[sixties-l] Antiwar News...(# 23) (fwd)

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    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Antiwar News...(# 23)

    [multiple items]
    (Anti-war links/resources at the end.)

    History Confirms War a Futile Business


    Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 in the Toronto Star
    by Dalton Camp

    While our allied air forces continue the redistribution of the rubble in
    Kabul, the objectives and purposes of this "new war" become, like the dust
    rising from that battered city, more difficult to comprehend.
    Historically, there have been necessary wars and wars fought whether
    necessary or not. But it is a futile
    business, as history will confirm.
    According to one political scientist, who counted the wars of the great
    powers, from 1495 to 1975, one or
    another of them has been at war 75 per cent of the time. Astonishingly, one
    of the more peaceful centuries
    was the 20th, although it has been, thus far, the bloodiest, as a result of
    its two world wars.
    We have been, if you're counting, marching off to battle much of our time,
    and here we are, marching off again.
    There must be something to the view of man as a natural hunter and natural
    Still, one would think that man would run out of wars to make or nations to
    invade or, that at some epiphanous time, nations would conspire to stop the
    killing, that war would become not the last resort but simply an
    unthinkable one.
    But here we find ourselves at war again, against half the world in general
    and no one in particular, pulverizing ruins and inflicting "collateral
    damage" - a euphemism for killing - on people we know nothing of, in a land
    we have nothing against, hope never to see, in a cause so rhetorical and
    clothed so much in hyperbole as to be unattainable.
    I have been reading of late about the Allied bombing of the German city of
    Hamburg, in World War II, during
    July, 1944. At that time we (the Allies) had achieved air superiority. We
    had also developed superior aircraft
    and bigger bombs, as well as a means of deceiving the enemy's radar defenses.
    On July 25, nearly 800 bombers attacked Hamburg, a nearly helpless city,
    dropping their loads of 400- and
    800- and 1,000-pound bombs and incendiaries. The city was soon ablaze, and
    without water to fight the fires; in this cauldron, the temperatures would
    exceed 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. In one week, the number of killed was put
    at 50,000 - just 1,000 short of those British civilians killed by German
    attacks in the first four years of the war.
    Of course, we "won" the war against infinitely greater and more menacing
    evil than that of terrorism. But more to the point, subsequent study by
    professional appraisers has concluded not even all the slaughter of
    civilians, not the collateral damage wrecked upon Hamburg, Dresden, Essen
    and the rest made any significant difference either to the result or the
    war's duration. It did, however, make a difference to those killed in the
    exercise, including those of our own.
    War is an exercise in excess. We emerge from battle choking on the blood of
    innocents. Self-deception is
    always helpful to those of delicate sensibility. Hence, we do try to limit
    collateral damage and imagine
    ourselves fighting for democracy, justice and - heaven help us - peace.
    Should one be a refugee, a bombed out peasant or a child crippled by a
    mine, a just war is a true oxymoron, at least for those accompanied by a
    I have come to be wary of Pentagon briefers. These films of direct hits on
    arbitrarily defined "objectives" remind one of the underlying irony of this
    "new war." Bombing has become a kind of elliptical expression of military
    frustration. When in doubt, bomb. It is to politics what paving used to be
    to policy.
    What is new about this "new war," at ground level where all wars are
    finally settled, is that the terrorists in our midst - or in their caves -
    have found the equalizer to war as an exercise in technology. Terror is an
    extension of war by other means, including stealth, deception and disguise.
    It is not new that it is a war waged upon innocents; the graveyards of
    Europe are crowded with those who perished in their kitchens, in their
    sleep, in their unknowing. What is new is that the oceans no longer protect
    us from the risks and perils of war because the new enemy has new weapons
    of an original design and unfamiliar ruthlessness.
    Still, when it is finally over, when the struggle is exhausted, when we
    achieve another peace between another war, we can band together in reunion
    and, in common folly and arrogance, be reborn in our usual ways, boasting
    of our superior means and inexhaustible bounty and, while the world will
    not be the same, can never be so, we will hardly know the difference.
    We should not, then, excessively fret over our present condition but view
    it, as much as we can, as a passing inconvenience. After all, were it a
    truly serious crisis, we would not, in our considerable genius, be acting
    like fools and behaving with such compulsive, ruinous mindlessness.
    The most dangerous man alive these days is the one who justifies our
    present folly by asking, "Well, what
    would you do?" Those who ask the question have no memory and even less
    imagination. Perhaps, someone will awaken to other Canadian options and
    possibilities before John Manley does.
    Dalton Camp is a political commentator. His column appears in the Toronto
    Star on Wednesday and Sunday.


    Bush relies on advertising experts to win over Muslims


    By William Douglas in Washington

    The Bush Administration, fearing that it might lose the public relations war
    in Muslim and Arab nations to Osama bin Laden, is turning to Madison Avenue
    for help.

    The State Department is talking to the Advertising Council, a New York-based
    non-profit group that develops advertising strategies for national causes,
    about crafting a "public diplomacy" campaign on the military action in
    Afghanistan and the war on terrorism.

    Overseeing those talks is Charlotte Beers, the new Undersecretary of State
    for public diplomacy and former advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson
    who started in the industry marketing Uncle Ben's Rice.

    Ms Beers was named to the post by President George Bush early in his
    administration and was sworn in October 2.

    Her job is to sell America, a difficult task in some Arab and Muslim
    countries where citizens are protesting against the US military response to
    the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

    "I think the fact is, there is a battle for hearts and minds," said Philip
    Reeker, a State Department spokesman.

    "There's a lot of disinformation ... The difficulties we face in getting our
    message out are quite clear."

    Several advertising executives and media analysts say the Administration's
    increased efforts will do little to sway Muslims and Arabs overseas, many of
    whom say their distrust of the United States goes beyond the situation in

    The US handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, for example, fuelled
    Arab and Muslim anger and prompted many to dismiss the rationale for going
    after bin Laden in Afghanistan, said the newspaper owner Osama Siblani.

    "The United States lost the public relations war in the Muslim world a long
    time ago," said Mr Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, a weekly
    newspaper in Dearborn, Michigan. "They could have the prophet Muhammad doing
    public relations and it wouldn't help."

    That apprehension increased after September 11 because of what Mr Siblani
    and some advertising executives called the Administration's muddled public
    relations strategy.

    Ms Beers told the Advertising Age last week that she would consider buying
    air time on the Arabic-language al-Jazeera network, which is becoming the
    CNN of the Arab and Muslim world, to get America's message across to a
    foreign audience.


    Cluster bombs trap villagers.

    BBC. 24 October 2001.

    The United Nations has said that unexploded bomblets from cluster bombs
    have trapped villagers after a raid near the western Afghan city of

    The cluster bombs were dropped around Herat on Monday during a raid in
    which UN officials say a military hospital and a mosque were hit.

    Cluster bombs are controversial weapons consisting of a canister which
    breaks apart to release a large number of small bombs.

    Dan Kelly, manager of a UN mine removal programme for Afghanistan, said
    the people of Shaker Qala outside Herat were now living in fear of
    stepping outside.

    UN officials are calling on the United States to share basic information
    about the type of munitions used so they know how to deal with them.


