---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 14:35:48 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 18)
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
WHO TERRORIZES WHOM?
By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
One of the marks of exceptional hegemonic power is the ability to
define words and get issues framed in accord with your own political
agenda. This is notorious at this moment in history as regards
"terrorism" and "antiterrorism."
Since the September 11 attacks, two truths have been indisputable
and universally reported. One is that the hijacker bombings of the
World Trade Center and Pentagon were atrocities of a monumental
and spectacular scale (and media coverage of that day's events
alone may have generated more words and graphic images than any
other single event in recent history). A second truth is that the
bombings were willful acts of terrorism, accepting the basic and
widely agreed-upon definition of terrorism as "the use of force or the
threat of force against civilian populations to achieve political
objectives." And let us also recognize that "sponsorship of terrorism"
means organizing, and/or underwriting and providing a "safe harbor"
to state or nonstate agents who terrorize.
But there is a third indisputable truth, although much less
understood, let alone universally reported: namely, that from the
1950s the United States itself has been heavily engaged in
terrorism, and has sponsored, underwritten, and protected other
terrorist states and individual terrorists. In fact, as the greatest and
now sole superpower, the United States has also been the world's
greatest terrorist and sponsor of terror. Right now this country is
supporting a genocidal terrorist operation against Iraq via "sanctions
of mass destruction" and regular bombing attacks to achieve its
political objectives; it is underwriting the army and paramilitary
forces in Colombia, who openly terrorize the civilian population; and
it continues to give virtually unconditional support to an Israeli state
that has been using force to achieve its political objectives for
decades. The United States has terrorized or sponsored terror in
Nicaragua, Brazil, Uruguay, Cuba, Guatemala, Indonesia/East
Timor, Zaire, Angola, South Africa, and elsewhere. And it stands
alone in both using and brandishing the threat to use nuclear
weapons. It has for many years provided a safe harbor to the Cuban
refugee terror network, and it has done the same for a whole string
of terrorists in flight from, among other places, El Salvador, Haiti,
Vietnam, and even Nazi Germany (see Christopher Simpson's
Even in its response to the September 11 terrorist events the United
States resorted instantly to its own terrorism. Ignoring legal niceties--
despite its supposed devotion to the "rule of law"- -the United States
immediately began to threaten to "take out" states harboring
terrorists, threatened the Afghans with bombing--itself an act of
terrorism--and by such threats succeeded in blocking the flow of
food supplies to a starving population, which is yet another act of
terrorism, and a major one. (A spokesman for Oxfam International
stationed in Islamabad recently stated that "Prior to this crisis, the
World Food Program, with the help of Oxfam and other groups, was
feeding 3.7 million [Afghan] people. But with the onset of the
bombing campaign, this has stopped as the aid workers have been
force to withdraw. The airdrops will--at their very best--feed 130,000
people," or only 3.5 percent of those facing winter and starvation).
On October 7 the United States then began to bomb this
impoverished country--not just a further act of terrorism, but the
crime of aggression.
All serious observers recognize that the U.S. actions against
Afghanistan have and will cause many, many more deaths than the
6,000 killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. But U.S.
power and self-righteousness, broadcast and justified to the whole
world by a subservient media machine, assure that what the United
States does will neither be called terrorism, nor aggression, nor elicit
indignation remotely comparable to that expressed over the events
of September 11--however well its actions fit the definitions. The
same bias extends to other Western countries, diminishing in scope
and intensity from Britain to the others, and weakening further in the
Third World. In the Middle East, for most of the population the bias
disappears and U.S. terrorism is called by its right name, although
the U.S.-dependent governments toe their master's line, if
nervously. In these more remote areas the press speaks a different
language, calling the United States a "rogue state par excellence
repeatedly defying international rulings whether by the World Court
or by U.N. resolutions when they have not suited its interests" and a
"bandit sheriff" (The Hindu, India), and speaking of this as an "age of
Euro-American tyranny" with tyrants who are merely "civilized and
advanced terrorists" (Ausaf, Pakistan).
But another sad fact is that in this country, and Britain as well, even
the Left has trouble escaping the hegemonic definitions and frames.
Leftists here regularly discuss the terrorism issue starting from the
premise that the United States is against terrorism and that the issue
is how the U.S. government can best deal with the problem. They
are worried that the United States will go about solving the problem
too aggressively, will seek vengeance, not justice. So they propose
lawful routes, such as resort to the United Nations and International
Court of Justice; and they urge seeking cooperation from the Arab
states to crush terrorists within their own states. They discuss how
bin Laden money routes can be cut off. Some of them even propose
that the United States and its allies intervene not to bomb, but to
build a new society in Afghanistan, engage in "nation-building", as
the popular phrase puts it, in the spirit of the Kosovo "new
While some of these proposals are meritorious, we haven't seen any
that discuss how a "coalition of the willing" might be formed to bring
the United States under control, to force it to stop using and
threatening violence, to compel it and its British ally to cease
terrorizing Iraq, and to make it stop supporting terrorist states like
Colombia, Turkey, Indonesia, and Israel. Or to make U.S. funding of
its terrorist operations more difficult! The hegemon defines the main
part of the agenda--who terrorizes--and the debate is over how he
and his allies should deal with those he identifies as terrorist.
A good illustration of this Left accommodationism is displayed in the
"New Agenda to Combat Terrorism," recently issued by the Institute
for Policy Studies and Interhemispheric Resource Center in their
Foreign Policy in Focus series. Nowhere in this document is it
suggested that the United States is itself a terrorist state, sponsor of
terrorism, or safe harbor of terrorists, although it is acknowledged
that this country has supported "repressive regimes." "Repressive" is
softer and less invidious than "terrorist." The report refers to the
"destructive and counterproductive economic sanctions on Iraq," but
doesn't suggest that this constitutes terrorism. In fact, "destructive"
sounds like buildings knocked down and fails to capture the fact of a
million or more human casualties. The recent publicity given the
U.S.'s deliberate destruction of the Iraqi water supply also suggests
something more than "destructive and counterproductive" is needed
to properly describe U.S. policy toward that country (Thomas Nagy,
"The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally
Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply," The Progressive, September 2001).
Nowhere does the IPS/IRC document mention Colombia, Turkey or
Indonesia, where the United States is currently supporting
This practice of leaning over backwards to downplay the U.S.
terrorist role merges into serious misreadings of ongoing events: for
example, the New Agenda claims that one effect of September 11
was that "defense policy was redefined as defending America and
Americans rather than as force projection." This takes as gospel
official propaganda claims, when in fact September 11 has given the
proponents of force projection just the excuse they need to project
force, which they are doing under the guise of antiterrorism. As John
Pilger notes, "The ultimate goal is not the capture of a fanatic, which
would be no more than a media circus, but the acceleration of
western imperial power" (New Statesman, Oct. 15, 2001). And
discussing the Bush administration's non-negotiable demands on the
Taliban, Delhi University professor Nirmalangshu Mukherji points out
that "it is hard to believe that thousands are going to be killed and
maimed, entire nations devastated, regional conflicts allowed to take
ugly turns, the rest of the world held in fear--all because the dead
body of a single, essentially unworthy person is given such high
value." On the contrary, she proposes, as does Pilger, that "in the
name of fighting global terrorism, the US is basically interested in
using the opportunity to establish [a] permanent military presence in
the area" that is notable for its geo-political importance ("Offers of
Peace," Oct. 16, 2001).
Calling for "reorienting U.S. policy along the lines of respecting
human rights," the New Agenda report states that "the unnecessary
projection of U.S. military abroad, represented by the archipeligo of
overseas military bases, often serves as a physical reminder of U.S.
political and military support for repressive regimes." This claim that
such bases are "unnecessary" completely ignores their ongoing
important role in facilitating the global expansion of U.S. business,
and, amazingly, ignores the fact that the United States is right now
in the process of building new ones in "repressive" states like
Uzbekistan, with 7,000 political prisoners and in the midst of a low-
intensity war against Islamic insurgents ("U.S. Indicates New Military
Partnership With Uzbekistan," Wall Street Journal, Oct. 15, 2001).
Such bases are only "unnecessary" to analysts who are unable or
unwilling to confront the reality of a powerful imperialism in fine
working order and in a new phase of expansion. These analysts
seem to believe that the United States can easily, perhaps with Left
advice, be dissuaded from being an imperialist power!
The reasons for this Left accommodation to what we must call the
Superterrorist's antiterrorist agenda are mainly twofold. One is the
power of hegemonic ideas, so that even leftists are swept along with
the general understanding that the United States is fighting terrorism
and is only a victim of terrorism. Some swallow the New Imperialist
premise that the United States is the proper vehicle for
reconstructing the world, which it should do in a gentler and kinder
fashion. Thus Richard Falk takes this for granted in declaring the
U.S. attack on Afghanistan "the first truly just war since World War
II" (The Nation, Oct. 29, 2001), although claiming that its justice "is
in danger of being negated by the injustice of improper means and
excessive ends." Though writing in the liberal Nation magazine, it
never occurs to Falk that the rightwing Republican regime of Bush
and Cheney, so close to the oil industry and military-industrial
complex, might have an agenda incompatible with a just war. Apart
from this, as the attack was itself a violation of international law, and
was from its start killing civilians by bombs directly and via its
important contribution to the already endemic mass starvation, Falk
makes the war "just" despite the fact that its justice was already
negated at the time he made his claim. (By Falk's logic, an Iraqi
attack on the United States would also be a highly just war, though
its justice might be endangered by dubious means and excessive
ends.) This is imperialist apologetics carried to the limit.
