the aftermath of the terrible September 11th attacks on the World Trade
Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush administration launched "America's War
on Terrorism." Eschewing any role for the United Nations and the need to
abide by international law, the US administration initiated an
international alliance to justify its unilateral military action against
Afghanistan. One of its early coalition partners was the Canadian
government which committed its unequivocal support for whatever forms of
assistance the United States might request. In this circumstance, it is
entirely reasonable that people in Canada examine carefully the record of
American foreign policy.
As I observed in my speech, this record is alarming and does not inspire
confidence. In Chile, the CIA-backed coup against the democratically
elected Allende government led to the deaths of over 30,000 people. In El
Salvador, the U.S. backed regime used death squads to kill about 75,000
people. In Nicaragua, the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war led to the
deaths of over 30,000 people. The initial bombing of Iraq left over
200,000 dead, and the bombings have continued for the last ten years.
UNICEF estimates that over one million Iraqis have died, and that 5,000
more die every month as a result of the U.N. imposed sanctions, enforced
in their harshest form by U.S. power. The list does not stop here.
150,000 were killed and 50,000 disappeared in Guatemala after the 1954
CIA-sponsored coup; over 2 million were killed in Vietnam; and 200,000
before that in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks. Numerous
authoritarian regimes have been backed by the United States including
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the apartheid regime in South Africa, Suharto's
dictatorship in Indonesia, Marcos in the Philippines, and Israel's various
occupations of Lebanon, the Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories.
The U.S. pattern of foreign intervention has been to overthrow leftist
governments and to impose right wing regimes which in turn support U.S.
interests, even if this means training and using death squads and
assassinating leftist politicians and activists. To this end, it has a
record of treating civilians as entirely expendable.
It is in this context that I made my comment that the United States is the
largest and most dangerous global force, unleashing horrific levels of
violence around the world, and that the path of U.S. foreign policy is
soaked in blood. The controversy generated by this comment has
surprisingly not addressed the veracity of this assessment of the U.S.
record. Instead, it has focused on my tone and choice of words
(inflammatory, excessive, inelegant, un-academic, angry, etc.).
Now I have to admit that my use of the words 'horrific violence' and
'soaked in blood' is very deliberate and carefully considered. I do not
use these words lightly. To successive United States administrations the
deaths resulting from its policies have been just so many statistics, just
so much 'collateral damage.' Rendering invisible the humanity of the
peoples targeted for attack is a strategy well used to hide the impact of
colonialist and imperialist interventions. Perhaps there is no more
potent a strategy of dehumanization than to proudly proclaim the accuracy
and efficiency of 'smart' weapons systems, and of surgical and
technological precision, while rendering invisible the suffering bodies of
these peoples as disembodied statistics and mere 'collateral damage.' The
use of embodied language, grounded in the recognition of the actual blood
running through these bodies, is an attempt to humanize these peoples in
profoundly graphic terms. It compels us to recognize the sheer
corporeality of the terrain upon which bombs rain and mass terror is
waged. This language calls on 'us' to recognize that 'they' bleed just
like 'we' do, that 'they' hurt and suffer just like 'us.' We are complicit
in this bloodletting when we support American wars. Witness the power of
this embodiment in the shocked and horrified responses to my voice and my
words, rather than to the actual horror of these events. I will be the
first to admit that it is extremely unnerving to 'see' blood in the place
of abstract, general categories and statistics. Yet this is what we need
to be able to see if we are to understand the terrible human costs of
empire-building. We have all felt the shock and pain of repeatedly
witnessing the searing images of violence unleashed upon those who died in
New York and Washington. The stories we have heard from their loved ones
have made us feel their terrible human loss. Yet where do we witness the
pain of the victims of U.S. aggression? How do we begin to grasp the
extent of their loss? Whose humanity do we choose to recognize and
empathize with, and who becomes just so much 'collateral damage' to us?
Anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements and theorists have long
insisted on placing the bodies and experiences of marginalized others at
the centre of our analysis of the social world. To fail to do so at this
moment in history would be unconscionable. In the aftermath of the
responses to my speech, I am more convinced than ever of the need to
engage in the language and politics of embodied thinking and speaking.
After all, it is the lives, and deaths, of millions of human beings we are
discussing. This is neither a controversial nor a recent demand.
Feminists (such as of Mahasweta Devi, Toni Morrison, Gayatri Spivak and
Patricia Williams) have forcefully drawn our attention to what is actually
done to women's bodies in the course of mapping out racist colonial
relations. Frantz Fanon, one of the foremost theorists of decolonization,
studied and wrote about the role of violence in colonial social
organization and about the psychology of oppression; but he described just
as readily the bloodied, violated black bodies and the "searing bullets"
and "blood-stained knives" which were the order of the day in the colonial
world. Eduardo Galeano entitled one of his books The Open Veins of Latin
America and the post-colonial theorist Achille Mbembe talks of the
"mortification of the flesh," of the "mutilation" and "decapitation" of
oppressed bodies. Aime Cesaire's poetry pulses with the physicality of
blood, pain, fury and rage in his outcry against the domination of African
bodies. Even Karl Marx, recognized as one of the founding fathers of the
modern social sciences, wrote trenchant critiques of capital,
exploitation, and classical political economy; and did not flinch from
naming the economic system he was studying 'vampire capitalism.' In
attempting to draw attention to the violent effects of abstract and
impersonal policies, I claim a proud intellectual pedigree.
INVOKING THE AMERICAN NATION
In my speech I argued that in order to legitimize the imperialist
aggression which the Bush administration is undertaking, the President is
invoking an American nation and people as being vengeful and bloodthirsty.
It is de rigueur in the social sciences to acknowledge that the notion of
a 'nation' or a 'people' is socially constructed. The American nation is
If we consider the language used by Bush and his administration to
mobilize this nation for the war, we encounter the following: launching a
crusade; operation infinite justice; fighting the forces of evil and
darkness; fighting the barbarians; hunting down the evil-doers; draining
the swamps of the Middle East, etc., etc. This language is very familiar
to peoples who have been colonized by Europe. Its use at this moment in
time reveals that it is a fundamentalist and racialized western ideology
which is being mobilized to rally the troops and to build a national and
international consensus in defence of 'civilization.' It suggests that
anyone who hesitates to join in is also 'evil' and 'uncivilized.' In this
vein, I have repeatedly been accused of supporting extremist Islamist
regimes merely for criticizing US foreign policy and western colonialism.
Another tactic to mobilize support for the war has been the manipulation
of public opinion. Polls conducted in the immediate aftermath of the
September 11 attacks were used to repeatedly inform us that the
overwhelming majority of Americans allegedly supported a strong military
retaliation. They did not know against whom, but they purportedly
supported this strategy anyway. In both the use of language and these
polls, we are witnessing what Noam Chomsky has called the "manufacture of
consent." Richard Lowry, editor of the National Review opined, "If we
flatten part of Damascus or Tehran or whatever it takes, this is part of
the solution." President Bush stated, "We will bear no distinction
between those who commit the terrorist attacks and those who harbour
them." Even as the bombing began last weekend, he declared that the war
is "broader" than against just Afghanistan, that other nations have to
decide if they side with his administration or if they are "murderers and
outlaws themselves." We have been asked by most public commentators to
accept the calls for military aggression against "evil-doers" as natural,
understandable and even reasonable, given the attacks on the United
States. I reject this position. It would be just as understandable a
response to re-examine American foreign policy, to address the root causes
of the violent attacks on the United States, and to make a commitment to
abide by international law. In my speech, I urged women to break through
this discourse of 'naturalizing' the military aggression, and recognize it
for what it is, vengeful retribution and an opportunity for a crude
display of American military might. We are entitled to ask: Who will make
the decision regarding which 'nations' are to be labeled as "murderers"
and "outlaws"? Which notions of 'justice' are to be upheld? Will the
Bush administration set the standard, even as it is overtly
institutionalizing racial profiling across the United States?