    Afghan Opposition Warns U.S. Over Civilian Deaths

    Wednesday October 24, 2001
    By Elizabeth Piper

    KHOJA BAHAWUDDIN, Afghanistan (Reuters) -
    Afghanistan's opposition urged the United States and
    its allies Wednesday to work harder to prevent
    civilian casualties in its military campaign against
    the ruling Taliban.
    Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the opposition's foreign
    minister, said bombing raids against Taliban positions
    had inflicted more pain on a people who had already
    suffered under the rule of ''terrorists.''
    ``I think more attention has to be paid to avoid
    casualties in the aftermath (of bombing raids),?? he
    told a news conference.
    ``A major concern is that of civilian casualties...
    which have to be avoided by any means. They have
    suffered for so long under the rule of terrorist
    groups... and now they are suffering in a different
    Abdullah, on his way to meet commanders in the
    northeastern town of Khoja Bahawuddin, said the
    opposition Northern Alliance had received confirmed
    accounts of civilian casualties during the bombing
    He said many Afghans had been killed or wounded in the
    southern city of Kandahar and eastern city of
    Jalalabad in the strikes, which Washington and its
    allies launched earlier this month.
    While the United States has dismissed the Taliban
    claims of more than 1,000 civilian deaths, they have
    confirmed that some bombs have gone astray.
    The United Nations said Tuesday a military hospital
    had been destroyed by bombing in the western city of
    Herat on Monday but it had no information on
    casualties. A U.S. defense official said in Washington
    U.S. forces might have accidentally hit a home for the
    But most reports, such as a story by the
    Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press Wednesday that 52
    people were killed in the village of Chakor Kariz in
    southern Afghanistan, were impossible to verify.
    The airstrikes have been targeted at Taliban camps and
    frontlines after the hard-line Islamist refused to
    surrender Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, prime
    suspect behind the attacks on U.S. landmarks.
    ``Yes this is not the target, and we know the target
    is the terrorist camps and the bases of the Taliban...
    but the strikes have exacerbated the problem (of
    people fleeing their homes)," Abdullah said.
    ``How to get the targets without hitting the
    civilians... needs to be dealt with in a very serious
    Abdullah said the Northern Alliance, which has fought
    the Taliban since it took Afghanistan's capital Kabul
    in 1996, and the United States military were
    cooperating, but more could be done.
    ``We are in contact with the Americans, we have
    considered all aspects of cooperation... (But) better
    coordination would bring better results, there is no
    doubt about it," he said.
    ``But our expectations are realistic,?? he said,
    adding that the recent bombing of a Northern Alliance
    position was an unfortunate mistake and should be
    avoided in future.
    Abdullah called on the United Nations to help
    Afghanistan's future reconstruction, saying the
    country needed to rebuild its health service, schools
    and demine swathes of land.
    He said the international community had offered aid,
    but Afghans did not want charity.
    ``Afghanistan has... great potential in a peaceful
    time," he said. ``We have to pass through... this
    phase of charity quickly and focus on


    A Pacifist Dictionary


    By Kate Maloy

    Someone recently said to me: My pacifism stops when someone declares war on
    me. She is apparently
    a pacifist only until the condition that actually calls for pacifism
    arises. She wants to know how we can
    protect ourselves if we don't return violence for violence. She wants to
    know what we should do.
    No wonder she is at a loss. The human race has almost no experience with
    lasting peace or its
    strategies. Our default has always been war. When at risk, we want to
    destroy the enemy that has put
    us there. This is not our noblest option, it comes from reflex, not
    reflection, but we nearly always
    resort to it, first or last.
    Those of us who hang onto pacifist ideals, even in times like these, are
    dismissed, attacked, and
    mocked. We are dismissed by the likes of NPR's Cokie Roberts, who, when
    asked whether there is
    any opposition to this current war, answered: None that matters. We are
    attacked in editorials and
    sometimes by our own friends or relatives as unrealistic, simple-minded,
    airy-fairy, even dangerous.
    We are mocked in mainstream media like Newsweek, in which there recently
    appeared a snide
    comment about anachronistic, bead-and-Birkenstock types.
    The fear sparked by recent horrors intensifies suspicion toward pacifism.
    People don't want their
    traditional forms of defense, the only ones they know, called into doubt.
    It makes them too afraid. And
    in turn it makes them scorn us "peaceniks," as if our ideals deepen their
    risk, as if we would sacrifice
    the world before relaxing our principles.
    The fact is, we see real safety as possible only through our principles.
    The more surprising fact is, we can state our principles just like everyone
    else. We are patriots, and we believe in defense. We love our freedoms,
    desperately mourn the violence against our country, and long for justice.
    We recognize the need for sacrifice and courage in these terribles times.
    We pray for peace. It's just that we define the relevant nouns a little

    Excerpts from a pacifist dictionary might read something like this (though
    not in alphabetical order):

    <> Patriotism. Unswerving loyalty to the first and foremost principle of
    our country, which is also the first principle of humanity - All people are
    created equal. Because violence betrays this principle, true patriotism
    must seek nonviolent ways both to extend it and defend it.
    <> Defense. Protection against violence achieved by eliminating its causes,
    including hatred, intolerance, injustice, and fear. This is accomplished
    through the universal application of humanity's first principle. When all
    people are treated as equals, there remains little reason for warfare.
    <> Freedom. A human condition that arises from a generous sufficiency of
    food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, civil and religious
    liberties, and employment opportunities. It is a self-limiting condition;
    it breeds no desire for excess, whether material, behavioral, or political.
    A truly free person or nation sees that in a world of finite resources the
    drive for disproportionate wealth and power necessarily exploits or
    subjugates others and thus betrays humanity's first principle.
    <> Justice. All actions and policies that ensure and protect humanity's
    first principle and guarantee to all people and nations an equal right to
    <> Sacrifice. Forgoing any over-use of resources by countries or
    individuals so that the first principle can apply worldwide. The only
    alternative to material sacrifice is blood sacrifice, the continued
    endangerment or death of the young to save the old or the greedy.
    <> Courage. The quality that overrides personal fear in order to keep faith
    with ideals and act upon them.
    <> Peace. An enduring condition that can come about only when patriotism,
    defense, freedom, justice, sacrifice, and courage, the concepts defined
    above, prevail among all people and nations. This condition is deeper and
    stronger than history's periods of uneasy quiet between wars.

    We pacifists know that our definitions are not in common usage. We know we
    are a tiny minority. We know this war will run over our ideals like a tank.
    We know we must either take the long view or despair altogether. Pacifism,
    in the long view, is far from being illogical and powerless, as most people
    think. It is the only logic and the only power.
    The long view sees, for instance, that the use of ever more lethal weapons,
    from teeth, feet, and elbows to chemical, biological, and nuclear threats,
    has never increased security but rather has led us into the ultimate
    danger. It sees that all weapons are powerless against hatred, as our
    country's massive arsenal was powerless against militants with knives and
    boxcutters. It sees the most terrible lesson of war, which is that it does
    not neutralize peril but doubles it. War creates two kinds of danger, the
    kind embodied in our global destructive power and the kind embodied in the
    hatred that first spawned that power.
    The only way to extinguish both hazards is to put humanity's first
    principle first, to make that, instead of war, our default. The human race
    has probably needed its wars in order to see the limits of war, but we
    reached those limits at the end of World War II. That was when the world
    truly changed. That was when we should have seen that we had forever ruled
    out either war or humankind.
    Thus in answer to that earlier question -- What should we do?--pacifists
    would say: In every moment, act, vote, speak, and choose not for that
    moment but for what it can give rise to, hatred or compassion, war or
    peace. Be alert for the old ways and the old rhetoric and recognize what
    they truly stand for, which is more and deeper peril. Uphold humanity's
    first principle at every personal and national decision point, not just
    when it is convenient. Do these things, and peace will fall into place,
    slowly no doubt, but with infinite grace.
    KATE MALOY is a Quaker author and a pacifist. Her memoir, A Stone Bridge
    North, will be published in January by Counterpoint Press.


    Women call for end to bombing on civilians

    KARACHI, Oct 23: A peaceful demonstration, organized by various NGOs
    working for the betterment of women, on Tuesday, called for an immediate
    end to the US-led bombing on Afghanistan.

    The women, who staged the demonstration at the Press Club, were raising
    slogans for acceptance of their demands, urging the United States and
    its allies to stop attacks on Afghan cities due to which, they said,
    innocent civilians, including women and children, were being killed.

    They condemned the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington
    and termed it wicked and evil acts of sick minds.

    The protesters said that it was imperative for all the nations to use
    their competent minds and superior technologies to unearth the criminals
    and eliminate them along with their networks. But the bombardment of the
    helpless civilians of a country, already traumatized by hunger and war,
    defied human compassion and all norms of justice and fair play, they

    Another terrible human tragedy was being witnessed in which, they said,
    women and children were trapped in crossfire, forced to seek shelter in
    remote areas with winter aggravating their plight.