The other reason for leftist accommodation is pragmatic. Thanks to
the effectiveness of the U.S. propaganda system, U.S. citizens by
and large are caught within the epistemic bind of NOT KNOWING
THAT THEY DO NOT KNOW. Thus, leftists understand that people
will have difficulty understanding what they are talking about if they
start their discussions of controlling terrorism with an agenda on how
to control Superterrorist's terrorism. If one wants to be listened to
quickly and possibly influence the course of policy right now--and be
far safer personally and professionally--it is better to take the
conventional view of terrorism as a premise and discuss what the
United States should do about it. Maybe this way one can help curb
On the other hand, by taking it as the starting premise that the
United States is only a victim of terrorism, one loses the opportunity
to educate people to a fundamental truth about terrorism and even
implicitly denies that truth in order to be practical. We find that we
can't do that. After one of us (Herman) authored books entitled The
Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (with Noam
Chomsky) and The Real Terror Network, the latter featuring the
gigantic U.S.-sponsored terror network that emerged in the years
after 1950, and after following U.S. policy for years thereafter in
which terrorism has been very prominent, he (and we) consider the
notion of the United States as an antiterrorist state a sick joke.
We believe it is of the utmost importance to contest the hegemonic
agenda that makes the U.S. and its allies only the victims of terror,
not terrorists and sponsors of terror. This is a matter of establishing
basic truth, but also providing the long- run basis for systemic
change that will help solve the problem of "terrorism," however
defined. Others see things differently, and very good articles have
been written in the pragmatic mode. But we want to call attention to
the fact that there is a cost to using that mode, and those that work
in it should do this understanding what they are taking for granted
and its costs. Given the current trajectory of world events, we
believe that we need a greater focus on ALL the terrorists and
sponsors of terror, and less pragmatism.
Msg to Troops and Youth Feedback, Request for Help
From: "Jeff Paterson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001
Thanks for the overwhelming response to the "Message to Troops..." which
I've been circulating. I've already received responses from a couple
hundred people, ranging from enlisted military to worried parents of
teenagers to "kill'em all Americans" (a few of these are excerpted below).
If you are still waiting for a reply please remind me -- I'm sure there are
a few messages that I have "misplaced".
I need to ask your help in getting this message to even more people in the
military and youth. Select "E-mail this story" (top-right corner) to easily
forward to friends and family.
A Message to Troops, Would-be Troops, and Other Youth
Some activists are taking this statement to military bases and other places
were GI's hang out. And some teachers are using it as a "discussion" piece
for the classroom^
Acrobat PDF version: http://www.oz.net/~vvawai/pdf/jp_statement.pdf
I am currently trying to do as much of the following as possible, but I
need your help to put me in contact with local activists, students, and
others who are trying to setup:
* Classroom presentations, high school and college
* Teach-ins on college campuses
* Radio interviews, including call-in shows and college radio programs
* Press and magazine interviews, including local and college press
* Anti-war events in general where I might be able to contribute
Some asked for more information regarding my refusal to fight in the Gulf
Gulf War Resister Jeff Paterson: Up Against the War Machine (January 2001)
And a very good current article, also from the Revolutionary Worker newspaper^
U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan: Portrait of an Unjust War (October 21, 2001)
Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist, well worth a bookmark^
From VVAW-AI's StormWarning zine: Interview with Gulf War Vet Andrew McGuffin
All around essential information for those in the military, or thinking
about joining up^
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
http://www.objector.org (GI Rights Hotline: 1-800-394-9544)
These are a few of the very interesting replies which I have received thus
far from "the troops":
"I cannot sit here in good conscience and not speak out in some way. I look
at the events of 9/11 not as an attack against the United States, but an
attack against humanity. As such, our bombing campaign and killing of
innocent civilians is another attack on humanity^At this point, I really
don't care about repercussions from my stance. If our Congress succeeds in
passing this "anti-terrorism" legislation and money is cut off from groups,
which have spoken out against the war, then my oath to defend the
Constitution and the act of defending our government are completely at
odds. I know without a doubt the decision I will make given that choice^I
found encouragement in the fact that I encountered a substantial number of
veterans at the Washington, DC peace march on Sept. 29. I also made a quick
statement as an Army officer denouncing the "War on Terrorism" during the
open mike time at the end of the rally, and I had a young soldier come up
to me afterwards and say, "Thank you, !
sir." I found that people overwhelmingly support my participation as a
member of the Armed Forces, even if they do not support further violence
against innocent civilians."
"If I would have been your commander, I would have hung you from the
nearest tree. You are a coward and a disgrace."
"I am most interested in understanding the direct consequences of your
action. I too am a member of the US Navy stationed at XXXX. I am more
opposed to this "New War" than anybody^Right now I have a year and two
months until my EAOS. Among the flags and "United we Stand" bumper stickers
here in at XXXX naval facility, I display a sign that reads, 'War is NOT
"I find your argumentation to be simplistic and opportunistic in your
message to the troops^ Why the Marines didn't shoot you where you sat I
will never know^ So traitor, I expect you will be delivering food to the
enemy directly. One would have thought the Marines would have taught you
"I also feel the way you do and have spent 26 year in service to my country
in the USAF^I've live in all the countries that you've mentioned and a
number of others and have seen firsthand what America has done in the name
of freedom. Most of it has not left the peoples of that nation free or
healthy for that matter."
Thanks to the following for running the piece and helping me get the word out:
Z Magazine Net - http://www.zmag.org/ZNET.htm
AlterNet.org - http://www.alternet.org/wiretapmag/
Revolutionary Worker - http://www.rwor.org/wh-new.htm
Antifa Info Bulletin - http://af.antifa.net/afib/
Independent Media Center - http://indymedia.org/
Black World Today - http://www.tbwt.com/
Citizens Not Spectators - http://citizensnotspectators.org/
Refuse and Resist! - http://www.refuseandresist.org/altindex.html
KPFA 94.1fm, Berkeley CA - http://www.kpfa.org/
Radtimes Anti-war News email@example.com
Photos of me refusing to board a military transport to the Middle East (Aug
Support the Troops that Refuse to Fight!
-Jeff Paterson, CPL USMC (ret.)
Al-Qaida 'will drag US soldiers through the streets'
Thursday October 18, 2001
US soldiers' bodies will be dragged through the streets of Afghanistan if
they are caught, Osama bin Laden's military chief is reported to have
Al-Qaida military's commander, Mohammed Atef, is said to have passed the
warning on to the Islamic Observation Centre in London.
Mr Atef was quoted as saying "America will not realise its miscalculations
until its soldiers are dragged in Afghanistan like they were in Somalia".
In 1993, guerrillas shot down two US helicopters over Mogadishu. They killed
18 soldiers and dragged some of their bodies through the streets.
The Islamic Observation Centre also reported the first death among
al-Qaida's top ranks. It reported that a bomb in Jalalabad killed an
Egyptian militant, known by his nom de guerre, Abu Baseer al-Masri, on
The latest round of attacks on Kabul has reportedly killed eight civilians,
according to the Afghan Islamic Press.
A foreigner, believed to be either British or American, has been arrested in
Afghanistan. No details have been supplied yet.
Medical centre looted
Armed gangs have looted the humanitarian organisation Medecins sans
Frontieres, taking vehicles, equipment and medicine.
The raids took place in the aid group's compounds in Kandahar and the
northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif, and have forced it to close down its
The pillaging was carried out by Taliban militia and foreign groups linked
to al-Qaida, according to Human Rights Watch.
The two offices that were looted supported hospitals and child-nutrition
programmes in six Afghan provinces.
Human Rights Watch claimed that there have been several other attacks on
offices of UN relief agencies, land-mine removal programmes and the Islamic
Relief aid group.
Bush: War May Last Over 2 Years
By Mike Allen
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Oct. 17 -- President Bush, heading to China
on his first overseas trip since Sept. 11, said today that he expects his
war on terrorism to take more than two years and that he is ready to accept
the political consequences if the nation tires of the fight.
"We will not be terrorized. We will not be cowed," Bush told cheering,
flag-waving troops here as the discovery of new anthrax cases sowed fear on
Capitol Hill and in workplaces throughout the nation.
Bush has called repeatedly for patience from Americans as he wages his war
against terrorism on military, diplomatic and financial fronts. But he
added specificity to that forecast during an interview with Asian editors
that was conducted Tuesday and released by the White House today.
"Look, I understand the political consequences of making tough decisions,"
Bush said. "You mark my words: People are going to get tired of the war on
terrorism. And by the way, it may take more than two years. There's a
variety of theaters. So long as anybody's terrorizing established
governments, there needs to be a war."
Addressing the questioner directly, Bush said, "You said one or two years.
I envision something taking longer than that."
Bush had suggested a speedier timetable at his news conference last week
when he said, "It may happen tomorrow; it may happen a month from now; it
may take a year or two. But we will prevail."
White House officials, asked to elaborate on Bush's estimate, left open the
possibility of a military engagement that could stretch beyond two years
and outside Afghanistan, in addition to the continuing effort to attack
terrorists' assets and sources of finances.
Speaking this afternoon to pilots in their flame-retardant flight suits and
support troops in their camouflage battle dress, Bush foreshadowed a
potentially protracted new phase of the military campaign in Afghanistan by
declaring that this month's torrent of airstrikes is "paving the way for
friendly ground troops."