I make very clear distinctions between people in America and
their government's call for war. Many people in America are seeking to
contest the 'national' consensus being manufactured by speaking out and by
organizing rallies and peace marches in major cities, about which there
has been very little coverage in Canada. Irresponsible media reporting of
my comments which referred to Bush's invocation of the American nation as
a vengeful one deliberately took my words out of this context, repeating
them in one television broadcast after another in a grossly distorted
My choice of language was, again, deliberate. I wanted to bring attention
to Bush's right wing, fundamentalist leanings and to the
neo-colonialist/imperialist practices of his administration. The words
'bloodthirsty' and 'vengeful' are designations most people are quite
comfortable attributing to 'savages' and to the 'uncivilized,' while the
United States is represented as the beacon of democracy and civilization.
The words 'bloodthirsty' and 'vengeful' make us confront the nature of the
ideological justification for this war, as well as its historical roots,
unsettling and discomforting as that might be.
THE POLITICS OF LIBERATING WOMEN
I have been taken to task for stating that there will be no emancipation
for women anywhere until western domination of the planet is ended. In my
speech I pointed to the importance of Afghanistan for its strategic
location near Central Asia's vast resources of oil and natural gas. I
think there is very little argument that the West continues to dominate
and consume a vast share of the world's resources. This is not a
controversial statement. Many prominent intellectuals, journalists and
activists alike, have pointed out that this domination is rooted in the
history of colonialism and rests on the ongoing maintenance of the
North/South divide, and that it will continue to provoke violence and
resistance across the planet. I argued that in the current climate of
escalating militarism, there will be precious little emancipation for
women, either in the countries of the North or the South.
In the specific case of Afghanistan, it was the American administration's
economic and political interests which led to its initial support for, and
arming of, Hekmatyar's Hezb i Islami and its support for Pakistan's
collaboration in, and organization of, the Taliban regime in the
mid-1990s. According to the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, the United
States and Unocal conducted negotiations with the Taliban for an oil
pipeline through Afghanistan for years in the mid-1990s. We have seen the
horrendous consequences this has had for women in Afghanistan. When
Afghan women's groups were calling attention to this U.S. support as a
major factor in the Taliban regime's coming to power, we did not heed
them. We did not recognize that Afghan women's groups were in the front
line resisting the Taliban and its Islamist predecessors, including the
present militias of the Northern Alliance. Instead, we chose to see them
only as 'victims' of 'Islamic culture,' to be pitied and 'saved' by the
West. Time and time again, third world feminists have pointed out to us
the pitfalls of rendering invisible the agency and resistance of women of
the South, and of reducing women's oppression to various third world
'cultures.' Many continue to ignore these insights. Now, the U.S.
administration has thrown its support behind the Northern Alliance, even
as Afghan women's groups oppose the U.S. military attacks on Afghanistan,
and raise serious concerns about the record of the Northern Alliance in
perpetuating human rights abuses and violence against women in the
country. If we listen to the voices of these women, we will very quickly
be disabused of the notion that U.S. military intervention is going to
lead to the emancipation of women in Afghanistan. Even before the
bombings began, hundreds of thousands of Afghan women were compelled to
flee their homes and communities, and to become refugees. The bombings of
Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and other cities in the country will result in
further loss of life, including the lives of women and children. Over
three million Afghan refugees are now on the move in the wake of the U.S.
attacks. How on earth can we justify these bombings in the name of
furthering women's emancipation?
My second point was that imperialism and militarism do not further women's
liberation in westerm countries either. Women have to be brought into
line to support racist imperialist goals and practices, and they have to
live with the men who have been brutalized in the waging of war when these
men come back. Men who kill women and children abroad are hardly likely
to come back cured of the effects of this brutalization. Again, this is
not a very controversial point of view. Women are taught to support
military aggressions, which is then presented as being in their 'national'
interest. These are hardly the conditions in which women's freedoms can be
furthered. As a very small illustration, just witness the very public
vilification I have been subjected to for speaking out in opposition to
I have been asked by my detractors that if I, as a woman, I am so
critical of western domination, why do I live here? It could just as
readily be asked of them that if they are so contemptuous of the
non-western world, why do they so fervently desire the oil, trade, cheap
labour and other resources of that world? Challenges to our presence in
the West have long been answered by people of colour who say, We are here
because you were (are?) there! Migrants find ourselves in multiple
locations for a myriad of reasons, personal, historical and political.
Wherever we reside, however, we claim the right to speak and participate
in public life.
My speech was made to rally the women's movement in Canada to oppose the
war. Journalists and editors across the country have called me idiotic,
foolish, stupid and just plain nutty. While a few journalists and
columnists have attempted balanced coverage of my speech, too many sectors
of the media have resorted to vicious personal attacks. Like others, I
must express a concern that this passes for intelligent commentary in the
The manner in which I have been vilified is difficult to understand,
unless one sees it as a visceral response to an 'ungrateful immigrant' or
an uppity woman of colour who dares to speak out. Vituperation and
ridicule are two of the most common forms of silencing dissent. The
subsequent harassment and intimidation which I have experienced, as have
some of my colleagues, confirms that the suppression of debate is more
important to many supporters of the current frenzied war rhetoric than is
the open discussion of policy and its effects. Fortunately, I have also
received strong messages of support. Day by day the opposition to this
unconscionable war is growing in Canada and all over the world.
I would like to thank all of my family, friends, colleagues and allies who
have supported and encouraged me.
Thobani's orginal speech is available online at
U.S. Bombs Hit Red Cross Warehouses
Tuesday October 16 4:35 PM ET
By KATHY GANNON,
KABUL, Afghanistan (news - web sites) (AP) - U.S. strikes set Red Cross
warehouses afire near Afghanistan's capital Tuesday, sending workers
scrambling to salvage desperately needed relief goods during a bombardment
that could be heard 30 miles away.
To the south, two U.S. special forces gunships entered the air war for the
first time, raking the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar with cannon and heavy
machine gun fire in a pre-dawn raid.
Heavy, round-the-clock attacks and the first use of the lumbering,
low-flying AC-130 gunships signaled U.S. confidence that 10 days of attacks
by cruise missiles and high-flying jets have crippled the air defenses of
the Taliban, the Muslim militia that rules most of Afghanistan.
U.S.-led forces have used more than 2,000 bombs and missiles since opening
the attacks Oct. 7, Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon (news - web sites) news conference.
The past two days' attacks have been especially intense, putting more than
100 warplanes and five cruise missiles into the air, he said.
Tuesday's strikes were mostly against military installations and airports
around Kabul, Kandahar and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, on which the
Afghan opposition claims its forces are closing in.
Afternoon raids in the Kabul area were so strong that the detonations could
be heard 30 miles north of the city, where Taliban forces are battling
Afghan fighters for the opposition northern alliance.
During the afternoon raids, at least one bomb exploded in the compound of
the International Committee of the Red Cross at Khair Khana near Kabul,
injuring one security guard and setting two of the seven buildings on fire.
Afghan staffers ran through thick smoke and flames to try to salvage
blankets, tents and plastic tarps meant to help Afghans through the winter.
The other warehouse, which was also damaged by fire, contained wheat, Red
Cross workers said.
``There are huge needs for the civilian population, and definitely it will
hamper our operations,'' Robert Monin, head of the International Red Cross'
Afghanistan delegation, said in Islamabad, Pakistan.
In Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said U.S. officials were
looking into reports an errant U.S. strike had hit the Red Cross compound.
``I have no confirmation at this time. As we get some more information,
we'll let you know,'' Clarke told reporters.
Earlier, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) raised the
possibility that anti-aircraft fire from the ground could have been
The Taliban, however, are not known to have fired surface-to-air missiles in
Kabul since the first nights of the air campaign, which began Oct. 7.
The damaged Red Cross complex had been clearly marked with two red crosses,
Monin said. Likely targets for airstrikes surrounded it, however: four
Taliban military bases and transport and fuel depots are in the area.
In other developments:
- Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) visited India and key
ally Pakistan. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said his country will
cooperate with U.S.-led military efforts for as long as the operation lasts.
Musharraf and Powell agreed a new Afghan government could include some
moderate members of the Taliban.