    They said that killing of 6,000 innocent civilians in the US could not
    justify the annihilation of the Afghans. They said that the persistent
    aerial strikes on Afghanistan would swell an influx of refugees into the
    surrounding countries destabilising the entire region.

    The participants called for a political solution through mediations and
    negotiations within Afghanistan to bring about a viable peace.

    The protesters raised slogans which included: "To eliminate terrorism,
    make peace not war"; "UN resolve all outstanding conflicts, give justice
    to oppressed peoples"; "US coalition stop the shameful bombardment of
    helpless civilians in Afghanistan"; "No issue has ever been solved by
    waging war"; "We are against terrorism, the world must stop killing
    women and children in the name of justice and peace."

    The demonstration concluded with a prayer, led by Shaista Zaidi, Nargis
    Rehman, Rehana Afroze, calling for an end to terrorism, end to the
    bombing on Afghanistan, prevalence of peace and harmony in the world,
    and integrity and solidarity of Pakistan.

    The demonstration was jointly organized by Karachi Peace Women's
    Committee, Bazm-i-Aamna, and Working Women Welfare Trust, while the
    representatives of various other NGOs including Lyari Women's Skill
    Development, Lawyers for Human Rights, Mufaad-i- Aamma, Human Rights
    Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Saarc Women Association, Shehri, CEDF,
    Pawla, Falah Association, SEWA, Ladies Forum, Helpline, HANDS, Tehrik-i-
    Niswan, EAWS, Samaj Sudhar Tehrik, Patients Welfare Association, etc
    also participated.


    Bombings that hit wrong targets in Afghanistan


    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Following is a list of non-military installations
    allegedly bombed, apparently in error, by U.S. forces since they launched
    attacks on Afghanistan on Oct. 7.

    Some incidents have been confirmed, while no independent confirmation was
    available for others. The U.S.-led forces say they are targeting Taliban
    military installations and camps and facilities of Saudi born militant
    Osama bin Laden.
    - - - -

    OCTOBER 22

    HERAT - The Taliban said United States bombed a 100-bed hospital in the
    western city of Herat, killing more than 100. The United Nations said
    Tuesday it had learned that a military hospital in a military compound had
    been destroyed in Herat on Monday but it had no information on casualties.
    A U.S. defense official said in Washington that U.S. forces might have
    accidentally hit a home for the elderly in Herat Monday.

    OCTOBER 17

    KANDAHAR - Taliban Information Ministry official Abdul Hanan Himat said a
    U.S. bomb hit a truck packed with Afghans trying to flee air raids on the
    town of Chunai near the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

    He said all those in the truck had been killed but gave no casualty figure.
    No independent verification was possible.

    OCTOBER 16

    KABUL - U.S. bombs hit warehouses operated by the International Committee
    of the Red Cross in Kabul, destroying tents, tarpaulins, blankets and other
    aid supplies intended for internally displaced Afghans.

    ICRC said it was clearly a civilian facility, marked with a large red cross
    on the roof. An ICRC Afghan employee was injured.

    The Pentagon said a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet dropped 1,000-pound bombs
    that inadvertently hit one or more ICRC warehouses. U.S. forces had
    targeted a series of warehouses believed to be used by the Taliban to store
    military equipment, the Pentagon statement said.

    "Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses. U.S.
    forces did not know that the ICRC was using one or more of the warehouses,"
    the statement said.

    OCTOBER 13

    KABUL - A U.S. Navy F/A-18 attack aircraft missed a Taliban military target
    at Kabul airport and its 2,000-pound "smart" bomb blasted civilian houses a
    mile from the Afghan capital, the Pentagon said.

    A U.S. defense official said the satellite-guided bomb had missed because
    of human error, in that incorrect coordinates had been entered into a
    targeting system.

    The Pentagon cited reports of as many as four dead and eight injured. A
    Reuters reporter said at least one man was killed and four injured.

    OCTOBER 11

    JALALABAD - The Taliban say U.S. bombs flattened Khorum village, near the
    eastern city of Jalalabad. Villagers said at least 160 people were killed
    in the pre-dawn bombing.

    International journalists invited to visit the village saw evidence of
    widespread devastation and more than a dozen fresh graves but it was
    impossible to confirm the death toll or what had caused the damage.

    Rumsfeld did not deny the area had been targeted, but described the alleged
    death toll as "ridiculous" and said the remote mountainous area was riddled
    with tunnels containing munitions.


    KABUL - A U.S. bomb struck a U.N.-funded demining office in Kabul, killing
    four people and slightly wounding one. The attack destroyed the four-story

    "People need to distinguish between combatants and those innocent civilians
    who do not bear arms," U.N. Afghanistan coordinator for humanitarian aid
    Mike Sackett said after the incident.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressed regret for the deaths of
    the four Afghans, but said he did not know if they had been killed by U.S.
    weapons and added that some civilian casualties were inevitable.


    Pacifists are filing for CO status in growing numbers

    By Jen Cooper -- Scripps Howard Foundation Wire
    Ocotber 23, 2001

            At 17, Daniel Fahey signed up for the Navy ROTC program and attended
    the University of Notre Dame on a military scholarship. He did well and was
    commissioned into the Navy as an officer in 1990.

            In January 1991, when Operation Storm began, the Navy sent Fahey to
    be trained to fire nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles.

            That was when Fahey's own war began.

            For six weeks, the man who had joined the Navy for adventure and
    travel wrestled with his beliefs and came to the conclusion that because of
    his moral and ethical code, he could not fire a nuclear missile, or any
    missile, for that matter.

    Fahey was granted conscientious objector status in February 1991, was
    discharged from the Navy and over the next five years paid back his college

    Fahey, who is now a graduate student at Tufts University in Massachusetts,
    said he confronted his beliefs when he was being trained to fire nuclear
    missiles. Had there been no war or had he been assigned noncombat duties
    upon entering the Navy, Fahey said he probably would have fulfilled the
    final three years of his enlistment.

    Now, with air strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan underway,
    other members of the military are wrestling with their own convictions.

    Several peace organizations said they have received a dramatic increase in
    phone calls and e-mails from military personnel who have questions about
    conscientious objection and other types of discharges. The inquiries tend to
    come from young enlisted personnel who joined the military within the last
    10 years.

    "A lot of people didn't give (their decision to join the military) much
    thought, or what the implications are, or what you might be asked to do,"
    Fahey said. "Maybe the current march to war is really making them evaluate
    their beliefs."

    Conscientious objectors - people opposed to any and all war - may be granted
    an honorable discharge if their beliefs are found to be sincere.
    Brian Cross, a staff member with the Central Committee for Conscientious
    Objectors in Oakland, Calif., said many of the service personnel who call
    are people who were already uneasy about their duties in the military, and
    the renewed threat of war has caused them to think more seriously about
    filing for conscientious objector status.
    "Sometimes people are reluctant to take a stand until push comes to shove,"
    he said.

    Since Sept. 11, the committee has received hundreds of phone calls, and
    Cross said 12 times as many people have requested literature as they did in

    Cross, who gained conscientious objector status during Vietnam, said America
    has recognized conscientious objection since the time of the colonies.

    "It's not part of human nature to want to kill somebody, even for a
    political end and even for revenge," he said. "Patriotism is one thing and a
    willingness to kill is another."

    The CCCO is also associated with the GI Rights Hotline. The hotline had
    anticipated 20,000 calls this year, but in light of the terrorist attacks,
    staff members are expecting that number to jump to 30,000, Cross said.

    Most of the military personnel who have called have been between the ages of
    18 and 28, he said.

    The organization also has received calls from high school counselors and
    parents who are worried that America's war on terrorism will also mean a
    reinstatement of the draft.

    "It's difficult to have a concrete sense of what it's like to go to war,"
    said Harold Jordan, coordinator of the National Youth and Militarism Program
    in Philadelphia.

    But the attacks that began Oct. 7 cemented the threat of military action,
    and that has caused some members of the military to confront their beliefs.
    The same scenario happened during the Gulf War, Jordan said.