With an extra-long wave from the door of Air Force One, Bush then flew out
for Shanghai, where he is keeping his commitment to meet with other Pacific
Rim leaders at an economic summit that now provides a crucial opportunity
for him to bolster and perhaps expand his coalition against terror.
Bush plans to hold a news conference with Chinese President Jiang Zemin on
Friday, meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and speak to
chief executives on Saturday, then hold his third meeting and news
conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday before returning
to Washington on Monday. The trade and economic issues that are the
backbone of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will be
overshadowed by Bush's efforts to build support for his coalition with
Muslim countries and to burnish relations with Russia and China.
"The main thing that will be on my mind is to continue to rally the world
against terrorists," Bush said, adding that he wanted to remind other
nations that "it could happen to them."
Bush's inner circle debated whether he should go ahead with the six-day
trip, which has been scaled back from a grand tour of Asia to a high-stakes
series of meetings with world leaders at an economic summit. But officials
said the importance of the meetings, and the signal that Bush would send to
terrorists by going ahead with his plans, outweighed any concerns about
whether he could be seen as out of position if a catastrophe struck back home.
"Despite the press of the urgent business that we have in the war against
terrorism, the president feels that this is an extremely important trip and
an extremely important time to take this trip," national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice said.
"The president feels very strongly, as he said to the American people, that
we have to go about the business of doing what makes America strong. And he
believes that one of his most important tasks as president is to work on
strengthening our alliances," she said.
In the interview with Asian editors, Bush criticized North Korean leader
Kim Jong Il for not reciprocating the visit of South Korean President Kim
Dae Jung or scheduling meetings with U.S. representatives. "I must tell you
that I've been disappointed in Kim Jong Il not rising to the occasion,
being so suspicious, so secretive," Bush said.
"North Korea should not in any way, shape or form think that because we
happen to be engaged in Afghanistan we will not be prepared and ready to
fulfill our end of our agreement with the South Korean government," Bush
said. "They should not use this as an opportunity to threaten our close
friend and ally South Korea."
Asked about the outlook for reunification of the Korean Peninsula, the
president said he believes anything is possible. "We'd be willing to help,"
Bush said. "We want to help our friend. If this is what our friend and ally
South Korea thinks is important, we will help."
FBI To Require ISPs To Reconfigure E-mail Systems
by Drew Clark
National Journal's Technology Daily
October 16, 2001
PHOENIX -- The FBI is in the process of finalizing technical
guidelines that would require all Internet service providers (ISPS) to
reconfigure their e-mail systems so they could be more easily
accessible to law enforcers. The move, to be completed over the next
two months, would cause ISPs to act as phone companies do to comply
with a 1994 digital-wiretapping law. "They are in the process of
developing a very detailed set of standards for how to make packet
data" available to the FBI, said Stewart Baker, an attorney at Steptoe
& Johnson who was formerly the chief counsel to the National Security
The proposal is not a part of the anti-terrorism legislation currently
before Congress because the agency is expected to argue that the
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) already
grants it the authority to impose the requirement, Baker said. He
added that some ISPs already meet the requirements.
Baker, who frequently represents Internet companies being asked to
conduct electronic surveillance for the FBI, made the revelation
Tuesday in a panel discussion at the Agenda 2002 conference here on
how the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are likely to affect the technology
industry and civil liberties. He elaborated on the plan in an
Such a stance could result in considerable cost to many ISPs, and it
would constitute a reversal of previous government policy, which held
that ISPs are not subject to CALEA's requirements. But Baker also said
"it has been a long-term goal of the FBI and is not just a reaction to
Mitchell Kapor, chairman of the Open Source Application Foundation and
a founder of Lotus Development, also spoke on the panel. Kapor also
started the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and has been a vocal
advocate of Internet privacy. EFF played a significant role in the
CALEA debate, and divisions over whether to support that law led to a
split of the organization.
"Under the cover of people's outrage [over the terrorist attacks] and
desire for revenge, lots of things that have been defeated before have
been brought back in [to the anti-terrorism legislation] without a
demonstration that the lack of appropriate law is a problem," Kapor
said in an interview. But on the whole, Kapor and Baker shared more
common ground on the acceptability of new electronic surveillance than
they had in the past, with both expressing the view that now is a time
for calm reconsideration of positions rather than butting horns over
the details of how civil liberties would be curtailed by an
"I find myself more in the middle than I used to because my identity
in life is not as a civil liberties advocate," Kapor said. "Part is
being an American and a world citizen." Baker said it was entirely
appropriate for the FBI to conduct far more surveillance.
"What has changed [since Sept. 11] is the view of the technology
community," Baker said. "I used to get calls like, 'How can I beat the
NSA?'" said Baker. "Now, people call and say, 'I have this great idea
that would help NSA,' or, 'I want to go volunteer and do outreach on
behalf of the FBI or NSA.' There is a real change of people's view
about who the bad guys are."
October 17, 2001
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
At 10:15am on September 11, five other professors and I gathered around a
small radio in our department chairman's office to try to figure out what
was going on. Not only had the World Trade Center and the Pentagon been
attacked, but we also heard (falsely, it turns out) that a car bomb had gone
off outside the State Department and another outside the New York University
Medical Center. As I drove home, I had no idea what was in store for us
A week later, I wonder what lay ahead. Although I live quite a distance
from the World Trade Center (which I had never visited in my eight years as
a New Yorker), I am writing this during an afternoon that became free when
what authorities described as a "plausible bomb threat" led to the midday
cancellation of classes at the college where I teach.
That was the work of some deranged kid, no doubt, but authentic dangers to
the United States are now very real.
One of the more frustrating aspects of the crisis so far has been the
maddeningly monolithic news "analysis" of the event. The liberals who
ceaselessly urge us to consider the "root causes" of crime are mysteriously
silent in the wake of these attacks. No "root causes" of terrorism,
apparently. All they and their "conservative" clones can come up with is
that the terrorists must hate "freedom" and "democracy." But as one observer
put it, I don't see anyone flying planes into Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower.
Pat Buchanan was the only person who warned that the barbarism of recent
American foreign policy was bound to lead to a terrorist catastrophe on
American soil. Consider Pat's remarks two and a half years ago:
America is the only nation on Earth to claim a right to intervene militarily
in every region of the world. But this foreign policy is not America's
tradition; it is an aberration. During our first 150 years, we renounced
interventionism and threatened war on any foreign power that dared to
intervene in our hemisphere. Can we, of all people, not understand why
foreigners bitterly resent our intrusions?
With the Cold War over, why invite terrorist attacks on our citizens and
country, ultimately with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons? No nation
threatens us. But with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
America will inevitably be targeted. And the cataclysmic terror weapon is
more likely to come by Ryder truck or container ship than by ICBM. And no
SDI will stop it^.
Battling terrorism must go beyond discovering and disrupting it before it
happens and deterring it with retaliation. We need to remove the motivation
for it by extricating the United States from ethnic, religious and
historical quarrels that are not ours and which we cannot resolve with any
This simple and obvious analysis seems utterly beyond either our rulers or
what we laughingly refer to as our foreign-policy experts.
Following the Persian Gulf War, which many in the Arab world saw as an
outright massacre, a vastly disproportionate response to Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait, Presidents Bush and Clinton enforced sanctions against the civilians
of Iraq that no just-war criterion could possibly justify. Food and
medicine could not enter the country. United Nations estimates have pegged
the number of dead as a result of the sanctions at a mind-boggling 1.4
million, 500,000 of whom were children. This one area where current Vatican
policy on external relations with the world is exactly right; even the
American bishops have got it right. Not coincidentally, it was again
Buchanan practically alone among American political figures who
repeatedly deplored the senseless loss of life, to say nothing of the
increasing alienation of the Arab world, that the sanctions were causing.
Indeed, killing half a million children sure seems like terrorism to much of
the Arab world, and they smell hypocrisy when George W. Bush intimates that
the deliberate targeting of innocents is the exclusive province of Muslim
extremists. The sanctions against Iraq showed us the New World Order with
the benign mask removed, in all its ugliness and cruelty. And you can be
sure the Arab world was listening when Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright casually remarked to 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl, when asked about the
terrible human toll that the sanctions had taken, that "we think the price
is worth it."
Half a million children dead was "worth it." But of course we are to believe
that it is hatred for "freedom" and "democracy" that motivates terror.
Fast forward to 1998, when Bill Clinton was in the middle of the Lewinsky
scandal. In that year, the U.S. military hit a pharmaceutical plant in
Sudan that later turned out to be well, a pharmaceutical plant. No
apology or compensation was forthcoming, of course: the empire of democracy
apologizes to no one. This kind of humiliation breeds resentment, which in
turn provokes retaliation.
Think back to World War I, when the Allies continued their starvation
blockade of Germany for four months after that country had surrendered.
Estimates of the consequences of that policy range from 750,000 to one
million German civilians dead from hunger. Within a generation, as you will
recall, a rather distasteful political party emerged there, whose members,
generally young, remembered having nearly been starved to death as children.
People remember such things.
Nothing could be easier than to distort what I am saying. I am obviously
not suggesting that past U.S. actions somehow justified these unknown
savages in their kamikaze attacks on innocent Americans. What I am saying
is that if the American government has any purpose at all, it is to protect
the American people and keep them out of harm's way. Now we know full well
that there are conflicts around the world that involve bitter enmities. We
must also realize by now that when we insist on involving ourselves in
these, there will be real and possibly devastating consequences. Persistent
meddling will without doubt continue to expose us to the kinds of attacks we
have just witnessed.