- Russia's first aid shipment arrived in Afghanistan's opposition-controlled
north and the U.N. World Food Program said it expects the Uzbek government
to open a vital supply route for aid into Afghanistan.
- Four American C-17 cargo planes dropped 70,000 packets of food over
Afghanistan overnight, bringing the total number or packets containing
barley stew, rice, shortbread cookies and peanut butter delivered to
The damage to the Red Cross buildings was the second incident in which U.S.
jets apparently struck offices of an international agency. Last week, four
Afghans were killed when a missile went astray and hit the offices of a
U.N.-funded mine clearing company.
Taliban officials said 13 people were killed in attacks Tuesday in Kandahar
and two others in Mazar-e-Sharif. In Kabul, residents of the area around the
ICRC compound said Taliban soldiers were no longer sleeping in their
barracks but had moved into mosques to avoid attacks.
A U.S. Defense Department official confirmed the overnight attack on
Kandahar was led by two AC-130s, a propeller-driven transport plane
outfitted with cannon and heavy machine guns. It marked the first
acknowledged use of special forces aircraft during the air campaign.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the gunships targeted
Taliban military barracks and headquarters compounds, and indicated more
AC-130 attacks were likely.
President Bush (news - web sites) ordered airstrikes on Afghanistan after
Taliban leaders repeatedly refused to surrender Osama bin Laden (news - web
sites) - chief suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.
In Islamabad, Powell and Musharraf renewed calls for a broad-based,
multiethnic government to succeed the Taliban regime, which is dominated by
The Taliban are battling a coalition of opposition forces in northern
Afghanistan made up mostly of ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks. Pakistan, which had
been the Taliban's closest ally, opposes allowing the northern alliance to
take power in Kabul because it would not be accepted by Pashtuns.
During a press conference with Powell, Musharraf warned of a ``political
vacuum'' if Kabul falls before a multiethnic administration is ready to take
Aid officials in Islamabad reported some looting at relief operations in
Afghanistan, including cars and computers stolen from offices in Kandahar
``The law and order situation in Kandahar appears to be breaking down,''
U.N. spokesman Stephanie Bunker said.
New Solutions for an Old War
By: William Rivers Pitt 10/16/01
"If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts,
avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the
result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear,
and of promiscuous misery." - Albert Einstein
Turn on the television and find a news station, and you will be greeted
within seconds by a graphic, and by suitably dramatic music, that tells us
we are engaged in America's New War. You will be reminded that we were
attacked out of nowhere by entities that hate our freedom. You will be
counseled to understand that everything has changed.
In his recent prime time press conference, George W. Bush took the long
walk, a la Reagan, down the red-carpeted hallway to the East Room of the
White House and answered about twelve questions. In one response, he
professed amazement at the hatred our new enemies hold for us. We're so
good, he claimed. How could they miss that?
The answer to that question embarrasses all the networks that tell us we
are involved in a 'new' war, and should embarrass a President whose
oft-repeated disdain for reading has left him with little historical
understanding for our current circumstances.
For you see, this is not a new war at all, nor is it a new world, nor has
This is a very old war that has been raging for decades. There are nations,
some of whom are apparently complicit in the 9/11 attacks, who believe that
they have been at war with the United States for twenty years. The
destruction of the Trade Towers and a section of the Pentagon was not a
lightning-strike from a blameless sky. It was a bold tactical stroke by an
enemy that has, for the first time, managed to strike back.
This is not a new world, and nothing has changed. America has been rudely
and horrifyingly awakened to the circumstances of the world around them.
The cushion provided by two oceans, 2,000 nuclear missiles, and a media
establishment that quails from reporting what is actually happening
elsewhere because of our policies, has been ripped from under us.
Welcome to the world, America. This is what life is like for many, many
Now that we are here, at last aware of the war that we have been waging for
a generation, we must analyze our reaction and decide if the course we have
set is just, proper, worthy of the lives of our servicepeople, and above
As it stands today, I am against this war.
I am against this war because it is being fought in exactly the wrong way.
Pursued as it is, we will soon find ourselves facing a united Muslim world
that has a long laundry list of grievances against us to begin with. A
united Pan-Islamic Front is precisely what bin Laden wants, and by strafing
the rubble in Afghanistan, we are skipping gaily into his arms.
The more civilians we kill, the stronger and more sympathetic we make bin
Laden to a poor and enraged Muslim world. Continue to support this bombing
campaign and you are feeding the fires that will burn us all out of house
I am against this war because the millions of Afghan civilians who escape
the bombs can look forward to unknown amounts of time eating grass and
drinking poisoned water in deathtrap refugee camps. We dropped 37,000 meals
on Afghanistan when the bombing started, which leaves, by my math,
6,963,000 people who need to eat.
There is dying, and there is dying. Among those who flee will undoubtedly
be thousands who listen to clerical rhetoric against America and decide, in
their despair, that strapping Semtex to their chests and boarding a plane
is preferable to a squalid death far from home at the hands of an unseen
Better to die on you feet than live on your knees, right? I would bet the
farm that many of those now fleeing our bombs will come to decide the same
thing. Again, we put the barrel of the gun to our own heads.
The head of the largest Islamic group in Pakistan has called for the
overthrow of that government. If Pakistan falls, as it may well do, the
fundamentalists will have nuclear weapons. On that road lies total
annihilation. India, China and Russia will immediately go 'red-alert' if
Pakistan falls. If just one bomb goes off over there, all of our Cold War
night sweats will become a reality.
Besides, who says those Pakistan-based fundamentalists can't cart one of
those bombs over here, should they get their hands on them?
I am against this war because Afghanistan is a convenient target whose
ultimate destruction will do little to win 'The War On Terrorism.' bin
Laden will survive and flee, and the thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists in
places like Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Germany, Ireland, Boston, Chicago,
Cleveland and Los Angeles will be totally unharmed.
Afghanistan is a straw man. Yes, they are repressive. Yes, they treat women
unspeakably. They did so on September 10th, and I heard no one advocate the
limitless bombing of that country on that day or any day before it.
I have heard in several forums the comparison of bin Laden and the Taliban
to Hitler and the Nazis. That is a joke. bin laden has no mechanized army
to roll on Poland or France, nor does he have a Navy to close sea lanes,
nor does he have an air force, nor even a nation. The Taliban are not a
government. They are a gang.
This is a war between two rich power-brokers - Bush and bin Laden - that is
gambling with all of our lives. bin Laden is no Hitler. He is a lunatic who
kills us with weapons and training we provided him.
In that, he is like Saddam Hussein, another lunatic who kills people with
weapons and training we provided him. Also like bin Laden, Hussein was
compared to Hitler by Bush Sr.. The comparison did not, and does not, hold
water. It did, however, manage to get us all whipped up as we are now.
Waving the bloody shirt of Hitler is exactly what Bush wants you to do,
because it obscures clear and critical thinking. Being afraid right now is
understandable, but lashing out with that fear and destabilizing the planet
is stupid and suicidal.
If we continue to lash out, if we continue to bomb the nothing that is
Afghanistan, bin Laden can fulfill his Pan-Islamic dreams. He will unite
the Muslim world against us, and will then have the capability to become
Hitler. He's not there yet, but is helped on his way with such inflammatory
and inaccurate comparisons.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has described this conflict as a 'new Cold War.'
That war lasted from Truman to Bush Sr., and the circumstances we are
currently enduring are a direct result. I refuse to even consider
supporting something that will create a new 45-year war.
The old Cold War gave us nuclear weapons in all corners of the globe,
Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iraq, the Gulf War, the Red
Scare, the Black Lists, McCarthy, Hoover, anthrax weapons, smallpox
weapons, Star Wars, massive ecological destruction, and yes, Osama bin
Laden and the Taliban.
The ultimate fallacy behind the idea that this is a new war lies in the
fact that we are fighting it in a very old-fashioned way. Bombing a
defenseless nation will not stop terrorism. It will not allay the fears of
our populace, who are bombarded daily with reports of anthrax infections.
All the bombing of Afghanistan will do is create new jihad warriors who are
ready to die so as to see you die. In their rage and despair, they will
sign up willingly. Our so-called endless war will become a reality, as we
manufacture droves of the very people we seek to destroy. It will never end.