    Jordan's program is affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee,
    a social justice and humanitarian organization that estimates 2,500 people
    attempted to get out of the military during the 1991 Gulf War.
    A General Accounting Office report said 447 people applied for CO status in
    1991, up from 200 the previous year.
    However, Jordan said that figure does not take into account the people who
    were in the process of applying or who went to jail for refusing to go to
    Representatives for the service branches said they haven't yet seen any
    increase in the number of people interested in or applying for conscientious
    objector status.

    Marine Capt. Jeff Pool, who works with Marine Forces Reserves in New
    Orleans, said the response that he's seen is that Marines are anxious to
    know whether they'll be mobilized.
    "No one wants to be left behind, especially after an attack like that one,"
    Pool said. "All the Marines I know are trying to get to go."

    Air Force Col. Phillip Deavel, a senior judge advocate at Randolph Air Force
    Base in Texas, said the United States military has long recognized
    conscientious objector status as an important aspect of a democratic

    "This is not a program the military resists," he said. "It's an important
    safety valve."

    Deavel said conscientious objector status, however, is not to be used as a
    way to skirt a commitment to military duty.

    People applying for CO status must show that they have a deep and sincere
    aversion to war, although that belief does not necessarily have to flow from
    a religious conviction.

    In order to prove that sincere belief, a CO applicant must make a written
    statement, be evaluated by a chaplain and psychiatrist and have their
    application undergo several legal reviews.

    "The vast majority of us are morally comfortable with the justness of the
    military," Deavel said. "Otherwise, we would not be in uniform in the first

    Conscientious objectors in the military

            Because it is possible for service personnel to change their beliefs
    after enlisting, the U.S. military offers conscientious objection as a
    viable way to leave the military based on one's convictions.

            The Pentagon receives, on average, 200 applications for
    conscientious objector status each year.

    But one of the biggest arguments as to why conscientious objectors are in
    that military is that new recruits aren't given an accurate picture of what
    military life is all about.

            Harold Jordan, a spokesman for the Youth and Militarism Program,
    agrees and said recruiters tend to focus on the benefits of military service
    like loan repayment programs and job training.

            "Traditionally, you see in ads that you go into the military to get
    a leg up on life and get money for college and that war is not something
    that's going to affect you or happen very often," he said. "There's
    something inherently wrong and dishonest about how military service is

            Slogans like "Be all can you be," "Fuel your future," "Aim High" and
    "Accelerate Your Life," don't give people an accurate understanding of
    military life, Jordan said.

            The Army's new slogan, "Army of One", distorts what joining the
    military is about, he said.

            "It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen," he said. "The
    notion that you go into the military as an expression of individuality is
    not the reality."

            The problem is worsened by schools and career centers that encourage
    and pressure students to join the military.

            "Schools just turn people over to recruiters as if they were
    guidance counselors," he said.

            Jordan said students should be allowed to hear balanced
    presentations from veterans, not just "government salespersons."

            The people who are calling Jordan's organization now are people who
    he said were probably considering getting out before, but this new
    possibility of a global war triggered them to take action now.

            Jordan said the phone calls and e-mails he receives are from all of
    the different service branches. However, during the Gulf War he said the
    people calling were overwhelmingly from the Army and Marine Corps.

            Army Capt. Jennifer Wabales, who works with recruiters in the Denver
    area, acknowledged that people join the Army for different reasons,
    including education and college benefits. But she said the Army is not
    trying to disillusion people and trick them into joining the military.

            "Commercials do focus on education and benefits but they also show
    soldiers in rubber rafts floating down the jungle," she said. "There's the
    implication that somewhere that training will be needed."

            Wabales said a lot of her recruiters served in the Gulf War and show
    pictures and tell stories to people considering enlisting.

            Master Sgt. Ron Turner, a public affairs officer with the Marine
    Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico Va., said from the time people first
    meet their recruiter they are being told that they are being trained for

            Marine recruiters ask potential recruits whether they are a
    conscientious objector and the same question is asked to all new enlistees
    on the first day of boot camp.

            If a person answers yes, they're sent home.

            "The Marine Corps doesn't want anybody who doesn't want to be a
    Marine," he said.

            Regardless of their individual training or specialty, all Marines
    understand that they are first and foremost riflemen, he said.

            Lance Cpl. Brent Gregory recently graduated from boot camp in San
    Diego, Calif., and said it was made very clear that they were being trained
    to go to war.

            His platoon practiced sticking bayonets into mannequins, shot at
    rifle targets that were in the shape of a person and responded to certain
    drills with "kill."

            Gregory said they also sang cadences that talked about going into a
    danger zone, getting killed and coming home in a body bag.

            "People are ignorant to think they won't have to go to war," he

            And being a conscientious objector in the military goes against
    everything the service trains for, he said.

            "That's like saying I want to be a firefighter but I don't want to
    go into a burning building," he said.


    Bombs Hit Civilian Areas of Afghan Cities, U.S. Says


    Military: Strikes that went awry in Kabul and near home for elderly in Herat
    could imperil anti-terrorism coalition.

    Times Staff Writer
    October 24 2001

    WASHINGTON -- Three U.S. bombs went astray in weekend strikes in
    Afghanistan, landing in a residential neighborhood northwest of the capital,
    Kabul, and near a home for the elderly outside the city of Herat, Pentagon
    officials said Tuesday.

    The two incidents were the latest examples of precision-guided weapons going
    awry in the U.S.-led military campaign--mistakes that could hurt
    Washington's efforts to win support in some Islamic countries for its war on

    U.S. fighter jets and heavy bombers continued to strike forces loyal to the
    Afghan Taliban regime north of Kabul on Tuesday. Opposition fighters watched
    the strikes closely, hoping that the bombardment will open the way for their
    advance on the capital.

    Pentagon officials also reported that a U.S. helicopter came under fire in
    Pakistan on Saturday. The aircraft was trying to retrieve the wreckage of a
    Black Hawk helicopter that crashed while providing support for a U.S.
    commando raid into Afghanistan staged earlier in the day.

    The retrieval crew returned fire and left the area; no U.S. troops were hurt
    in the incident. It was the first time that a U.S. aircraft involved in the
    campaign has been shot at outside Afghanistan, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria
    Clarke said. Many Pakistanis oppose their country's role in the U.S.

    Clarke said the Pentagon had no information on civilian casualties in the
    weekend bombing mistakes, in which a Navy F-14 dropped two 500-pound bombs
    on a residential area near Kabul on Saturday night and a Navy F/A-18 Hornet
    dropped a 1,000-pound bomb near a home for the elderly near Herat on Sunday

    Bombing Mistakes Called 'Rare Errors'

    There was some confusion about what had been hit in Herat. In Pakistan, a
    United Nations spokeswoman said U.S. air attacks had destroyed a military
    hospital on the eastern outskirts of Herat, according to reports from U.N.
    local staff in the area. The spokeswoman said the hospital was in a military

    Clarke said she was uncertain whether the U.N. report referred to the home
    for the elderly, which was 300 feet from a vehicle storage facility at an
    army barracks that had been the bomb's intended target.

    Taliban officials had claimed Monday that a hospital in the Herat area had
    been bombed, killing about 100 people. They asserted Tuesday that the
    civilian death toll since the U.S. air attacks began Oct. 7 has surpassed

    Clarke dismissed the Taliban claims as "outright lies" and said civilian
    casualties have been "extremely limited."

    "As we always say, we regret any loss of civilian life," she said. "U.S.
    forces are intentionally striking only military and terrorist targets. We
    take great care in our targeting process to avoid civilian casualties."

    Still, analysts cautioned that even a small number of civilian deaths can
    damage the U.S. effort to maintain support among Arab and Muslim nations for
    the war on terrorism.

    "It is a sensitive issue because of the question about whether this is a war
    against terrorism or whether this is a war on the Afghan people and a war on
    Islam," said John Pike, an analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, a defense policy
    research firm in Alexandria, Va. "When you hit the right target, it's a war
    on terrorism, and when you hit the wrong target, it's a war on Islam."

    Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem, a senior official with the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff, called the errant bombings "rare errors."

    He also said he has seen evidence suggesting that some Taliban forces may be
    hiding in residential neighborhoods, aware of the efforts by the U.S.
    military to avoid hitting such areas.

    The U.N. humanitarian coordinator's office supported that theory Tuesday.
    The office said its representatives in Afghanistan reported that residential
    areas were indeed becoming more dangerous because Taliban troops have moved
    into them. The office said reports from Kabul indicated that several bombs
    have hit residential areas close to health and food aid centers.

    So far, U.S. forces have used more than 3,000 bombs and missiles in the air
    attack on Afghanistan. On each mission, Stufflebeem said, "we're going after
    a very specific military Taliban target, and we're using very precise ways
    to get at it."

    Still, he acknowledged that technological or human errors can cause the
    weapons to miss their targets. Weather also can be a factor, he said;
    conditions such as dust, humidity or wind can affect the accuracy of the
    laser-guided bombs and missiles the U.S. has been using.

    Stufflebeem said bombing continued Tuesday throughout Afghanistan.

    About 80 U.S. fighter jets and bombers struck 11 target areas Monday, he
    said, including airfields, radar equipment, military garrisons, military
    training facilities, bunkers and moving targets such as tanks.

    Many of the attacks, he asserted, focused on Taliban forces fighting
    opposition groups in northern Afghanistan.

    As the airstrikes continue, Stufflebeem said that evidence is emerging that
    supply lines for Taliban troops and their allies in the Al Qaeda terrorist
    network have been disrupted, as have their housing and training facilities.

    "We have struck all of the terrorist training camps that we are aware of,"
    Stufflebeem said.

    He also charged that Taliban forces have taken over several Red Cross
    warehouses loaded with food and that they appear to be using the stored
    goods to feed troops rather than civilians.

    "They're denying that to the people who need it," Stufflebeem said. "I make
    an assumption that they're keeping that for themselves because they don't
    have an ability to resupply easily."

    Monday's operation utilized about 60 tactical jets based on three carriers
    in the region and about 10 land-based tactical aircraft, including AC-130
    gunships, as well as about 10 long-range bombers.

    Four C-17 cargo planes dropped 57,000 packages of food in Afghanistan on
    Tuesday, while the military helped U.S. aid officials deliver 30,000
    blankets to Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, Stufflebeem said.

    The Pentagon also disclosed that during Saturday's commando raids into
    Afghanistan, the landing gear and part of the undercarriage of an MH-47
    helicopter were sheared off when the aircraft hit a wall. The helicopter was
    flying fast and low as it ferried Army commando teams out of Afghanistan,
    officials said.

    It returned safely to an undisclosed base, officials said.


    US confesses to stray bombs.

    BBC. 23 October 2001

    The UN has announced that a military hospital has been destroyed in the
    western Afghan city of Herat, as Washington admits that at least three
    bombs have missed their intended targets.

    United Nations spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker told a news conference in
    Pakistan that the 100-bed hospital was reportedly struck on Sunday
    during the air campaign.

    The Taleban claims that 100 patients and medical workers were killed.
    Taleban officials also say a US bomb fell on a mosque in the same city,
    killing 15 people praying inside.

    The Pentagon could not confirm the hospital incident, but an official
    acknowledged that a "systems malfunction" was responsible for at least
    three bombs going off-course over the weekend.

    US Assistant Secretary of Defence Victoria Clarke said that two
    500-tonne bombs had accidentally dropped on a residential area northwest
    of Kabul on Saturday, and that on Sunday a 1,000-tonne bomb had been
    dropped on a field next to an old peoples' residential home.

    Washington is now also admitting that a helicopter involved in a raid
    near Kandahar lost part of its landing gear after being shot at,
    although it managed to return safely to base.

    After a day-long respite for Kabul itself, American bombing resumed on
    Tuesday, with residents reporting raids throughout the day.


    Propaganda, ignorance and jingoism


    By Chris Grant
    October 24, 2001


    "We are targeting military installations."

    Propaganda. We are targeting whatever it is that we feel like. These
    military installations appear to be innocent civilians. At least, that's
    the way it appears to me. A little lower down, I ask for evidence to link
    Osama bin Laden to the September 11 attacks, evidence that we were promised
    nearly two months ago. To show good faith, I present my evidence of the
    above accusation:

    Eight in one family killed as planes hit Kabul suburb

    Four children among dead as blood bank runs dry in city hospital

    Rory McCarthy in Islamabad
    Monday October 22, 2001


    Eight members of an Afghan family were killed yesterday when their house in
    a residential district of Kabul was blown apart in a wave of US military
    strikes, witnesses said.

    Compelling accounts from neighbours gave independent confirmation of one of
    the worst attacks on civilians since the US bombing campaign began just
    over two weeks ago.

    The dead included four boys, aged four, five, seven and eight, and their
    mother. Their home in the Khair Khana district, which is close to a
    deserted military base and around two miles from the airport, was flattened
    shortly before lunchtime.

    Last night the bodies of the Kabul family lay on hospital beds covered with
    bloodied sheets.

    "There was no blood, otherwise we could have saved two of these children.
    They died in the hospital," their uncle said.

    End excerpt. If you want to read the entire story, I direct you to the
    Guardian Unlimited website.

    "We are the good guys."

    Propaganda. In a war, there are no "good guys", nor are there any "bad
    guys". There is, however, death, destruction, blood, massacres, the
    relocation, dislocation and, in many cases, elimination of whole groups of
    people (even if they are not killed). That's what war has. No "good guys",
    no "bad guys". Only pain.

    "The Taliban is lying to the people of the world."

    The illegal Bush administration admitted that they are lying. They say that
    this is to insure that operations go off as smoothly as possible. Point to
    the separation between the two sides in this war, please.

    "The country is united."

    The country is far from united. At last check, there was anywhere from 10
    to 30 percent opposed to this war. Those of you in the 70 to 90 percent
    range of approval are probably about to say, "Majority rules." In your
    minds and in the minds of way too many people, that maxim is true. However,
    it is the least of us that the Constitution protects. The First Amendment
    is one such protective measure. It insures that I can stand on a street
    corner and say that I'm hungry and no one can tell me otherwise. Why do you
    think there are appeals for those that lose cases but no appeals for
    someone that believes that they should get more money out of a court case won?

    This country is not united, no matter what phrase you wish to use.

    Which leads me to...

    "George W. Bush is a brilliant president."

    George W. Bush is a former drunk (though there is speculation that he's
    still taking a nip every other hour) who, grades not anywhere near adequate
    to enter Yale had his daddy pull strings. George W. Bush is a former
    cocaine addict (though, you know what they say about once an addict...)
    who, once it appeared as if Vietnam was going claim him as one its victims,
    had his daddy pull strings. George W. Bush is a failure in business. When
    he started to flush the family fortune and "good name" down the toilet, his
    daddy was once again there to save him, bailing him out (though I doubt
    highly that this was the first time he had to bail him out). See below for
    the name of one of these businesses George Sr. had to ride to the rescue
    on. Why do you think George Jr. was placed in politics? It wasn't for his
    smarts. It was simply to insure that the Bush family treasure chest would
    exist a little while longer. Why use his family's money and piss it all
    away when he can take other people's!
      money (another drug that George was addicted to immediately)?

    George W. Bush is not even the president. How can he be brilliant?

    "Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect..."

    That is the focusing lens. Look there, burn him down, hate him, hate him,
    hate him.

    I say, "Prove it." Colin Powell promised evidence on such a scale that you
    would have absolutely no doubt as to bin Laden's guilt. We have yet to see
    this proof. I've been told that we don't need proof, that we should
    eliminate bin Laden, no questions asked. Are we vigilantes or are we a
    "law-abiding" country?