A foreign policy that possesses anything of the spirit of Catholicism will
have rational and finite goals, mindful of the limits of what is possible in
this world and well aware of the silliness and ignorance of utopian schemes.
Officials free of the infection of liberalism would understand that the only
rational foreign policy is one whose goal is not global democracy, or an
attempt to "rid the world of evil" (to use the President's phrase
apparently the United States can achieve a goal of which even the angels are
incapable), but to protect our people. And if protecting our people means
minding our own business which, after all, is what every other sane
country does, and what wiser American statesmen have traditionally
counseled then so be it.
It is interesting to contrast the monolithic analysis of what we
congratulate ourselves as our "free press" with that of newspaper
editorialists around the world. Thus in Russia, Vremya had this to say:
"The Americans should review their military doctrine. Now is the time for
them to think about what makes anti-American sentiment so strong in the
world, why the Great Satan is hated so much, and if the late Senator William
Fulbright was right about the 'arrogance of power.'"
Even America's friends are beginning to say the same thing. In South Korea,
the pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun commented: "Given that the U.S. has
been under fire from the international community for its power-based,
arrogant attitude, the Americans need to take this incident as an
opportunity to reflect on whether they have encouraged this desperate and
hostile terrorism." Similar statements are evident even in some European
editorials. (Readers interested in foreign reaction should consult this
Jang, the leading Pakistani daily, hit the nail on the head: "Not a single
media commentary from the United States has hinted at a critical
appreciation of the country's foreign policy. Only one statement is being
repeated, that the terrorism against America will be responded to and the
terrorists will be crushed."
I am all for a monument to the innocents who perished in this barbaric
attack. At the same time, I'd also like to see a monument to the
foreign-policy geniuses who put the American people in all this danger in
the first place. I'm imagining something toilet-shaped.
Still, one can hope that it is not too late for something of value to be
learned in all this. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Colin Powell
seemed to be on the right track when he observed that U.S. sanctions policy
had only served to alienate countless millions of Arabs and showed "a degree
of American hubris and arrogance that may not, at the end of the day, serve
our interests all that well." That was a pretty good start, and indicates at
least an inkling of where the United States needs to go from here.
A massive military campaign, it should go without saying, would 1) lose
world support in relatively short order and 2) inevitably cause enough
civilian deaths to inspire a whole new generation of worse indeed,
catastrophically worse terrorism. They would escalate, then we would
escalate, and the war would go on literally forever. No, a military
campaign cannot be the ultimate answer, unless the Pentagon proposes to kill
all these people. Civilian deaths caused directly or indirectly by U.S.
action are what helped to inspire this wave of fanaticism in the first
place. A prize-winning American historian recently posed the question: "Why
do you suppose that the killing of an Arab mother, or sister, or daughter,
either directly by the United States or through its Israeli proxy, is
something that Arab men will take in stride and just let go, forget about,
and go on to something else new restaurants, maybe, or the latest
Hollywood movies? Do you think they have no sense of honor?"
Again, and obviously, none of this in any way excuses the deliberate
targeting of American civilians. Identifiable perpetrators should certainly
be punished. But it is time for the U.S. to stop trying to build the Tower
of Babel, to realize the price of empire before it is too late.
If these lessons are not learned, I fear that we have discovered how the
seemingly impregnable American empire will someday be toppled. God hates
the proud. Our leaders have attempted the hubristic enterprise of running
the world and not even on Christian principles, but on a combination of
simple greed and Enlightenment philosophy.
That cannot go on forever.
A version of this essay originally appeared in The Remnant, highly
recommended biweekly Catholic newspaper.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. teaches history in New York.
An Alternative to the U.S. Employment of Military Force
By Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights
A number of organizations and people have asked us about alternatives to
the use of military force, the legality of the United States employing
military force and what can and should be done under international law.
Set forth below are some principles that should guide the United States
actions and steps the United States can and should take that are short of
We will not here describe in detail the policy reasons as to why the use
of military force is inadvisable. Others have addressed this issue at
length. Suffice it to say that military force
1) kills civilians
2) has the potential to destabilize countries such as Pakistan
3) widens the divide between the United States and Islamic nations
4) sews the seeds of future terrorism; and
5) will not make us or anyone in the world safer.
We also understand that the proposal set forth below does not address
crimes committed by the United States government and some, therefore,
might see it as one-sided. As lawyers who have spent our professional
lives trying to make the U.S. accountable for its crimes, we will continue
to do so. However, we believe that at this point it is crucial to prevent
a unilateral and disproportionate response by the United States. Reliance
upon the U.N. has the potential to do that; it will also provide a forum
for the trials of those suspected of terrorism and crimes against
humanity. We recognize that our suggestions are not long-term solutions.
Those will only come when the government of the United States and others
recognize that they must change their polices and make a more just world.
Key International Law Principles and an Alternative To the Use of Military
1. The U.N. Charter prohibits the use of force except in matters of
self-defense. Article 2(4) and Article 51.
A country is not permitted to use military force for purposes of
retaliation, vengeance, and punishment. In other words, unless a future
attack on the United States is imminent, it cannot use military force.
This means that even if the United States furnishes evidence as to the
authors of the September 11 attack it cannot use military force against
them. To this extent the congressional resolution authorizing the
President to use force against the perpetrators of the attack on September
11 is a violation of international law. Instead, the U.S. must employ
other means including extradition, and resolutions of the Security
Council, which could eventually authorize the use of force to effectuate
the arrest of suspects.
The United States will argue that the attack on September 11 was an armed
attack on the United States and that it has the right to use self-defense
against that attack. Even though the attack is over, it presumably would
claim that those who initiated the attack were responsible for prior
attacks and are planning such attacks in the future. At the same time,
President Bush has stated that the "war" on terrorism would be lengthy,
implying that it would go on for years.
In order to rely on this self-defense claim the U.S. would need to present
evidence to the Security Council not only as to the perpetrators of the
September 11 attack, but evidence that future attacks are planned and
imminent. They have not yet done so. Even if the U.S. can put forth a
legitimate self-defense claim, it is still to the U.N. Security Council
where they ought to turn. Even in cases of self-defense, and particularly
when there is sufficient time
2. The U.N. Security Council has the authority and the responsibility at
all times "to take any actions as it deems necessary in order to restore
international peace and security." Article 51.
The Security Council can establish an international tribunal to try those
suspected of involvement in the September 11 attacks as it did with regard
to Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia and request the extradition of
suspects. It could apply sanctions to countries that refuse to comply as
it did successfully against Libya
As a policy matter all of these alternatives seem superior to that
currently contemplated by the UN.
In light of these principles these are the actions the
U.S. should immediately undertake:
1. Convene a meeting of the Security Council.
2. Request the establishment of an international tribunal with authority
to seek out, extradite or arrest and try those responsible for the
September 11 attack and those who commit or are conspiring to commit
3. Establish an international military or police force under the control
of U.N. and which can effectuate the arrests of those responsible for the
September 11 attacks and those who commit or are conspiring to commit
future attacks. It is crucial that such force should be under control of
the U.N. and not a mere fig leaf for the United States as was the case in
the war against Iraq.
We are hopeful that the U.N. alternative offers a way out of the violent
course our nation is currently embarked upon. We see little risk in taking
the steps we have outlined. We see great danger in ignoring the process
that provides a path away from violence and toward peace.
No Peace, No justice
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 25, 2001
issue of Workers World newspaper
EDITORIAL: NO PEACE, NO JUSTICE
In the Vietnam War and again at the time of the Gulf War,
different slogans have defined contending currents in the
anti-war movement. That seems to be happening again today.
While the differences are important and perhaps inevitable,
they should not prevent the movement from mobilizing the
broadest mass participation in united struggle against the
For several years at the beginning of the Vietnam War, the
issue was negotiations versus withdrawal. Peace groups that
had until then been focused mainly on the issue of nuclear
arms raised the slogan "Negotiations now," counterpoising it
to a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. As large
coalitions began to form against the war, some of these
groups sought to exclude the demand for withdrawal from the
This struggle within the coalitions was ultimately resolved
in the streets. The demand to "Bring the GIs home" became so
immensely popular, and was so obviously the only way to end
the war, that it became the dominant slogan. Especially as
news began to filter out on how Henry Kissinger and others
used the Paris peace talks to threaten the Vietnamese with
nuclear weapons, the view that the movement here should
support a role for the U.S. government in shaping Viet nam's
future became discredited.
At the time of the Gulf War, the programmatic divide came
over the issue of sanctions. The first demonstrations, which
were organized by the precursor to today's International
Action Center, called for no war against Iraq. Period.
A second coalition formed in December 1991, a month before
the actual bombing started, that called for "Sanctions, not
war." This slogan implied that Iraq had to be punished--by
the U.S., but with UN cover, as it turned out. It also
implied that sanctions are not a form of war.
There are very few today who call themselves part of the
peace movement who would defend the sanctions on Iraq. After
a decade in which five times as many Iraqis have died of
sanctions than died of bombs, that slogan has withered away
as it became obvious to all that sanctions are a vicious and
brutal form of warfare targeting the most vulnerable members
of society--the old, the infants, the sick.