Let us speak of new solutions for this old war:
1. Immediately recognize a Palestinian State, and pull out all the stops to
broker a peace deal. Beat Arafat and Sharon about the head and shoulders
until they come to an agreement that will stop the unspeakable suffering of
the Palestinian people while ensuring the safety and security of Israel.
Make Jerusalem a UN Protectorate guarded by Swiss troops, or some equally
uninvolved nation. This is no longer an eternally nagging problem. It is
the lynchpin upon which peace or total destruction will turn.
2. Take the billions of dollars we are currently spending to destroy rubble
and mud in Afghanistan and turn it into food, medicine, radios, propaganda,
clothing, seeds. If we can read Mullah Abdul bin Tallal bin Alla bin
Mustafa's watch as he rides his camel through the Kaybher pass with our
satellites, we can feed and clothe these people, because we are clever. Who
says a Marshall Plan has to come after a war? With a concentrated effort,
all the Taliban warriors in Afghanistan won't be able to stop it. They will
3. Continue what had been shaping up to be an excellent diplomatic course.
Cut off terrorist funding. Organize the coalition to marshal every iota of
intelligence ability to tracking, arresting and convicting terrorists in
every corner of the globe. Before we started bombing, we had massive
cooperation. That may evaporate in a cloud of outrage soon, and the
aforementioned safe terrorists will not have the combined might of the
international community looking for them anymore.
4. Stop bombing Afghanistan. Hundreds of civilians have been killed already
by errant munitions. We have already created more terrorists. Stop the
bombing and stop this genesis. We've got Special Forces in Afghanistan
right now lazing 'targets', i.e. mudpiles and rubble. Reconstitute their
mission to search-and-destroy mode. Shoot these Al Qaeda fighters between
the eyes from 1,000 yards out...you know we can do it.
These actions will strip bin Laden and the Taliban of their most potent
weapon - the ability to generate outrage in the Muslim world. If we are not
bombing cities, if we are actively seeking peace between Palestine and
Israel, if we are lobbing tons of food and supplies at Afghan civilians,
nothing bin Laden can say or do will be able to deflect the obvious fact
that America is not being belligerent to yet another Muslim country. His
ranting will make him and his friends more and more isolated, and a
well-fed Afghan populace with the Northern Alliance hot on their heels will
make some good changes.
There are problems which require cures on the home front, as well:
1. Restore Congressional oversight to its full Constitutional stature. Bush
has sworn to limit the flow of data to Congress. This must not stand. Harry
Truman investigated America's conduct of World War II while a Senator, and
Congress investigated several facets of the Vietnam War. Both actions
helped America in its actions. We can not lose this essential aspect of our
government in the rush to battle.
2. The Republican Party must immediately cease its attempts to pass
partisan legislation under the guise of military necessity. The war will
not be helped by tax cuts, nor will it be helped by drilling for oil in the
Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, nor will it be helped by a ceaseless
barrage of denunciations aimed at President Clinton. If this does not
cease, our much ballyhooed unity will fall to dust, and rightly so.
3. Immediately begin Congressional investigations into the spectacular
failures by the FBI, CIA, NSA and the security sections of the national
airlines that allowed this travesty to take place with nary a word of warning.
4. A complete analysis of our international policies over the last fifty
years must be immediately undertaken. We must determine where our own
actions have helped bring this old war to our shores. From our toppling of
the Iranian government, to Palestine, to Lebanon, to the sanctions on Iraq,
our policies have left many large and damaging footprints. Before we can
get to how we will win, we must first undertake to fully understand why it
all happened. Simply being amazed at the hatred of our enemies is not
enough, and does scant justice to the American lives that have been lost.
There is one last truth we all have to face when considering this war:
Absolutely, positively nothing we can say or do will completely end the
threat of terrorism in this country.
It's here, friends. For 225 years we were protected by those two oceans and
2,000 nuclear missiles. Those days are gone. We were protected and isolated
from our policies, our wars, our mistakes and our evils. Not anymore.
We did not deserve the attack we have absorbed, but neither did those whom
we have attacked, or helped others to attack. Nobody deserves it, but it
has done by us and in our name for generations. The Bible says that he who
troubles his own house shall inherit the wind. We have troubled this house
for a long time, and that wind has begun to blow hard and strong.
9/11 was merely an upping of an ante that has been bid upon for years.
Super-terrorism did not come from nowhere. It is a step on the ladder to
hell, a ladder we did much to place.
Finally, the time has come to ask the really hard question:
If we cannot stop terror without becoming a barricaded, isolated,
totalitarian state - a dark choice that is the only sure cure - then what
More bombs far away? More civilian death? More feeding of the cycle that
will surely bring more of the same to our shores and theirs?
Or a long, slow, tortured path towards some kind of redemption?
There is no way to win this old war if we fight it the way we have been for
the past several days. The only way to guarantee victory is to transform
the conflict into a genuine New War, one that looks inward as well as outward.
If we can come up with solutions that do not involve the bombing of
civilians and the creation of new terrorists, we will win. If we can bring
the criminals who attacked us to justice without such tactics, we will win.
If we can foster genuine peace in that tortured region, we will win. If we
can come to understand the desperation and rage that is aimed at us and
change that reality, we will win. If we can maintain democracy in our own
country, we will win.
I'd like to think we can win this new war. To do so, we must discard the
old one, and the old ways in which we fight it.
William Rivers Pitt is a contributing writer for Liberal Slant.
150,000 march in Italy
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
ROME: Some 150,000 marchers walked the 25km from
Assisi to the Italian city of Perugia in a protest
against U.S. air strikes on targets in Afghanistan,
Italian TV reported. The peace march was organised by
several Catholic groups and Italian opponents of
globalisation. Assisi, which has kept much of its
medieval appearance, is a place of pilgrimage
associated with Saint Francis.Centre-left parties
opposing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi supported
the march and leader of the opposition Francesco
Rutelli walked in the procession, although he has
publicly supported military pressure on the Taliban.
CALCUTTA: About 70,000 people staged a peace rally
yesterday in Calcutta in the country's biggest
anti-American protest so far. The demonstration in the
West Bengal capital, organised by the state?s ruling
Left Front coalition government, drew members of
leftist groups and unions as well as intellectuals and
students. The protesters were drenched by rain as they
shouted 'We want peace not war', 'Stop the terrorism
against Afghanistan. 'The protesters marched more than
12km through the city.'
100,000 march in Assisi, Italy
by Annamaria Vitale
October 14, 2001
100,000 people have marched from Perugia to Assisi today against the
Afghanistan war. The Assisi Peace March has been done every year since
40 years, but today it assumes obviously a different meaning. The slogan
is "food, water and work for everyone", the shared idea that this war is
Different groups have participated at the march. Among others, there are
politicians from the institutional Left (the ones from the former left
government, who voted for the war in Afghanistan: they have been
contested by the protesters); boy scouts and also groups from the "anti
global" movement, the ones who were in Genova. Until now, there have
been no incidents: the police is operating only on helicopters and,
consequently, cannot provoke incidents!
Alarm grows over scale of civilian casualties
By Christopher Kremmer, Herald correspondent in Peshawar
One week after United States-led forces began bombarding Afghanistan,
disturbing evidence is emerging of unacceptably high civilian casualties and
ill-defined military and political objectives.
Afghans reaching the Pakistani city of Peshawar 60 kilometres from the
border said the bombing on Friday of Kadam, a small rural community in Surkh
Rud district near the eastern city of Jalalabad, had killed scores, possibly
hundreds, of civilians.
Yesterday, Mohammed Raja, a bearded 35-year-old farmer from near Jalalabad,
lay in the neurosurgery ward of the Hayatabad medical complex recovering
from a shrapnel wound in the neck.
Informed sources in Peshawar have told of many casualties arriving from
Afghanistan for emergency treatment at the city's hospitals.
Authorities deny the claims: a Hayatabad spokesman said only two people had
been treated for war-related injuries, but a ban on doctors speaking to the
media has led to speculation about a cover-up to avoid inciting public
criticism of the Pakistani Government's support for the air strikes.
Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have no such qualms. Yesterday they dropped a
month-long ban on Western journalists reporting from areas they control to
bus in a small party representing global media outlets to show them the
devastation of Kadam.
The hamlet lies 120 kilometres east of Kabul at the base of a mountain range
where Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network used to run training camps for
Islamic militants from around the world. But the camps were evacuated weeks
ago, when it became clear the US was preparing to strike.
"Nearly all the villagers are dead. The wounded, mostly children and
infants, have been taken to hospital in Jalalabad," a correspondent for the
Arabic television station al-Jazeera reported. He quoted unnamed Taliban
officials as claiming that more than 160 bodies had been recovered from the
Western aid workers were at a loss to explain the apparent extent of the
casualties, as houses in the area tend to be widely dispersed. But Afghans
crossing the border said many people from Jalalabad had taken refuge in the
As US-led air strikes continued into yesterday, the military efficacy of
destroying deserted training camps, civilian airports and the Taliban's
minuscule air force was being increasingly questioned by diplomats as well
as ordinary Afghans and Pakistanis.
Afghans who have taken refuge across the border in Pakistan in recent days
say the bombing is rapidly turning civilians in the ethnic Pashtun belt of
southern Afghanistan against the US, and bolstering support for the Taliban.
"When we entered Kabul we saw huge fireballs in areas near the airport.
These bombs are terrorising the civilian population. Since the strikes
began, people are turning against America," said Alozai, a truck driver who
helped deliver UN food aid to Kabul last week.
The lack of truck drivers willing to risk the journey has disrupted the UN's
delivery of 57,000 tonnes of food that must reach Afghanistan before the
onset of winter in about a month if famine is to be avoided. The UN High
Commissioner for Refugees has called for suspension of the bombing to allow
Equally worrying for allied military planners must be signs of the civilian
population in the south rallying around the Taliban in opposition to the
strikes. Unless significant sections of Pashtun opinion can be won over to
the anti-Taliban coalition, the US campaign is unlikely to achieve its aim
of destroying al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors.
As bombs drop, Americans say: 'Not in our name'
Call for peaceful solution grows
By Judith Le Blanc
People's Weekly October 13, 2001 Edition.
NEW YORK CITY - Thousands marched just a few miles from Ground Zero to
call for an end to war and terrorism. They rallied Oct. 7 while workers
continued the grueling job of removing the rubble of the World Trade
Center and the remains of the victims. The march, called by a coalition
of more than 100 organizations, New York Not in Our Name, was held to
honor those who died and to call for " the establishment of a fair and
independent international tribunal to apprehend and try those
responsible for the attack." The thousands of activists heard about the
Bush administration's bombing as they arrived. The crowd, estimated by
The New York Times at 10,000, marched to Times Square, while thousands
of shoppers waved or looked on in curiosity, most not yet aware of the
war being carried on in their name. "The demonstrators seem more
determined. Perhaps it's because bombs and missiles started hitting
Afghanistan earlier today, and after Sept. 11 we in New York feel the
suffering of other victims of mass violence more keenly," commented Bill
Davis, a member of AFSCME District Council 37 Retirees Committee and
leader of the New York Communist Party. The defense of civil liberties
and civil rights was high on the agenda. For those who taunted the
marchers along the route, Ron Daniels, executive director of the Center
for Constitutional Rights, responded, "We must not let the Constitution
be a casualty of the attack on the World Trade Center. No one can dare
question our patriotism, because we are here today defending the first
amendment ..." The marchers were penned in by police barricades during
the rally, but their emotions could not be contained when James Creedon,
a NYC emergency medical technician injured in the collapse of Tower 1,
called for "justice, not vengeance." The city has been focused on
honoring the working class heroes who died Sept. 11 and have since been
carrying on the recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Four members of
Creedon's unit were lost in the WTC collapse. Even now, every day there
are funerals and memorials, held to say goodbye to the over 300
firefighters, EMT's and police who perished. "Every time I have spoken
since Sept. 11, I have called for a moment of silence for rescue workers
and the innocent people who lost their lives," Creedon said. "Today ...
I call not for a moment of silence but a moment of resolve. Let us all
resolve today, here and now, together: We will talk to people in our
community, to anyone who will listen that we will build a movement for
justice, not vengeance; peace not war." The crowd erupted when two Nobel
Peace Laureates, from Argentina and Northern Ireland, arrived. They were
bringing a message to the UN on behalf of other Peace Prize winners,
seeking an international peaceful solution to the conflict. Aldopho
Perez Esquivel, 1980's winner, spoke of solidarity, especially with the
families of the victims. "It's not the people of the world who want this
war," he said. "The only ones who want this war are the military
industrial complex, which is controlling the world ... There are all
kinds of international agreements, conventions, treaties, and pacts that
we can work with. Those should be a guide to our actions, not illegal
acts of vengeance." Mairead Maguire, a 1976 Nobel Prize winner, said,
"In Northern Ireland, we have 30 years of violence and deep political
problems. We were helped into our peace process with the encouragement
of American government that we should solve our problems nonviolently.
What applies for the people of Northern Ireland applies for the American
government. The American and British government did not for one moment,
thank God, contemplate bombing Belfast, why should they bomb
Afghanistan?" Maguire told the World that if the Afghan people have
enough food and places to live and they begin to lead normal lives,
eventually they will no longer provide terrorism a base of support.
"Those who perpetrated these terrible things," Maguire said, "can be
brought to justice through international laws." Amy Goodman, host of
radio program "Democray Now," stirred the crowd by calling on the
corporate media to let the voices for peace be heard. "The media is
saying 90 percent of people are for war. I'd like to see the question
people are asked," Goodman said. "I doubt if they are asked, 'Would you
like to avenge the killing of innocent civilians, as we saw at the WTC,
by killing innocent civilians?' The majority would say no." The economic
needs of working families are closely linked to the fight for peace.
Michael Letwin, president of UAW Local 2325, Association of Legal Aid
Attorneys, marching with the banner of Metro New York Labor Against War,
spoke about the importance of a petition drive to galvanize labor's
voice. "We in labor," he said, want to send a message from Ground Zero,
that "we are against war. We've seen the effects of the acts of
terrorism." Letwin and others drafted the petition, which eight local
presidents and 200 labor activists have now signed onto. "Labor's
participation in this struggle should represent the social consciousness
for society." As the marchers went home to prepare supper for their
families or catch up on the Giants game, they vowed to reach out to
neighbors and co-workers with the rally's message. "We are for a policy
against terrorism," Daniels said. "We believe that at the center of that
policy is to apprehend the people responsible for the acts and bring
them before an appropriate court of international law. Assassination
must not be the policy of the government."
Nationwide Peaceful Demonstrations against US war intervention in Afghanistan
by P Malhotra
New Delhi, October 12: Thousands of people representing the intelligentsia,
youth, students, women leaders and left workers from all hues of life
marched to the American Centre near Connaught Place in the center of the
capital city of Delhi shouting anti war slogans. The people were protesting
and demonstrating against the US War in Afghanistan under the banner of the
Left Parties - CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc. Several NGOs and other
mass organisations also participated in the colourful march. Banners and
placards like "Americans created Bin laden", "No compromise on Indian
Sovereignty", "No to Indian bases for US war against Afghanistan" and of
course the Youth and the students carried banners saying "We want jobs not
The mood of the huge procession was to denounce imperialist war as well as
terrorism. The procession was peaceful but was stopped short of the USIS
Building housing the American Center by the police who were present in large
numbers. Speakers said that not only in the Muslim world but also even in
the developed nations there have been massive protests against the American
intervention in Afghanistan. The world needs peace not war. Terrorism has to
be tackled by strategy but not by escalation of war.
Addressing the massive gathering, Prakash Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member,
strongly condemned the wanton destruction of buildings and the killing of
innocent lives by the US air-strikes. He termed the military action as a
unilateral move bypassing the United Nations and in defiance to the
international law. The US intention was clearly to use the anger of the
world at the terrorist acts of Sept. 11th to strengthen its hegemony. The
arrival of US ground troops in Pakistan is the first instance of its kind in
the sub-continent and has adverse implications for our national security.