    In the 1980s, Osama bin Laden was our man in Afghanistan against the "evil
    empire", the U.S.S.R. Now, Osama bin Laden is our target. We built bin
    Laden. If you want to take him apart, you cannot take him apart alone.
    Reagan and Bush, Sr. (alongside Bush, Jr. what with his Arbusto Oil
    dealings with bin Laden) spring to mind immediately. How's about we take
    the light and shine it on these cockroaches along with bin Laden before we
    start stepping on anyone?

    The administration would like us to...


    Click our boot heels together.

    Raise our right arm and salute.

    Say the magic words.

    "Heil Bush! Heil Bush! Heil Bush!"

    Die Leute! Das Vaterland! Der Fhrer!



    "We're feeding [the Afghani people]."

    As I stated in my previous commentary, this is a lie. Yes, we are dropping
    packets of what is supposedly food on the country of Afghanistan. That is
    as far as the truth goes. The Northern Alliance has recovered food in
    previous weeks and taken it to market to be sold to people who have nothing
    to begin with. The Taliban is reported to have taken the packets and burned
    them. The Americans dropping the food in the first place are dropping them
    in minefields. The Americans dropping the food in the first place have
    dropped bombs on an International Red Cross supply building. No one was
    killed but the supplies were completely destroyed.

    We're feeding them. We're bombing them. We're killing them. It's all
    happening at the same time. The media would have you focus on one of the
    above activities. Can you guess which one?

    "We're doing this for the very survival of America."

    Now who could disagree with that?

    This is such a falsehood it should be under the propaganda section of this

    There are many, many other reasons why we're "doing this".

    There are two obvious surface answers. This is the first.

    But dig a little deeper. Find the answers that actually make sense.

    Oil. Afghanistan has nice stores of the black gold that seems to make the
    world go 'round. The US government has already struck deals in Pakistan for
    their oil. Shall we take odds on who's going to get the first contract to
    drill in Afghanistan?

    Drugs. Heroin is the most productive natural resource in Afghanistan. And a
    pet theory of mine is, "Why not bring all that good stuff into America?"
    Get the next generation hooked into the machine, put them away or put them
    in the hole with an addiction and the world is your oyster^until the next
    generation. Then we go to war again.

    Eliminate bin Laden to keep him from shedding light on dealings that he's
    had with the Bush family or the Carlyle Group (they are almost the exact
    same entity). We did it with Noriega. We attempted to do it with Hussein.
    Why not bin Laden?

    "This is being done because they killed 6,000 of ours."

    This is the second obvious surface answer. And while the obvious wrong is
    in the comment itself (of the 6,000 killed September 11, some 60 countries
    were affected; it wasn't just "ours"), I have a proposal for you.

    Go talk with a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a child of someone
    that died in New York.

    Go talk with a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a child of someone
    that was killed in Washington.

    Go talk with a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a child of someone
    that died outside of Pittsburgh.

    Go ask them if they feel good knowing that we're killing people that had
    nothing to do with anything except for the fact that they attempt to
    survive in Afghanistan.

    Go ask them if they think that their parent, friend, sibling, spouse, son
    or daughter would have wanted this.

    Go ask them if they think that their parent, friend, sibling, spouse, son
    or daughter would have cackled with glee as Afghanis fled from their homes.

    I would hope that the door would slam in your face after they told you that
    you were insane.

    "We have a lot of reports from the ground to the effect that the Afghan,
    innocent Afghan people are, are going about their affairs pretty much as

    That came from the mouth of the same jackass that made the comment, "We're
    not running out of targets, Afghanistan is." Donald Rumsfeld. You are a
    thug, a punk and are obviously suffering from some neurological disorder,
    Rumsfeld. This is S.O.P. in Afghanistan? Bombs fall on Afghanistan every day?

    Let's hook your ass up to a bomb, Rummy. And, as you fall on Afghanistan,
    maybe you can tell us whether or not the people of Afghanistan are "going
    about their affairs pretty much as normal".



    Would you like to take my statement now, Mr. McCarthy?


    Hi, nice to meet you. I must be Henry Kissinger.


    No, I actually like the First Amendment.

    "Say the Pledge of Allegiance."

    Would you like to administer the loyalty oath now or later?

    "Sing the National Anthem."

    The people sang in German the last time they were forced to do this, didn't

    "Wave the flag."

    Why? What would that accomplish except to cause a draft?

    "God bless America."

    When did this happen?

    "Support the military. Support their actions."

    Did the temperature in hell drop?

    "God is on our side."

    That's what the other side says, too. Must be two gods. No, wait. We both
    believe in the same god. Must be that we both cut the deity in two. Which
    half do we have this week?

    "Send me a dollar. We'll get it to your counterpart in Afghanistan."

    Using the children of America. Somewhere, Hitler smiled with admiration.


    Anti-war MPs in Labour resent gag order


    The Hindu
    October 23, 2001
    By Hasan Suroor

    LONDON, OCT. 22. The row in the Labour Party over the
    continued bombing in Afghanistan has escalated with
    the anti-war MPs refusing to tone down their criticism
    despite a gag order which one MP called a
    ``McCarthyite witchhunt''. They have protested at
    being treated like ``circus dogs'' with the party
    whips trying to put them on leash in a bid to prevent
    them from publicly airing their views on the military

    The row comes amid report that the British Government
    is on the verge of committing its ground troops in
    Afghanistan. One MP, Mr. Paul Marsden, has embarrassed
    the leadership by briefing a tabloid on his
    conversation with the party chief whip, Ms. Hilary
    Armstrong, during which she sharply told him to fall
    in line with the government policy. ``I want a
    guarantee that you will not speak to the media unless
    you speak to me first,'' she reportedly told him and
    when he insisted that he had a right to air his views,
    she retorted: ``It was people like you who appeased
    Hitler in 1938.''

    The Sunday Telegraph quoted Ms. Armstrong as saying
    that Mr. Marsden had ``got problems'' but he would
    ``sort them out eventually''. He is among the most
    outspoken critics of the Blair Government's all-out
    support for the war in Afghanistan and is backed by
    two senior MPs, Mr. Tam Dalyell and Mr. George
    Galloway besides a host of younger backbenchers.
    Already known as ``rebels'' on the issue, they are
    reported to be busy mobilising support for a pressure
    group called ``Labour Against the Bombing'' and,
    according to The Guardian, they hope to attract upto
    30 MPs in addition to the moral support of non-Labour
    critics of the war. They plan to step up their demand
    for a pause in the bombing so that sufficient food and
    other relief material can be reached to the people
    before the onset of winter.

    Last week, they joined an American anti-war
    campaigner, Mr. David Pickering's petition to Downing
    Street opposing the ``instruments of war'' to deal
    with the crisis following the September 11 outrage.
    Mr. Pickering's website is said to have received
    messages of support from over 50,000 Britons. As
    reports point to a worsening humanitarian situation,
    pressure for a halt in hostilities is mounting and,
    according to a report in The Observer, the United
    Nations is ``set'' to issue an appeal for a ceasefire
    to facilitate relief work. It quoted a U.N. source as
    saying that unless the bombing stopped there would be
    a ``huge number of deaths'' due to starvation and

    The reported U.N. move, dismissed in some circles as
    speculation, follows appeal by several international
    aid agencies in the region for a pause in air strikes.
    They have criticised Britain's Secretary for
    International Development, Ms. Clare Short, for
    claiming that the bombing was not coming in the way of
    providing relief - a line strongly articulated by the
    Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, who told Parliament
    that it was the Taliban who were proving to be a

    The British aid agency, Christian Aid, has term Ms.
    Short's statement ``misleading'' alleging that the
    Government's ``spin doctors'' were showing ``callous
    disregard'' for people's suffering. Observers pointed
    out that while the Government was right in accusing
    the Taliban of creating problems it was also true that
    because of the relentless bombing it was not possible
    to get food to the people. A spokesman of the World
    Food Programme, Mr. Michael Huggins, has said that
    food distribution has been severely disrupted as truck
    drivers refuse to go into areas where bombs are


      Peace Coalition Calls for Cross Canada Day of Action Against War and
    Corporate Globalization

    For Immediate Release
    October 22, 2001

      The September Eleventh Peace Coalition has called on groups across the
    country to join a cross Canada day of non-violent action for Global
    Peace and Justice Saturday November 17th, 2001.