The issue today seems to be whether or not to have
confidence that "justice" for those killed in the Sept. 11
attacks can be had within the context of the existing
The demand for justice is usually coupled with an
exhortation to hunt down and prosecute those responsible for
the terror attacks. In the meantime, without waiting for the
results of any investigation, the U.S. government is
carrying out a monstrous war against Afghanistan that
threatens literally millions of people with death by
starvation and exposure this winter. This death sentence is
being carried out on an innocent population long before the
judicial niceties of evidence, a trial and a verdict.
If the U.S. government were capable of bringing mass
murderers to justice, wouldn't the heads of the tobacco
companies be in jail right now? They knowingly condemned
millions of people in this country to a miserable death from
smoking-related diseases. And what about all the police who
have shot down unarmed people in the oppressed communities
and been set free after departmental review?
Are socially conscious people supposed to suddenly have
confidence that the authorities now investigating terrorism--
organizations like the FBI, the CIA, and local police
departments--can be trusted to dispense justice?
When it comes to activities abroad, the record is even more
dismal. If there is any organization independent enough of
Washington's pressure to bring mass murderers to justice,
then why isn't Chile's Pinochet behind bars? Why is Haiti's
Toto Constant alive and well in Queens, N.Y.? Why is
Indonesia's General Suharto enjoying retirement? Why are
Henry Kissinger, an architect of the Vietnam War, and
Zbigniew Brzezinski, mastermind of the Afghan counter-
revolution, still powers behind the throne in Washington?
The job of the anti-war movement is to stop the war. There
will be no justice while bombs are raining down on
Afghanistan. Justice for the victims of the terrible tragedy
on Sept. 11 will come with a people's victory over the
Terror Bombing of Afghanistan
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 25, 2001
issue of Workers World newspaper
Pentagon Targets Villages, Food Depots, UN & Red Cross
Centers, Creating 1.5 Million Refugees
By Fred Goldstein
As the debate goes on within the inner circles in Washington
over whether to widen the war, the U.S. government is
showing why it is regarded as the primary terrorist power in
the world with its relentless bombing of one of the poorest,
most defenseless countries in the world.
Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Pentagon has sent
over 2,000 bombs and missiles raining down upon Afghanistan,
killing civilians, destroying the infrastructure of the
cities so as to make them unlivable, and creating a million
and a half refugees who have been forced to move away from
shelter, the food supply and medical care. And it is
planning to increase its attacks.
The casualties--innocent civilians who will die, become
malnourished or ill, lose all means of livelihood, and whose
lives will be traumatized and dislocated--will far exceed
the casualties of the horrendous Sept. 11 attacks in the
United States that destroyed thousands of innocent people.
The village of Karam, an hour from the Pakistan border in
eastern Afghanistan, was destroyed by bombs on Oct. 12.
There were reports of 200 people killed.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said such claims were
lies. But CNN camera crews toured the area two days later
and showed the rubble, the bodies, the bomb craters and an
unexploded U.S. bomb in the midst of what remained of the
An Associated Press report carried in the New York Times of
Oct. 14 described the destruction in Karam and the horribly
wounded victims, including many children, who had been taken
to a hospital in Jalalabad. "One villager, Toray," wrote the
Times, "stood by the ruins of his former home, its roof
gone, and clutched a scrap of metal bearing the word 'fin
guided missile' in English."
The day before, the Navy dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on a
residential neighborhood in Kabul, killing four people and
wounding eight. The bomb came from a Navy FA-18 in the
Arabian Sea. Earlier in the week a cruise missile killed
four civilian workers at a United Nations office.
JETS DESTROY RED CROSS FOOD DEPOT
On Oct. 16 Navy F-18 jets dropped 1,000-pound bombs on a Red
Cross storage complex in Kabul full of food and shelter
materials. "The Red Cross," wrote the Times of Oct. 17,
"said each of the five warehouses in its compound was marked
on the roof with a large red cross. The raids occurred about
1 p.m. in daylight, the agency said." The bombing destroyed
about a third of the food supply.
The bombing of the food supply only aggravated the war
crisis in Kabul. A New York Times article on Oct. 16 quoted
Shirjan, an unemployed former government worker: "Most of
the people who live in Kabul now are selling their
belongings to get food. There are no jobs for the people."
This is a brazen repeat of the tactics used against Iraq and
Yugoslavia of terrorizing the civilian population. The
strikes are designed to force capitulation when the air war
against military targets drags on, as it is doing in Afghan
And, just as in the Gulf War, the Pentagon has established
"kill boxes" or areas on the outskirts of Kabul and Kandahar
where U.S. pilots and gunners are authorized to fire on
anything that moves that they think is a military target.
This is how many civilians, including an entire caravan of
refugee farmers, were killed by U.S. pilots during the
The escalation of U.S. military terror is proceeding
rapidly. Washington had earlier said that the bombing would
end after a few days. Instead, it has continued for 12 days,
as of this writing. On the 12th day, 100 fighters and
bombers flew missions attacking 12 areas of the country, the
most intense bombing of any day so far.
In addition, the Pentagon has brought in the AC-130
turboprop slow-flying gunship, which can fire over 2,000
rounds per minute of high-caliber shells and stay on target
with computer-controlled aiming devices. This terror device
can destroy buildings. It was used in Vietnam in a less
WASHINGTON WANTS TO DESTROY STATE
This escalating campaign of massive destruction cannot be
explained simply by a drive to get Osama bin Laden. The fact
that the Taliban have offered to negotiate several times but
have been flatly turned down by the Bush administration
demonstrates that Washington's goals go far beyond that
Whatever else, the Pentagon wants to demonstrate its ability
to destroy a state by military force. It wants to field test
its new generations of destructive firepower on a living
people and put on display for all the oppressed peoples and
governments of the world its terror machine. It is an act of
warning, an act of intimidation, and possibly a prelude to
an expanded war.
To be sure, the Taliban is one of the most reactionary
political regimes in the world. Its brutal oppression of
women is absolute. But the destruction of the Taliban by the
Pentagon is the worst possible outcome of the present
situation. Victory for the U.S. government, a government
that only serves the rich multinational corporations and
protects exploitation, will only strengthen imperialist
domination of the region, to the vast detriment of all the
peoples of Central Asia and the Middle East.
Everything must be done to resist the Pentagon onslaught in
Washington has so far been unable to achieve victory and is
running into significant political complications. It is
unable to cobble together a viable coalition of cutthroats
to be installed by Washington should the Taliban collapse.
It has also come up against the India-Pakistan conflict
because of the abrupt change in diplomacy necessitated by
Sept. 11. Prior to Sept. 11, U.S. diplomacy towards India
was to warm relations in pursuit of economic penetration.
Even more important was the pursuit of India to bring it
into an anti-China political and military bloc. To this end,
sanctions were set aside which had been imposed after
India's nuclear tests and friendly diplomacy had begun to
After Sept. 11, Pakistan was suddenly the key to the war
effort in Central Asia. India was suddenly left out in the
cold. And Secretary of State Colin Powell is trying to keep
the situation from escalating out of control.
All these complications notwithstanding, the overriding
preoccupation in high government circles in Washington is
which way to take the war, and when.
STRUGGLE OVER NEXT PHASE OF WAR
The New York Times of Oct. 12 gave a slight glimpse into the
debate. "A tight-knit group of Pentagon officials and
defense experts outside government is working to mobilize
support for a military operation to oust President Saddam
Hussein of Iraq as the next phase of the war."
"The group," continued the Times, "which some in the State
Department and on Capitol Hill refer to as the 'Wolfowitz
cabal,' after Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz,
is laying the groundwork for a strategy that envisions the
use of ground troops to install an Iraqi opposition group
based in London at the helm of a new government, the
officials and experts said."
The Times continues: "The group has largely excluded the
State Department. On Sept. 19 and 20, the Defense Policy
Board, a prestigious bipartisan board of national security
experts that advises the Pentagon, met for 19 hours to
discuss the ramifications of the attacks of Sept. 11. The
members of the group agreed on the need to turn to Iraq as
soon as the initial phase of the war against Afghanistan and
Mr. Bin Laden is over."
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his deputy Wolfowitz took
part in the meetings.
The 18-member board includes former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger; R. James Woolsey, director of the CIA under
President Clinton; former vice president Dan Quayle; James
Schlesinger, former defense secretary; Harold Brown,
President Jimmy Carter's defense secretary; David Jeremiah,
former deputy chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Richard
Perle, former Reagan administration security adviser; and
"The State Department, including officials who work on Iraq
policy, was not briefed on the two-day meeting," according
to the Times.
To show the extent of the struggle, the Times said that "the
Knight Ridder newspaper group reported today that senior
Pentagon officials authorized Mr. Woolsey to fly to London
last month on a government plane, accompanied by Justice and
Defense Department officials, on a mission to gather
evidence linking Mr. Hussein to the Sept. 11 attacks." The
State Department was unaware of the trip.
This current inside Washington, which is not limited to the
Pentagon, is causing consternation in sections of the ruling
class at home and in the imperialist capitals of Europe.
The Oct. 16 Washington Post carried an article entitled
"Allies Are Cautious on the 'Bush Doctrine.'"
The "Bush Doctrine," as defined by President Bush, consists
of "you are either with us or you are with the terrorists,"
according to the Post. But a corollary to the "doctrine" is
that "the United States will be the unilateral judge of
whether a country is supporting terrorism and will determine
the appropriate methods, including the use of military
force," to impose its will.