Karat termed the Taliban and Osama bin Laden as creation of US foreign
policy and severely criticized the US notification to the UN regarding the
right to militarily intervene in other countries in the future. This move,
he said was meant to assert the global US hegemony and is inimical to the
interests of national sovereignty. This is also against the progressive and
national liberation movements across the world.
He also lambasted the servile attitude of the BJP led central government for
offering military bases and other facilities to the US. Despite the US
turning a blind eye to Pakistan based terrorism in J & K, the Indian
government is under the illusion that the US would somehow help India
against this terrorism. The shameful and craven pro-US policy of the
government is against India's national interest, he said.
While condemning the arrests made by the Delhi police of some student
activists who were distributing pamphlets against the war a few days back,
he charged the BJP for trying to trample democratic rights and fan communal
tensions using the US war as a pretext. Prakash further said " The students
were charged with sedition and in fact if any one was anti national and was
to be charged it was non other then Atal Behari Vajpayee"
Com A B Bardhan, general secretary, CPI, gave a spirited talk on how the
American war was wanton and against any civil behavior. A prolonged conflict
would lead to world economic disaster and should be stopped. Com. Debabrata
Biswas, Forward Bloc and Asit Ganguly, RSP along with com Joginder Sharma of
the Delhi CPI(M) unit were some of the speakers who also addressed the rally
and the reflected the same sentiments against the war, terrorism and the
Indian government's response to the situation. The Left Parties in their
resolve said that they would raise these issues in a big way among the
people in the coming days.
Reports are being received that through out the country demonstration were
held jointly by the Left Parties against the imperialistic United States of
America's war on the people of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's Female Bombing Victims.
AP. 15 October 2001.
JALALABAD -- The doctor knocked sharply on the locked door of the
women's hospital ward. A nurse, her face hidden behind a pale blue veil,
Inside, on an ancient looking steel-framed bed, a young woman hugged her
black and gold shawl and cried softly. She bit nervously on a corner of
the tattered cloth, flinching when the doctor removed it from her head.
Underneath, a bloodstained bandage covered a large swelling.
Tur Bakai, 20, was among some two dozen people in Jalalabad Public
Health Hospital with injuries that Taliban officials say were suffered
Thursday when U.S. jets bombed the village of Karam, west of Jalalabad.
"My children are dead," she said, her voice barely audible.
"I was asleep. I heard the prayers and suddenly it started. I didn't
know what it was. I was so scared."
As her words tumbled out, Dr. Laik Obeidi translated. The Taliban
soldiers who escorted journalists to the hospital were not present. They
were not allowed into the women's ward.
On the bed next to Bakai was Jan Waro. Barely 17 years old, Waro was
married just two months ago. A deep blue chiffon scarf hid her head. Her
hands were covered in the traditional red henna, the mark of a new
Waro had suffered burns over much of her back and arms.
The nurse pulled back the bedcovers and raised her shirt slightly to
reveal the bandages on her back. They were yellowish and smelled rancid.
She didn't want to talk. She fiddled with the red and pink plastic
bangles that covered her wrist.
The doctor pressed.
She remembered hearing the early morning prayers.
"At that time the plane came. First my eyes saw the plane and then I
heard the bombs. I ran away," she said. Waro's mother-in-law was killed
as was her brother-in-law, his wife and children, all of whom shared her
"I screamed. I ran away. I don't remember anything after that," she said
as Obeidi interpreted.
Asked about the campaign and bin Laden, both women said: "I don't know
anything about politics. We don't know anything about that."
US Military Operations Push Millions of Afghan Civilians to Brink of
On World Food Day (October 16) Human Rights Group Releases Fact Sheet on
Food Crisis in Afghanistan
(New York, NY, October 15, 2001) ^The Center for Economic and Social
Rights (CESR), a New York-based human rights organization, today
released a fact sheet that details the extent and causes of famine in
According to Sarah Zaidi, CESR Research Director, "Relief officials on
the ground are warning that millions ^ literally millions ^ of Afghan
civilians will starve to death this winter unless the US military
suspends its attacks and allows the UN to re-establish effective food
distribution. We are talking about women, children and the poorest of
the poor, who have no means to access food in this war zone."
Afghanistan was experiencing a food crisis even before 11 September ^
almost 5 million vulnerable civilians depended on emergency supplies
trucked in from neighboring countries. US military operations have
disrupted this massive international relief effort and created the
conditions for a nation-wide famine.
UN agencies now estimate that 7.5 million Afghans need immediate food
aid in order to survive the harsh winter that begins in one month.
However, large-scale distribution by truck is not possible given the
on-going air strikes and the growing chaos inside the country. Millions
of civilians have fled their homes in search of safety.
High altitude food drops by the US military ^ so widely publicized in
American media ^ have met with strong condemnation from international
relief agencies. They complain that the food drops cover only a tiny
fraction of the needy population and serve mainly "as a propaganda
Human rights and humanitarian law are established on the fundamental
principle that life must be protected at all times, in peace and in war.
All nations, all religious, legal, and ethical traditions, and all
people of conscience agree that innocents must never be punished for the
crimes of the guilty.
"Attacks that result in significant and foreseeable civilian deaths
violate basic principles of international law," says Roger Normand, CESR
Executive Director. "The US government must immediately suspend
military operations, support UN relief efforts, and guarantee that its
actions in Afghanistan do not result in gross violations of the rights
to food and life."
On World Food Day, the Center for Economic and Social Rights calls upon
the US and all other members states of the United Nations to respect the
internationally recognized right to be free from hunger and to allow for
humanitarian operations to resume immediately in Afghanistan.
For more information on the food crisis in Afghanistan, please see the
CESR fact sheets at
200 killed as anti-US rallies in Nigeria turn communal
KANO (NIGERIA)/JACOBABAD/ISLAMABAD, OCTOBER 14: ANTI-American protests
around the world were at their bloodiest in a northern Nigerian city of Kano
where at least 200 people were killed in two days of religious clashes.
Most of the killings took place overnight as rival Muslim and Christian
gangs rampaged in heavily populated districts on the outskirts of Kano town
despite a night curfew and orders to police to shoot protesters on sight.
Residents named the worst hit areas as Zangon, Brigade and Kurana Asabe ^
all Muslim strongholds with large Christian populations, mostly Ibo
merchants from southeastern Nigeria.
''From our records over 200 people were killed in Zangon, in Brigade and in
Kurana Asabe,'' Ibo community leader Boniface Igbokwe told Reuters. ''Those
involved were Ibos mostly and non-Muslims. We are surprised that those who
are supposed to protect us have turned against us.''
Christian community leaders alleged many non-Muslims were killed by ''men in
uniform'' while they enforced a curfew and were under orders to shoot
The protests, which began after Friday prayers, were intended to be
peaceful, but residents said they were hijacked by hoodlums from the army of
In Pakistan, hundreds of protesters were arrested and Jacobabad was sealed
on Sunday after Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leaders vowed to attack the city's air
base. At least one person was killed and 12 were injured in police firing to
disperse thousands of anti-US demonstrators who had evaded a security
cordon. Paramilitary and police fired in the air and used teargas. More than
300 people have been arrested.
''When bodybags are sent to America, they will realise the misery,'' said
Riaz Durrani, a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam spokesman. Jacobabad and Pasni bases
have been given to the US as logistical support.