      Actions will call on the Canadian government to withdraw Canadian
    Forces from military action and to asses WTO, IMF and World Bank
    agreements and policies based on peace and economic development.

      The coalition announced that already events are being planned in towns
    and cities across the country. "Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto are among
    the more high profile cities that will have non-violent actions against
    war and corporate globalization," said Peter Coombes, National Organizer
    of End the Arms Race, and Co-chair of the September 11 Peace Coalition.

      The November 17th call for a cross Canada day of action for Global
    Peace and Justice coincides with the recently announced meetings of the
    G-20 Finance Ministerial meetings to be held in Ottawa on the same day.

      "The Government must use the upcoming meetings of the G20, IMF, and
    World Bank in Ottawa to asses current agreements and policies of
    institutions such as the WTO, IMF, and World Bank against Canadian
    values of promoting peace, social justice, and security for all people,"
    said Steven Staples of the Council of Canadians.

      "The alternative to war is to begin rebuilding the world's
    infrastructures and to provide the things that working people need, like
    food, shelter, medical care, education, jobs and justice. Canadians
    implicitly understand the need for real justice and that's why thousands
    of people across the country will participate in the November 17th day
    of Global Peace and Justice," said Deborah Bourque of the Canadian Union
    of Postal Workers, and Co-chair of the September 11 Peace Coalition.

      The September Eleventh Peace Coalition, which includes high-profile
    national peace, labour, students, religious, women, environmental,
    cultural and community groups formed October 5th to oppose Canada's
    participation in military retaliation and to speak out against racist
    attacks resulting from the September 11 terrorists attacks on the United

    For more information contact:
    Peter Coombes, End the Arms Race 604-687-3223
    Steven Staples, The Council of Canadians 613-233-2773 x235


    Large protests erupt in NATO countries

    Via Workers World News Service
    Reprinted from the Oct. 25, 2001
    issue of Workers World newspaper


    By John Catalinotto

    Hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East to
    Africa to Europe took part in major demonstrations against
    the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan the weekend of Oct. 12-13.
    Two of the larger protests took place in the heart of major
    NATO powers--in London and Berlin.

    These actions took place as the U.S. continued bombing
    Afghanistan, using cluster bombs and killing Afghani
    civilians. This put the onus of terror on the Pentagon in
    the eyes of much of the world.

    Bush's war of "long duration" showed all signs of being an
    imperialist war to arrange the division of the world and its
    energy resources--especially in the Middle East and Central
    Asia. British and German participation in this war makes
    even clearer its predatory character.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been traveling around
    the world trying to build up support for the "coalition"
    Washington is using to back its moves against Afghanistan.
    Blair is a more articulate defender of imperialist interests
    than Bush, but there is no way of separating Britain's role
    from its history of colonialism, especially in that area.

    British imperialism is in the role it has occupied since
    1945--junior partner of U.S. imperialism. While its
    political leaders put their experience running the British
    Empire at the service of Washington, they make sure the
    British ruling class gets its share of the plunder.

    But while the New York Times happily reprints Blair's
    speeches, he has aroused growing opposition at home.

    What distinguished the march in London, which organizers
    said was 50,000 strong, was the broad multinational
    participation. There was an especially large contingent from
    the Muslim community--mainly South Asian--living in England
    that is now about 4 million people.

    Salma Yakoob of the Stop the War Coalition in Birmingham,
    speaking in Trafalgar Square, described it well: "If only
    the leftists had been here today, people would have said we
    were all lefties," she said. ''If only CND [Campaign for
    Nuclear Disarmament] had been here, they would have said it
    was the middle-class elite. If it was only the Muslims, they
    would have called us extremists. If it was only Asians and
    Black people, they would have said it was the ethnic

    "Tony Blair, we are here united against this war. You cannot
    dismiss us all.'' (The Independent, Oct. 13)

    British anti-war activist Jean Hatton told Workers World,
    "The most popular placard carried by the demonstrators
    seemed to be 'Not in our name,' a slogan used widely by
    protesters against sanctions on Iraq. Others highlighted the
    double standards employed by Western nations, where the
    deaths of thousands in Iraq caused by these sanctions go
    largely unreported."

    She added that even neighborhoods in smaller cities saw many
    expressions of solidarity between the historically British
    and the immigrant Muslim population, and a strong feeling
    that the people of Afghanistan should not suffer any
    additional hardships.

    "There is great unease across Britain. Even people who
    supported the bombing of Yugoslavia and Iraq are asking what
    can possibly be achieved by bombing a country already
    devastated by war," Hatton said.


    Since 1945, Washington has led the vast majority of
    military assaults in the world, from Korea to Kosovo. London
    and sometimes Paris send their troops in behind the
    Pentagon; at times they act on their own. The German
    military, however, was supposed to stay put--unless it was
    fighting the USSR under NATO command.

    Now for the first time Berlin has been openly invited to
    take part in the action, and the Social Democrat/Green
    government is jumping at the chance to send German youths to
    their death.

    In a major speech on Oct. 11, German Chancellor Gerhard
    Schroeder said, "The willingness to provide security through
    the military is an important declaration for Germany's
    allies." It "means a new self-conception of German foreign
    policy.... Avoiding every direct risk cannot and must not be
    the guideline of German foreign and security policy."
    (Washington Post, Oct. 12)

    He added, "There are more reasons why Germany must show its
    active solidarity ... historical reasons, contemporary
    reasons, and reasons to do with the position of Germany in
    the future."

    Schroeder's speech found an echo. "This is a defining moment
    for Germany and its role is being fixed," said Karl Kaiser,
    director of the German Council on Foreign Relations. "It
    didn't go unnoticed that when Bush spoke of the coalition
    around the U.S., he said it was Britain, France, Australia
    and Germany. And that has enormous meaning."

    The Christian Democrats also back this aggressive policy.
    Only the Party of Democratic Socialism refused to vote for
    German participation in the war on Afghanistan.

    This new eagerness to send their youth--working-class youth,
    that is--into danger should be recognized for what it is.
    This is a declaration that the German government wants to
    guarantee that German imperialism gets its share of the
    spoils. In the current crisis, that means its share of
    Middle East and Central Asian oil and gas.


    As in the U.S. and Britain, an ever-larger part of the
    German population began to fear that the Pentagon's bombing
    of Afghanistan would kill and maim innocent people there
    and only increase the dangers at home.

    In Berlin a reported 50,000 people came out against the U.S.
    war. Another 25,000 marched in Stuttgart.

    Ruediger Goebel writing in the Berlin daily newspaper Junge
    Welt on Oct. 15 noted that these protests were significantly
    larger and more youthful than any during NATO's aggression
    against Yugoslavia two years ago, with large numbers of high-
    school students taking part.

    This new youth activism is important, as it directly
    confronts the move by German ruling circles to participate
    in military adventures around the world. Some of these
    youths had participated in anti-globalization actions.

    Sebastian Schluesselburg, representing secondary-school
    students, expressed the youths' dissent in a clear voice at
    the Berlin protest. "Retaliatory military strikes have no
    backing in the German student body, Mr. Chancellor," he
    said. Earlier in the week students in Berlin had defied
    threats of school punishment to take part in anti-war

    Germany still has a drafted army, although it is moving in
    the direction of a more streamlined, professional and
    motorized force. A vocal opponent of German militarization,
    Tobias Pflueger, has already called upon German youth to
    refuse service and on German soldiers to refuse to take part
    in any support of the U.S.'s open-ended war.



    by Mumia Abu-Jamal

         As this is written, the obscene whine of bombs pierces
    the night sky over the capital city of Kabul, in the war-
    shattered nation of Afghanistan. Once again, the American
    Empire has come to the Middle East, armed with the
    glittering array of war.