'COALITION BUILDING' VS. 'UNILATERALISM'
The current that promotes this so-called "doctrine" is the
current that wants to widen the war. On the other hand, the
current that is more fearful of becoming isolated in an
adventure and being overcome by a mass uprising is promoting
"coalition building"as a form of restraint upon the
Thus the struggle over the course of the war is taking the
form of coalition versus unilateralism. Since the European
imperialists are weak compared to the U.S., and the
reactionary client regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt,
Jordan and so on are even weaker, the fearful wing is sure
that any coalition will act as a restraint upon the more
Richard Perle, a member of the Defense Advisory Board,
expresses the views of those who want to rapidly and
drastically widen the war. "Perle has advocated using
military force against one or two other countries," reports
the Post, "including Iraq, to make a point beyond
Afghanistan. 'Whether it is Saddam Hussein or Assad or the
Lebanese or the Sudanese ... the regimes involved have to be
persuaded that we will use whatever tool is necessary and
that they are truly in jeopardy,' he said. 'The best way to
give that the necessary reality is to do it in a couple of
At the end of the day, concluded Perle, "no American
president can concede that responsibility [to attack] to a
coalition or anybody else."
As against this right-wing view, 28 former U.S. ambassadors
and envoys to the Middle East and South Asia sent a letter
to Bush advocating working with the regimes in the region in
The coalition argument was summed up by Brent Scowcroft,
former Bush national security adviser and one of the
architects of the Gulf War. He wrote in a piece in the
Washington Post of Oct. 16: "We already hear voices
declaring that the United States is too focused on a
multilateral approach. The United States knows what needs to
be done, these voices say, and we should just go ahead and
do it. Coalition partners just tie our hands, and they will
exact a price for their support."
After enumerating all the difficulties of the war now
underway, Scowcroft declares that "success means a
coalition, a broad coalition, a willing and enthusiastic
coalition. That will take unbelievable effort and entails
endless frustrations. But we did it in 1990 and we can do it
again. ... It can help erase the reputation the United
States has been developing of being unilateral and
indifferent, if not arrogant, to others."
In other words, this former general is fearful of the anti-
imperialist explosion that could take place if Washington is
not careful to shore up its support among its imperialist
allies and clients in Central Asia and the Middle East.
Where the Bush administration will come down in this
struggle is an open question. What is important for the
workers, the oppressed, and all the revolutionary and
progressive forces at home and abroad who are fighting
against the war is to escalate their efforts in the
U.S. imperialism is an aggressive military power that had to
exercise restraint during the entire period of the Cold War
because of the existence of the Soviet Union. There are
elements in the ruling class who still feel anger that the
U.S. did not use more massive military force to try to
vanquish the Vietnamese.
There are other elements that are still frustrated that the
U.S. military did not try to occupy Baghdad in 1991. Others
are frustrated that they had to limit their war in
Yugoslavia because of the necessity to come to agreement
with the European imperialists on targeting and other
military matters. Those tendencies and others have all
surfaced since Sept. 11, and are promoting their agendas
within the summits of the government.
The anti-war movement, the workers and the oppressed, all
progressives and revolutionaries must be keenly attuned to
the inherent dangers of a wider war as they open up the
struggle to stop the war in Afghanistan. The movement should
try with all its might to make the most massive possible
showing of anti-war opposition. This is the surest way it
can make a contribution to forestalling a wider war.
US deploys airborne killing machine
BY MICHAEL EVANS, DEFENCE EDITOR
Times of London
THE debut of the American special operations AC130 gunship in Operation
Enduring Freedom points the way to a new phase in the coalition strikes on
Taleban forces. The gunship is one of the most formidable airborne killing
machines available to the US forces operating in Afghanistan.
Although it is slow and operates at a relatively low altitude, the gunship,
based on the Lockheed Hercules transport aircraft, has a deadly array of
weaponry which can devastate an area the size of a football pitch.
First used in the Vietnam War, the turboprop gunship has been modified and
now comes in two forms, the AC130H, known as the Spectre, and the AC130U
Spooky. During the Vietnam War they destroyed more than 10,000 trucks, and
were credited with numerous life-saving close-air support operations.
Since then, they have seen action in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in
1983, Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989, Operation Desert Storm in
Kuwait and Iraq in 1991 and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1994. They
also operated in the Balkans.
At the heart of their arsenal is an M102 105mm cannon which, in the Spooky
version, can fire six to ten rounds a minute. The AC130U Spooky also has a
25mm Gatling gun which can fire 1,800 rounds a minute.
Paul Jackson, the editor of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, said the
gunship was able to direct a withering amount of fire on a single target by
flying in a circle, its weapons firing as the aircraft banks, normally at
an altitude of about 2,000ft or more.
The Spectre version has two 20mm Vulcan cannons, one 40mm Bofors cannon and
one 105mm cannon. The Spooky has a 25mm Gatling gun, one 40mm Bofors
cannon, which can fire 200 shots a minute, and one 105mm cannon. Each has a
crew of about 14.
The Spectre cost about 30 million each and there are eight left in
service. There are 13 of the newer Spooky, each costing about 48 million,
assigned to the 16th Special Operations Squadron, based at Hurlburt Field,
These side-firing gunships have proved vulnerable to ground attack in the
past. Eight AC130s have been lost in combat, six of them during operations
over Vietnam and Laos in the 1970s. The two other AC130 gunships were lost
in combat in Kuwait and Somalia, the latter in 1994 when the 105mm cannon
exploded while the aircraft was airborne.
The AC130U Spooky, which is commonly called the "U-Boat", is described as
the most complex aircraft weapon system in the world, with more than
609,000 lines of software code in its mission computers and avionics systems.
The prototype made its first flight in December 1990. Based on Lockheed
airframes and modified by Boeing, it has advanced sensors, a new
fire-control radar system, global positioning system navigation, special
electronic counter-measures and an infra-red warning receiver, enabling the
crew to fly at night and in adverse weather. They also have the ability to
loiter for long periods over targets.
With its fire control system, developed by Hughes, the gunship can engage
two separate targets simultaneously up to three quarters of a mile away,
using two different guns. No other ground attack aircraft in the world has
Thursday, October 18, 2001
US FOOD DROPS 'USELESS' FOR HUNGRY HORDES
AID agencies last night warned food drops to Afghanistan were doing more
harm than good.
They said more than a million people faced starvation as refugees fleeing
the Taliban were trapped between Allied bombs and the closed Pakistan border.
Glasgow-born Zia Choudhury, 29, humanitarian programme director for Oxfam,
is in Islamabad, desperate to deliver food to the Afghans but unable to
He said: "It is extremely frustrating to be sitting here in the knowledge
that things are getting worse every day and we are unable to do anything
"Now we're facing a race against time to get enough food into Afghanistan
to see them through the winter.
"If aid agencies are allowed to enter Afghanistan and the people trying to
get into Pakistan are allowed over the border, we still have time to
prevent a catastrophe. But I'm not hopeful we're going to be allowed to do
The Americans claim they have been trying to deliver aid to the country.
More than 130,000 food parcels were dropped in the last week.
But Zia said: "Air drops have worked in other parts of the world but only
as a last resort. In this situation, they are not effective and they are
Other aid workers agreed, claiming many of the packages, which are dropped
from a great height, have been scattered across Afghanistan's many
minefields. Organisation of Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation
spokesman Alhaj Fazel said: "When the food lands, these desperately hungry
people will simply rush towards it. Women and children are most vulnerable."
A spokesman for French aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres added: "This is
not a humanitarian effort, this is part of a military campaign designed to
gather approval for the attacks. It is virtually useless and may even be
Aid agencies said the food itself was of little use because it is totally
Most Afghans live on bread and rice and have never seen the kind of food in
the parcels. They contain baked beans, beans in a tomato vinaigrette,
peanut butter, strawberry jam, a biscuit, salt and pepper and a fruit bar.
None of the food meets strict Islamic requirements for food preparation .
And reports from the few aid workers left in the country say those who do
eat it suffer digestive problems because their malnourished stomachs can't
Zia Choudhury said: "Where air drops have been effective, they have been
dropped on to a specific site where aid workers are in place to distribute
it to those who most need it.
"We have worked out that this food costs 10 to 15 times more than the wheat
and grain we would like to distribute in Afghanistan.
"The best thing would be to stop the air drops and open up two roads into
Afghanistan so we can deliver food by truck. That way it will reach the
people who need it most."
Some supplies are getting through. A convoy of 40 World Food Programme
trucks with 1000 tons of food supplies left Peshawar on Wednesday.
Aid agencies believe they need to get 56,000 tons of food into Afghanistan
in the next month if they are to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
But the World Food Programme estimates that even if the borders were opened
immediately, just 1800 tons could be moved in every day before the Afghan
winter makes roads impassable.
They have almost 300,000 tons of aid ready to be moved from Iran and Pakistan.
Another problem for the aid agencies is the attitude of Afghans toward
westerners. There are reports of aid workers being attacked by people who
make no distinction between western charity workers and the people who are
bombing their country.
Zia said: "This is something we encountered in Kosovo, too. When we arrived
in our white vehicles, they thought we were the military.
"It takes a lot of hard work to convince people that we are there to help
them. Some think we are missionaries.
"We have to explain we are non-political and non- religious. All of that
can hold up the aid operation."