Britons oppose war: poll evidence contradicts media reports
By David Miller
Opinion polls since the attack in the US on 11 September show that a
slim but consistent majority of British people oppose strikes on
Afghanistan. Yet the media have uniformly reported that there is
consistent support for war. From the News of the World and the Sun, via
the Mirror, the Scotsman, the Economist, the Daily Telegraph and the
Times to the Independent, Guardian and Observer, we hear that public
opinion is 'solid' (Economist, US edition, 22.9.01), that Britons are
'ready for battle' (Observer, 23.9.01), 'NEARLY eight in 10 Britons
support military attacks' (The Mirror) 'SCOTS OVERWHELMINGLY BACK A JUST
WAR' (The Scotsman, 19.9.01) 'TWO-THIRDS OF BRITONS BACK BLAIR ACTION'
(Independent, 24.9.01) '2 in 3 back air strikes' (The Guardian, 18.9.01)
The News of the World (16.9.01) reported 'overwhelming' support for
bombing under the headline 'ATTACK. ATTACK. ATTACK'. The Telegraph
(20.9.01) claimed 'The poll confirmed that there is virtually no support
for peace campaigners'. A Guardian leader (18.9.01) claimed 'there is no
disputing the bottom line. On this one, Tony Blair is definitely
speaking for Britain.'
Is this the same 'hard-left' Guardian which, according to some right
wing commentators was acting as an 'apologist' for terror and was
'henceforth better known as the Daily Terrorist' (Andrew Neil)? Well,
yes it is. But the misreading of public opinion obtains across the
media, including reports by the Press Association (16, 18 and 20.9.01),
reproduced (with minimal changes) in national newspapers.
Between 11 September and 24 September seven public opinion polls were
conducted by MORI, Gallup, ICM and YouGov. They asked similar but
differently worded questions about support for bombing. For example, a
MORI poll for the News of the World (16.9.01) asked 'If the United
States can identify the groups or nations responsible for this week's
attacks, would you support or oppose taking military action against
them?' 75% said they would support this (12% opposed). A smaller number
have supported 'military action' by the US (67% ICM, The Guardian,
18.9.01). These apparently high levels of support have been used by the
media to suggest public backing for Blair and Bush. In practice Western
military action does not reliably discriminate between legitimate
targets and civilians. Moreover polling companies are guilty of
distorting public opinion by asking insufficiently sophisticated
questions. The headlines on public support have masked a strong current
of opinion against military action which would target anyone but the
'terrorists' or in practice harm civilians. Gallup found that 82% of the
British public said military action 'should only be taken after the
identity of the perpetrators was clearly established, even if this
process took several months to accomplish.' Even in the United States,
Gallup found a significant majority (62%) of Americans felt the same.
The degree of clarity in this area remains minimal following the
successive (broken) promises by the US to reveal conclusive evidence.
A significant difficulty in assessing public opinion is that pollsters
may ask questions with little scientific value. A YouGov poll for the
Observer (23.9.01) makes the point well. 65% said they Would 'support
"surgical air strikes" against countries knowingly harbouring terrorist
organisations' with only 22% against. But when the pollsters asked if
there was support for "massive air strikes" a majority (60) were
opposed. The Observer claimed that this showed that Britons were 'ready
for battle', but look again at the wording of the first question. The
term 'Surgical strike' is an oxymoron. Dreamt up by the western forces
in the Gulf in 1991, it was supposed to presage the era of the 'clean
war. Civilians would be protected by 'Smart' weapons technology. But in
fact in the Gulf only 7% of the ordnance used was 'smart', 93% being
indiscriminate bombs. Further, according to official sources, fully 40%
of the smart weapons missed their targets, targets which themselves
often contained civilians such as the bomb shelter in Baghdad
incinerated by US forces (Kellner, 1992: 163). So to ask whether the
public approves of surgical strikes is uncomfortably close to
The reluctance of the public to support the inevitable civilian deaths
is emphasised in the data not printed on the front pages, but available
on media and polling websites. Of the seven polls taken so far five have
asked questions about civilian casualties. With one partial exception,
they have all shown a majority opposed to strikes
Poll support opposed Support for strikes which cause
MORI 43 46 19.9
ICM Scotland 40 45 19.9
Gallup 21 62 20.9
Gallup 47 38 23.9
MORI 45 47 17.9
The second Gallup poll was anomalous in that another question in the
same poll found that fully 82% of British respondents agreed that the US
should take military action 'only against the terrorist organisations
responsible... even if it takes months to clearly identify them.' In
summary there is majority support, (albeit mostly slim) for the position
enunciated by International Development Secretary Clare Short and then
quickly disavowed by No 10.
More widely, public opinion is at odds with media cheerleading. In the
YouGov poll a majority (53%) did not blame Islam, but Islamic terrorism
(90%) for the 'current crisis'. More awkwardly for the government a
majority also blame Israel (a little or a lot - 53%) and the US (62%),
whereas 63% don't blame Britain at all. Fully 70% agreed (a little or a
lot) that 'in the past, the United States has been far too arrogant and
selfish in the way it has treated the world's poorest countries'. None
of these responses has made it into the press.
Opinion in Britain and the US is more complex than is being suggested in
the press, but globally there is no evidence of support for war. As only
the conservative tabloid the Daily Mail (22.9.01) has reported
'International public opinion opposes a massive U.S. military strike to
retaliate for last week's terrorist attacks, according to a Gallup poll
in 31 countries. Only in Israel and the United States did a majority
favour a military response against states shown to harbour terrorists'.
One problem is that the drip-drip of apparent support may make advocates
of peace or those worried about civilian casualities less confident in
expressing their opinions. A second is that broadcast journalists will
also be misled about the real state of public opinion. According to
James Naughtie of BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme 'This is not a
war which is likely to split the country down the middle. It's not like
Suez, Vietnam, or even the Falklands where a substantial section of
public opinion thought the war was wrong... There is a lot of consensus,
I think, about this engagement' (Sunday Herald 23.9.01) Naughtie is
simply wrong about this, but it is the effect of such misjudgements on
how they cover the build-up to war that is most worrying. John Pilger,
Philip Knightly and others have already formed a Media Workers against
the War group
written to the Guardian to complain about the pro war rhetoric of the
mainstream media including television.
But is there not an argument for cautious words in the build up to war?
Strangely, given the assault on the Guardian and Observer, the
Observer's own opinion poll contained an ace which they kept up their
sleeve buried at the end of their report. One question asked whether
'critics of the US should voice their opposition or stay silent over the
next few weeks?'. A massive 70% agreed that criticism of the US should
be voiced. There is a sceptical and critical public out there. Despite
the reporting of polls and the attack on criticism, there is precious
little evidence, so far, that they support this war.
Kellner, D. (1992) The Persian Gulf TV War, Boulder CO: Westview Press.
Opinion poll data websites
Gallup International, 19.9.01
Gallup for the Daily Telegraph, 20.9.01
ICM for The Guardian, 18.9.01:
ICM for The Scotsman, 19.9.01:
MORI for the News of the World, 16.9.01:
MORI for the News of the World, 23.9.01
YouGov for The Observer, 23.9.01:
Stirling Media Research Institute Stirling University Stirling FK9 4LA
Tel ++ 44 1786 467 973 Fax ++ 44 1786 466 855 email
Campuses Split Over Afghanistan
By JODI WILGOREN
October 15, 2001
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 12 - The Eugene V. Debs cooperative house here on
the University of Michigan campus is a house divided.
A flowered sheet hangs over the porch, painted with a huge peace symbol,
the message "No More Dead" and a picture of a bomb with a red line through
it. Inside, the long- haired students who gather nightly over vats of
vegetarian food all want peace.
But some wonder if it is possible without bombs and body bags.
"If we don't drop bombs, there's still no peace," said Beth Nagalski, a
junior, one of 21 students who share the house filled with raggedy couches
and mismatched dishes.
"This doesn't seem right," Jen Dombrowski, a junior from Grand Rapids,
Mich., said of the airstrikes in Afghanistan, "but what else can we do?"
The dissension here, in a left-leaning house on the liberal Michigan
campus, reflects the quandary facing the fledgling antiwar movement that
has been sprouting at colleges and universities across the country since
While there have been scores of fervent rallies on more than 100 campuses,
they have been staged by small bands of committed organizers, veterans of
the labor struggles and affirmative action battles of recent years, and in
many cases have faced strong opposition, even among leftists who previously
sympathized with their causes.
The peace movement students here and around the nation are reluctant even
to use the word "antiwar" has benefited from the wave of student protests
that culminated in the antiglobalization demonstrations in Seattle and
Genoa, Italy, and student sit-ins for higher wages for Harvard's
Many of the new organizers are leaders of those previous campaigns and are
linking the war on terrorism to racism at home and imperialism abroad,
issues that they have been rallying about for years.
"This attracts people who already had some sort of grudge before this,"
said Michael Frazer, a graduate student at Princeton, where the Princeton
Peace Network's chants of "One world, no war" have been matched by the
Princeton Committee Against Terrorism's flag-waving and a cappella
patriotic songs. "There is this love of the 60's on the part of these
activists," Mr. Frazer said.
Even at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where students helped
coordinate a "national day of action" with rallies on Sept. 20, only a few
dozen students participated in a classroom walkout last Monday, the day
after the bombing began.
"This ambivalence is definitely there," said Robert Loevy, a political
science professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs who studies
Still, here in the birthplace of the antiwar teach-in, and at other
prominent colleges, seeds of protest might yet blossom.
In the current climate, many students are shunning slogans and signs in
favor of educational leaflets and teach-ins about nonviolence as a
philosophy and about Islam and Afghanistan. They are focusing on racial
profiling scores of non-Muslim women here have donned head scarves on
Fridays in solidarity with those who have faced discrimination rather than
the more complex questions about United States foreign policy.
"No one can say, 'Make love, not war,' " said Lara Jirmanus, who
participated in the sit-ins before graduating from Harvard last spring, and
who has helped coordinate antiwar activities this fall. "It's not like you
want war and we want peace. Who wants war? What we're saying is that this
isn't going to work, to go and attack more people."
Here at Michigan, advocacy organizations quickly morphed into peace groups.
(Students here, as at Berkeley and Princeton, are teaming up with
left-leaning professors, though far fewer than in the Vietnam era, and
perennial protesters from their communities.)
"Being American does not mean blindly supporting the American government,"
said Fadi Kiblawi, 20, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who went to high school
in St. Louis and is among the peace group leaders. "It means using your
civil rights to say what you think America should be."
Instead of bombing targets in Afghanistan, these students suggest
prosecuting Osama bin Laden and other terrorism suspects through an
international war tribunal. They fault the United States sanctions against
Iraq and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as
Western economic policies throughout the third world, for inciting
Even if few civilians are killed by allied bombs, they say, the action will
create millions more Afghan refugees.
"There are institutions in place that can bring justice in a way that is
not retaliation," said Jackie Bray, 19, a sophomore from Ridgewood, N.J.
"The idea of wiping out every terrorist across the world is very appealing,
but it's not very realistic."
The Michigan Daily -- Tom Hayden, author of the Port Huron statement and
founder of Students for a Democratic Society, was once its editor -- has
been critical of the military campaign, but a divided Michigan Student
Assembly passed a pro- war resolution on Tuesday.
For every co-op house with a peace banner there is a fraternity with a flag
hanging from its window. At each antiwar gathering, a handful of
counterdemonstrators show up with flags and soon swell to a modest crowd.
"Instead of being a conservative organization with these conservative
views, we've all of a sudden become the hub of patriotism on campus," said
Peter Apel, a senior, whose Young Americans for Freedom chapter has been
coordinating the pro-war protests.
Many on the 38,000-student campus are preoccupied with midterm exams, not
military policy. The Diag, the crossroads of the Ann Arbor campus, was
decorated this week with banners advertising Homecoming 2001, National
Coming Out Day, and "All Nations, Campus Ministry."
In the center of the Diag, young men tossed a lacrosse ball, part of a
100-hour fund-raising marathon (they are donating 10 percent of the
proceeds to New York firefighters).
"We stayed out of it, just trying to stay in the middle," said Jason Hall,
a sophomore, referring to the dueling antiwar and pro-war rallies as he
played catch in the rain on Thursday night. "This campus is so active.
Everything's a huge deal around here."
20,000 join anti-war protest
Saturday October 13, 2001
More than 20,000 protesters today joined Britain's biggest protest yet
against military action in Afghanistan by the US and its allies.
The turnout was twice as big as that expected by Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament organisers and four times that predicted by police.
Demonstrators set off from Marble Arch at 1pm today and snaked towards
Trafalgar Square, where the march culminated with speeches from the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Green party.
A one minute silence for victims of the conflict was broken by chants of
"Allah, Akbar" (God is great) from Muslims attending the march.
Afterwards, the CND chairwoman, Carol Naughton, said: "Today has been
incredible. We expected a lot of people, but this just shows that there
really is a big upsurge of people who are opposed to the conflict in Britain.
"CND has said all along that killing innocent civilians is not the way to
eradicate terrorism - we have to do it through the United Nations and
Following the success of today's march, CND is planning an even larger
protest next month.
Today's march was noisy but peaceful, with marchers banging drums, blowing
whistles and chanting "No war!" and "We want peace!"
Protesters carried Socialist Worker party placards bearing messages such as
"Stop this bloody war. Fight US/UK imperialism". Others read: "CND says not
in my name" and "CND says peace and justice for all"
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain had appealed to the Islamic
community to give their full support to the event.
Before the march, the CND vice chairwoman, Kate Hudson, said: "We are
sending a very clear message to Mr Blair and President Bush to say that we
think they should stop the bombing now. They should take this opportunity
to allow starving Afghan people to be fed."
This morning around 1,500 people also gathered in Glasgow for a rally
against the allied military action in Afghanistan. The demonstrators,
including representatives of organisations such as CND and Unison,
assembled in George Square and the protest passed off peacefully.
Among the population as a whole, however, support for military action has
grown since the attacks begin. A Guardian/ICM poll yesterday revealed that
74% gave their backing to the US-led attacks, while almost nine in ten
people believed Tony Blair was handling the crisis either "very well" or
There were other peace protests in other cities throughout Europe and the
rest of the world. In Germany, more than 25,000 protestors from a diverse
range of church and youth groups, as well as trade unions, took to the
streets in cities across the country.
In Berlin, the biggest demonstration drew 15,000 people to the central
square following several marches throughout the city under the banner "No
war - stand up for peace".
In Sweden, the biggest demonstration took place in Gothenburg, where more
than 2,500 people marched through the city in a rally organised by a
coalition of left wing organisations.
Meanwhile, in Australia, thousands of people demonstrated in Sydney,
Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. The rallies had been planned for over a year
as part of International Stop Star Wars Day, intended to protest against
President Bush's missile defence plans. But the event also became a
mouthpiece for people opposed to military retaliation by the United States
Peace Rally In India
14 October 2001
In India, about 70,000 people have staged a peace rally in the East Indian
City of Calcutta, in the country's biggest anti-American protest so far.
The demonstration in the West Bengal capital was organised by the state's
ruling Left Front coalition government, and drew members of leftist groups
There have also been protests by Muslims, who make up about 12 percent of
the country's billion-plus population, against the U.S.-led strikes on
The Indian government was one of the first countries to get behind the
United States' war on terrorism, following last month's suicide air attacks.
Thousands March for Peace in Italy
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 14, 2001
ASSISI, Italy (AP) -- Tens of thousands of people rallied for peace Sunday
during an annual march between the two Umbrian hill towns of Perugia and
This year, participants used the annual 13-mile march to vent their
feelings about the U.S. military strikes on Afghanistan.
The march was noisy but no violence was reported. Politicians from Premier
Silvio Berlusconi center-right coalition did not appear to have
participated, but many from the opposition center-left coalition joined the
The center-left has been split over the airstrikes being carried out in the
wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Some, like former Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli, who was defeated last
spring for the premiership last spring, said the military campaign was
necessary to fight terrorism. Others in the coalition have voiced
reservations or flat-out opposition to the military bombings for fear of
Meanwhile, at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II again appealed for peace.
Speaking to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, John Paul
said: ``Because of the international situation, I invited all people and
all communities to say the Rosary for peace. Today I renew this invitation.''
He urged the bishops holding discussions in Rome this month at his
invitation to be ``builders of justice and peace. For such a peace all the
world is praying in this hour, heavy with grave worries.''
The Vatican has indicated that a ``just war'' could be conducted to try to
stop terrorism but has said innocents should be spared.
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