Fleeing refugees turn against US over gunships
THE TIMES (London)
THURSDAY OCTOBER 18 2001
FROM CATHERINE PHILP IN CHAMAN
THE bearded young man had barely made it over the
border before he dropped his bag in the dust and stood
in front of me. "This is a coward's war you people are
fighting," he barked, wagging a grimy finger in my
"You tell your soldiers to come down on the ground to
fight us and then they will see what a real war is,"
Behind him, scores of other refugees struggled across
the border, their expressions alternately dazed or
angry, after fleeing three days of devastating attacks
by US jets and helicopter gunships over the city of
The campaign by low-flying AC130s mounted with
machineguns and cannon, has sent a new wave of panic
and anger through the city's remaining residents,
sending thousands more fleeing to the countryside and
across the border with Pakistan.
"Before there were breaks in the bombing, but now it
is all the time, it hardly stops," sobbed Hamida
Ahmad, 26, as she pushed her two young sons past the
border guards. After a night crouching in the dark,
they had set off with other family members for the
border. "When we left our house in the morning, the
raids were still going on. The children started
screaming as soon as we stepped out of the house and
saw the planes over us in the sky."
Hameed Ullah, 27, said his fears had been allayed when
he saw the attack aircraft clearly homing in on the
main Taleban base in the cantonment area of the city.
"They circled above the base and fired, over and over
again, before flying off," he said. But the sight of
the low-flying aircraft firing machinegun and cannon
had panicked many civilians into believing that the
whole city was under fire, he said.
That fear only intensified when most of the remaining
Taleban fighters, mainly Arabs from the 55 Brigade,
moved into civilian buildings around the city to avoid
strikes on their quarters. Mr Ullah gave in to his
wife's pleading to move the family to Pakistan. "The
Americans have to be very careful if they want people
to believe it is only the Taleban they are trying to
destroy," Mr Ullah said.
The warning may be apt. For every crowd of ragged
children and burka-draped women streaming across the
border came a huddle of scowling young men, furious at
being hounded out of their city and vowing revenge
when the time comes for battle.
Several refugees claimed that there had been severe
civilian casualties in the bombing; but their accounts
of women and children being pulled out of rubble, and
dozens killed in a single bomb blast, were
uncorroborated and impossible to verify.
Even the usually amiable Pakistani border guards
looked stern. "Look at all these poor people made
homeless by these bombings," said Commander Aftab,
flashing me an accusatory glare. "This is a terrible
Officially the border is closed to all those without
Pakistani identity cards, but few of the hundreds
crossing yesterday were able to produce them.
How then did they get across? I asked one father
carrying his screaming child towards a precariously
He rubbed his thumb against his fingers with a look of
Commander Aftab looked at us both with barely
concealed fury. "We are helping them," he exploded.
"What are your people doing?"
Call off bombing, plead aid agencies
October 18, 2001
by Karen McVeigh
AID agencies have issued an urgent plea for the
suspension of the air strikes in Afghanistan in order
to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
The UN has already warned that 100,000 children under
five would die from disease and malnutrition in the
harsh Afghan winter if aid did not reach them.
Yesterday, a spokesman for Oxfam admitted: "Our backs
are against the wall. Food is not getting through."
The plea came a day after two US bombs hit a
clearly-marked Red Cross warehouse in Kabul . Last
week, an American missile killed four Afghan staff
when it hit a UN building. Pentagon officials, who
have admitted hitting civilians by mistake, have
warned that there would inevitably be more errors.
The nightly bombing of Afghanistan has severely
curtailed the aid effort. Local labourers and
truckers, on whom they rely, are becoming increasingly
afraid to load or unload food, to drive deep into
Afghanistan, or to stay overnight .
Oxfam, ActionAid, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and
other agencies called for all parties in the conflict
- including the Taleban and the Northern Alliance -to
suspend military action to allow crucial food supplies
Christian Aid spokesman Dominic Nutt said that
children in Afghanistan were already dying and some
people were down to their last weeks worth of food.
Mr Nutt, who toured Afghanistan before the US terror
attacks, said: "I saw fresh graves dug every day,
small graves for children. Now the food supplies have
Speaking from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, he
said: "We are beyond the stage where we can sit down
and talk about this over tea. If they stop the bombing
we can get the food aid in, its as simple as that.
Tony Blair and George Bush have repeatedly said this
is a three-stringed offensive - diplomatic, military
and humanitarian. Well the diplomatic and military are
there but where is the humanitarian? A few planes
throwing lunchboxes around over the mountains is
Oxfam said that it had no food left. "Weve run out of
food, the borders are closed, we cant reach our staff
and times almost run out," said Barbara Stocking of
Oxfam International, "Weve reached the point where it
is simply unrealistic for us to do what we need to do
Two million Afghans need donated food to help them get
through the winter and 500,000 of them will be cut off
by snow if aid does not reach them by mid-November,
the aid groups said.
There are currently 9,000 tonnes of UN food stocks in
warehouses in Afghanistan - which amounts to just two
weeks supply. To avoid massive loss of life, the UN
estimates over 50,000 tonnes of food per month must be
got into Afghanistan, plus a stockpile of 70,000
tonnes for the two mountainous areas of the country.
Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary Mr Straw rejected aid
agencies claims that they could not do their job
while bombing continued.
"The overwhelming number of people who are in dire
poverty in Afghanistan were in dire poverty before 11
September and they were in dire poverty because of the
actions of the Taleban," he said.
"This is military action for a purpose. It is to
ensure the death and destruction which was wreaked on
the world as well as on 6,000 human mortals on 11
September cant happen again."
He added: "Im afraid that has to be the overwhelming
consideration. We are taking action so that we can
provide a much better future for the people of
Afghan staff said that at least 35 per cent of food,
tents, blankets and other material in the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) centre
was destroyed on Tuesday.
On Monday, a bomb landed a few hundred yards from a UN
World Food Programme depot where 250 tons of food were
being loaded for distribution. The food would have
been the first relief to reach the central city of
Hazarajat since 11 September, the aid groups said.
It also emerged yesterday that the Taleban have seized
more than half of the United Nations food aid in
Afghanistan - further hindering efforts in the region.
The UNs World Food Programme reported that on Tuesday
Taleban soldiers took over two warehouses filled with
wheat supplies in Kabul and Kandahar.
Afghans the victims of US terrorism
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
All the news bulletins and news channels nowadays have "anchormen" or
"experts" parading in front of huge maps of Afghanistan, explaining the
detail of the military assault on the country.
We are told of the type of bomber used and from what base, the aircraft
carriers from where the tomahawk missiles are fired. Sometimes we are told
of the "payload delivered".
And not a hint of the devastation these "payloads" deliver to the people of
Afghanistan. The awful terror they bring, the devastation, the injury, the
We have become morally desensitised to the abominations that are clinically
conveyed to us night after night on our television screens.
Nobody at any of the news conferences challenges George Bush or Tony Blair
or Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell about the outrages they are perpetrating.
We are all part of the consensus that it is OK to bomb a country to a pulp
with the vastness of the military might the world has ever known.
Nobody asks Tony Blair about the "human rights of the suffering women of
Afghanistan" that he talked about in that speech at the Labour Party
conference two weeks ago.
How did the world get to believe that terror and slaughter delivered by a
bomb in a car was an atrocity, while much more terror and much more
slaughter delivered by airplane or missile is morally OK?
Remember all the talk some years ago about the godfathers of violence who
sat in their comfortable, middle-class homes in Dundalk or Buncrana, while
their cowardly minions delivered mayhem to the streets of Belfast or Derry
or Claudy or Omagh?
What about the godfathers of violence sitting in their stately mansions in
the White House or Downing Street or Chequers or Camp David, and their
minions dropping far larger bombs from the security of thousands of feet
beyond range of retaliation, causing far more mayhem in the homes and
streets of Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad?
And all for what?
Is it believable that the attack on America of September 11th could have
been planned, directed and co-ordinated from caves in Afghanistan? Or that
the organisation that was responsible for that attack originates in
Afghanistan? A great deal of the emerging evidence suggests otherwise.
Last Wednesday the New York Times published a lengthy portrait of one of the
organisers and perpetrators of the September 11th attack, Mohammed Atta.
Atta came from a middle-class family in Cairo, where his father was a
He went to Hamburg for several years to get a degree in urban planning and
he later worked there. "Officials" were quoted as saying there was "strong
evidence" Atta had trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan in the late
1990s, but we are not told what that evidence is or what it is he could have
been trained in that would have had any relevance to what happened on
It is clear, however, that his radicalism emerged while he was in Hamburg,
where he associated with people from the Turkish, Arab and African
communities. He went to Florida in 2000 and trained as an airline pilot.
There is evidence that he received a large sum of money from someone in The
United Arab Emirates, who "may" have had an association with Osama bin
A report in Monday's Los Angeles Times quoted FBI sources as saying there
were several people involved in plotting further attacks on the US and they
were "at large in the United States and across Europe and the Middle East".
The Los Angeles Times also reported that several people suspected of
involvement either in the September 11th attack or in planning further
attacks were from Saudi Arabia and were resident either there or in the US.
CBS News on Monday evening quoted Prof Vali Nasr of the University of San
Diego as saying the Saudi government had "appeased" Islamic extremists by
funding and promoting a radical form of Islam that sees the US as the enemy.
Other reports from the US suggest that the real source of terrorism is Iran,
where there are several persons wanted by the US, and, of course, Iraq
remains a major suspect as a terrorist sponsor.
So what is the point of the assault on Afghanistan? Yes, Osama bin laden and
some of his associates are there, but if the vast bulk of those suspected of
terrorism by the US are either in the US itself or in Hamburg or Iran or
Saudi Arabia or Iraq, what good will it do if everyone in Afghanistan is
How will it reduce the terrorist threat to US if the vast majority of
terrorists are in places other than Afghanistan?
If the anthrax attacks are the work of terrorists, does anyone believe that
the packages containing it were sent from Afghanistan?
And just one other thing. If the point of the assault on Afghanistan is not
to defeat terrorism but get Osama bin Laden and bring him to "justice", why
has the latest offer by the Taliban to send him to an agreed third country
What would it matter if he were taken to one of America's allies such as
Egypt or even Pakistan or Turkey and "brought to justice" there?
The reality is that Afghanistan is being devastated and hundreds are being
slaughtered, on the net issue of bringing bin Laden and his associates to
justice in the US rather than to some other third agreed country. That's
what the slaughter is about. And that's putting it at its best.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT TERRORISM?
By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.*
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we
are the targets of
terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy,
freedom, and human rights in the world.
Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship,
bondage, and human
exploitation in the world. We are the target of terrorists because we are
hated. And we are hated
because our government has done hateful things."
"We are not hated because we practice democracy, freedom, and human rights.
We are hated
because our government denies these things to people in third world
countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations.
And that hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of
terrorism and in the future, nuclear terrorism."
A FEW YEARS AGO, terrorists destroyed two U.S. embassies. President Clinton
retaliated against suspected facilities of Osama bin Laden. In his
television address, the President told the American people that we were the
targets of terrorism because we stood for democracy, freedom, and human
rights in the world.
On that occasion, I wrote: "Tell people the truth, Mr. President ... About
terrorism, not about poor Monica. If your lies about terrorism go
unchallenged, then the terror war you have unleashed will likely continue
until it destroys us.
"The threat of nuclear terrorism is closing in upon us. Chemical terrorism
is at hand, and biological terrorism is a future danger. None of our
thousands of nuclear weapons can protect us from these threats. These idols
of plutonium, titanium, and steel are impotent. Our worship of
them for over five decades has not brought us security, only greater
danger. No 'Star Wars'
system ... no matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions
of dollars was poured into it ... can protect us from even a single
terrorist bomb. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal can shield us from a
nuclear weapon delivered in a sailboat or a Piper Cub or a suitcase or a
Ryder rental truck.
Not a penny of the 273 billion dollars a year we spend on so-called defense
can actually defend us against a terrorist bomb. Nothing in our enormous
military establishment can actually give us one whit of security. That is a
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we
are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we
stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world.
Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship,
human exploitation in the world. We are the target of terrorists because we
are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things.
"In how many countries have we deposed popularly elected leaders and
replaced them with puppet military dictators who were willing to sell out
their own people to American multinational corporations?
"We did it in Iran when we deposed Mossadegh because he wanted to
nationalize the oil industry. We replaced him with the Shah, and trained,
armed, and paid his hated Savak national guard, which enslaved and
brutalized the people of Iran. All to protect the financial interests of
our oil companies. Is it any wonder there are people in Iran who hate us?
"We did it in Chile when we deposed Allende, democratically elected by the
people to introduce socialism. We replaced him with the brutal right-wing
military dictator, General Pinochet. Chile has still not recovered.
"We did it in Vietnam when we thwarted democratic elections in the South
which would have united the country under Ho Chi Minh. We replaced him with
a series of ineffectual puppet crooks who invited us to come in and
slaughter their people and we did. (I flew 101 combat missions in that war
which you properly opposed.)
"We did it in Iraq, where we killed a quarter of a million civilians in a
failed attempt to topple Saddam Hussein, and where we have killed a million
since then with our sanctions. About half of these innocent victims have
been children under the age of five.
"And, of course, how many times have we done it in Nicaragua and all the
other banana republics of Latin America? Time after time we have ousted
popular leaders who wanted the riches of the land to be shared by the
people who worked it. We replaced them with murderous tyrants who would
sell out and control their own people so that the wealth of the land could
be taken out by Domino Sugar, the United Fruit Company, Folgers, and
"In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy, stifled
freedom, and trampled human rights. That's why we are hated around the
world. And that's why we are the target of terrorists.
"People in Canada enjoy better democracy, more freedom, and greater human
rights than we do. So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of
Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian embassies? Or Swedish
"We are not hated because we practice democracy, freedom, and human rights.
We are hated because our government denies these things to people in third
world countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational
corporations. And that hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the
form of terrorism and in the future, nuclear terrorism.
"Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution
becomes obvious. We must change our government's ways.
"Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs
so the oil companies can sell the oil under their sand, we must send them
to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving
"Instead of continuing to kill thousands of Iraqi children every day with
our sanctions, we must help them rebuild their electric power plants, their
water treatment facilities, their hospitals, all the things we destroyed in
our war against them and prevented them from rebuilding with our sanctions.
"Instead of seeking to be king of the hill, we must become a responsible
member of the family of nations. Instead of stationing hundreds of
thousands of troops around the world to protect the financial interests of
our multinational corporations, we must bring them home and expand the
"Instead of training terrorists and death squads in the techniques of
torture and assassination, we must close the School of the Americas (no
matter what name they use). Instead of supporting military dictatorships,
we must support true democracy the right of the people to choose their own
leaders. Instead of supporting insurrection, destabilization,
assassination, and terror around the world, we must abolish the CIA and
give the money to relief agencies.
"In short, we do good instead of evil. We become the good guys, once again.
The threat of terrorism would vanish. That is the truth, Mr. President.
That is what the American people need to hear. We are good people. We only
need to be told the truth and given the vision. You can do it, Mr.
President. Stop the killing. Stop the justifying. Stop the retaliating. Put
people first. Tell them the truth."
Needless to say, he didn't ... and neither has George W. Bush. Well, the
seeds our policies have planted have borne their bitter fruit. The World
Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon is damaged. And thousands of Americans
have died. Almost every TV pundit is crying for massive military
retaliation against whoever might have done it (assumedly the same Osama
bin Laden) and against whoever harbors or aids the terrorists (most notably
the Taliban government of Afghanistan). Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post
screams "Kill the bastards! Train assassins, hire mercenaries, put a couple
of million bucks up for bounty hunters to get them dead or alive,
preferably dead. As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb
them into basketball courts." It's tempting to agree. I have no sympathy
for the psychopaths that killed thousands of our people. There is no excuse
for such acts. If I was recalled to active duty, I would go in a heartbeat.
At the same time, all my military experience and knowledge tells me that
retaliation hasn't rid us of the problem in the past, and won't this time.
By far the world's best anti-terrorist apparatus is Israel's. Measured in
military terms, it has been phenomenally successful. Yet Israel still
suffers more attacks than all other nations combined. If retaliation
worked, Israelis would be the world's most secure people.
Only one thing has ever ended a terrorist campaign -- denying the terrorist
organization the support of the larger community it represents. And the
only way to do that is to listen to and alleviate the legitimate grievances
of the people. If indeed Osama bin Laden was behind the four hijackings and
subsequent carnage, that means addressing the concerns of the Arabs and
Muslims in general and of the Palestinians in particular. It does NOT mean
abandoning Israel. But it may very well mean withdrawing financial and
military support until they abandon the settlements in occupied territory
and return to 1967 borders. It may also mean allowing Arab countries to
have leaders of their own choosing, not hand-picked, CIA-installed
dictators willing to cooperate with Western oil companies.
Chester Gillings has said it very well: "How do we fight back against bin
Laden? The first thing we must ask ourselves is what is it we hope to
achieve -- security or revenge? The two are mutually exclusive; seek
revenge and we WILL reduce our security. If it is security we seek, then we
must begin to answer the tough questions -- what are the grievances of the
Palestinians and the Arab world against the United States, and what is our
real culpability for those grievances? Where we find legitimate
culpability, we must be prepared to cure the grievance wherever possible.
Where we cannot find culpability or a cure, we must communicate honestly
our positions directly to the Arab people. In short, our best course of
action is to remove ourselves as a combatant in the disputes of the region."
To kill bin Laden now would be to make him an eternal martyr. Thousands
would rise up to take his place. In another year, we would face another
round of terrorism, probably much worse even than this one. Yet there is
In the short term, we must protect ourselves from those who already hate
us. This means increased security and better intelligence. I proposed to
members of Congress in March that we should deny any funds for "Star Wars"
until such time as the Executive Branch could show that they are doing all
possible research on the detection and interception of weapons of mass
destruction entering the country clandestinely (a far greater threat than
ballistic missiles). There are lots of steps which can be taken to increase
security without detracting from civil rights. But in the long term, we
must change our policies to stop causing the fear and hatred which creates
new terrorists. Becoming independent of foreign oil through conservation,
energy efficiency, production of energy from renewable sources, and a
transition to non-polluting transportation will allow us to adopt a more
rational policy toward the Middle East.
The vast majority of Arabs and Muslims are good, peaceful people. But
enough of them, in their desperation and anger and fear, have turned first
to Arafat and now to bin Laden to relieve their misery. Remove the
desperation, give them some hope, and support for terrorism will evaporate.
At that point bin Laden will be forced to abandon terrorism (as has Arafat)
or be treated like a common criminal. Either way, he and his money cease to
be a threat. We CAN have security ... or we can have revenge. We cannot
*Dr. Robert M. Bowman directed all the "Star Wars" programs under
presidents Ford and Carter and flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. His
Ph.D. is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. He is
President of the Institute for Space and Security Studies and Presiding
Archbishop of the United Catholic Church. Dr. Bowman can be reached at
RobertBowman@MiddleEast.Org.To unsubscribe from this group, send an email
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)
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