         Although national opinion polls assure us that this nebulous
    war against "terrorists, and all who support them," is a popular
    one, high opinion poll ratings mask the very real and very deep
    anxiety that people feel, in their hearts, and in their guts, about
    the prospect of victory. That anxiety underlies a deep distrust
    that Americans have historically felt about the government.
    What don't they know? What are Americans not being told?
    *How will this end?*

         In truth, there is a good reason for this sense of anxiety, as
    many Americans are, without their knowledge or okay, a part
    of the secret wars that are raging around the world.

         When the United States was a very young, and indeed, an
    infant nation, a well-known national leader hatched a secret
    plot to invade and overthrow Libya. An agent of his was given
    tens of thousands of dollars, and 1,000 guns to raise a secret
    army against Libya. This U.S. State Department official was
    attached to the Navy and given the title, "Agent for the United
    States Fleet in the Mediterranean." This secret agent,
    working without the knowledge or permission of the U.S.
    Congress, entered Egypt, organized a mercenary army, and
    waged war against Libya, but was not able to destabilize the

         The government agent was Capt. William Eaton. He was
    acting under the secret orders of U.S. President, Thomas
    Jefferson, after a secret meeting of them on December 10,
    1803. (See Jerry Fresia's Toward an American Revolution:
    Exposing the Constitution & Other Illusions (Boston: South
    End Press, 1988), p. 102).

         Such secret wars have dotted the history of the U.S., and
    made her the enemy of millions, on several continents. For
    the poor in Latin America, in the Caribbean, in Africa and
    parts of Asia, the U.S. is seen as a powerful, yet schizophrenic
    child. She will arbitrarily remove leaders of governments, insert
    agents of disorder, and wage vicious propaganda wars against
    other countries through her media machine.

         In an alleged 'democracy', why is there even *ever* a
    need for secret war?

         In a nation that claims to represent the interests of the
    people, how can a secret war be waged? The two are
    simply incompatible, for if the government is (in Lincoln's
    famous words) "... of the people", how can the government
    keep secrets from itself?

         While the media may manipulate public opinion to
    justify the waging of wars, the real beneficiaries are rarely
    known, and indeed, rarely are the real causes known. The
    causes are, more often than not, economic. While citizens
    and soldiers wave flags, corporations wave wallets.

         For example, you may still find old-timers, who will tell you
    that the big, "WW II", was fought against the Nazi ideology of
    Hitler. Few would argue with the old geezer. But how many
    of us know that American corporations traded with the Nazis,
    *even during the war?* Charles Higham, in his 1984 book,
    Trading With the Enemy (Dell Books) wrote:

             What would have happened if millions of Americans
             and British people, struggling with coupons and lines
             at the gas stations, had learned that in 1942 Standard
             Oil of New Jersey [part of the Rockefeller Empire]
             managers shipped the enemy's fuel through the
             neutral Switzerland and that the enemy was shipping
             Allied fuel? Suppose the public had discovered that
             the Chase Bank in Nazi-occupied Paris after Pearl
             Harbor was doing millions of dollars worth of
             business with the enemy with the full knowledge of
             the head office in Manhattan [the Rockefeller
             family among others]? Or that Ford trucks were
             being built for the German occupation troops in
             France with authorization from Dearborn,
             Michigan? Or that Colonel Sosthenes Behn,
             the head of the international American telephone
             conglomerate ITT, flew from New York to Madrid
             to Berne during the war to help improve Hitler's
             communications systems and improve the robot
             bombs that devastated London? Or that ITT
             built the FockeWulfs that dropped bombs on
             British and American troops? Or that crucial
             ball bearings were shipped to Nazi-associated
             customers in Latin-America with the collusion
             of the vice-chairman of the U.S. War Production
             Board in partnership with Goering's cousin in
             Philadelphia when American forces were
             desperately short of them? Or that such
             arrangements were known about in Washington
             and either sanctioned or deliberately ignored?
             [pp. 184-5] (Fresia's bk, pp. 108-90).

         There are wars, and there are *wars*, apparently.
    Unfortunately, there are also secret wars, and the ones
    who are in the battle fields, or wave flags, are the last
    ones to know.


    Just War or Criminal Bombing?


    The Rule of Lawlessness

    By Carl Estabrook

    The Bush administration has answered the crimes of September 11 with crimes
    of its own, potentially greater in scale. Launching a war on Afghanistan and
    killing poor people whom we do not know, because people we do know have been
    killed, is not only cowardly and vicious, it will also ramify in human
    misery. It's not only a crime, it's a colossal blunder.

    It's important to note that Mr. Bush's war is entirely illegal. As Canadian
    lawyer Michael Mandel writes, "It violates international law and the express
    words of the United Nations Charter." The administration in fact seems to
    have a bad conscience on the point, nervously repeating that it is exerting
    its "right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter." It's the
    same transparent justification that the Clinton administration offered for
    its attack on Serbia, also not sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

    Article 51 of the UN Charter (as a treaty, binding on the US government)
    says, "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of
    individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a
    Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures
    necessary to maintain international peace and security." But no candid
    observer could see the US-directed attack on Yugoslavia as "self-defense" to
    "an armed attack ... against a member of the United Nations"; and, although
    the US was surely attacked in the present instance, killing Afghan peasants
    is hardly self-defense against that attack, or even an effective way to
    prevent future such attacks. In fact, it will have the opposite effect:
    Bush's war is the answer to Bin Laden's prayer, sending new recruits to
    resist this further insult to the Muslim world.

    The US government's contempt for the United Nations and the rule of
    international law was illustrated once again the day after the bombing of
    Afghanistan began. The new UN ambassador, John Negroponte, who participated
    in the Reagan administration's terrorist war against Nicaragua as ambassador
    to Honduras, delivered a brief letter to the Security Council that managed
    to refer twice to "the inherent right of self-defense," and included a
    top-lofty line that would be comical, were it not murderous: "We may find
    that our self-defense [third mention] requires further actions with respect
    to other organizations and other States." Even the diplomatic
    Secretary-General admitted that that was "disturbing."

    Some have argued that the atrocities of September 11 justify an armed
    response by the US against those who might bear some responsibility for the
    attacks or who supported them. Such a war would be a "just war," it is
    argued, with reference to a long legal and philosophical tradition. It is in
    fact a tradition worth examining, because it represents accumulated wisdom
    on when you might kill someone. (The first president Bush called his
    invasion of Panama "Operation Just Cause," and the original name for the
    current assault was "Operation Infinite Justice.")

    But one of the requirements for a just war is that it be a last resort, that
    all attempts to settle the matter short of force be exhausted. That is
    manifestly not the case in the present instance. Not only has the Bush
    administration brushed aside the UN, it has also refused the offer from the
    effective government of Afghanistan to discuss the terrorist networks
    purportedly based in their country -- just as, it must be said, the US
    refused offers to negotiate from the other side before both the Gulf War and
    the Serbian War.

    It has become clear in the last decade that military force -- killing
    people -- is the area in which the US has its greatest comparative advantage
    in competition with the rest of the world. The US government intends to make
    sure that attempts, however brutal and horrific, to equal its readiness to
    kill, will be met with even more killing. The US has simply refused to use
    the mechanisms of international law -- the UN Security Council, authorized
    to take "measures necessary to maintain international peace and security";
    the World Court, which has rendered judgements about international terrorism
    (admittedly, against the US); and perhaps a special court constructed for
    the purpose, as in the cases of Lockerbie and the former Republic of
    Yugoslavia -- to pursue the perpetrators of the September 11 crimes and
    their accessories.

    That would of course be easier, had the US not spent a generation
    undermining the UN. In that period the US constantly ham-strung the Security
    Council with vetoes, far more than any other country, and subverted the
    specialized agencies, as in Iraq. The US, the state that advertises itself
    as founded on reason and the rule of law, has transformed itself into an
    international outlaw, the greatest rogue state. Much of humanity may suffer
    from this crime for years to come.


    US bombs hit civilian districts in chase for Taliban troops: UN

    AFP; Reuters. 23 October 2001

    U.S. Planes Kill 93 Afghans Near Kandahar, Jazeera.

    ISLAMABAD and DUBAI -- The United Nations said Tuesday that US air
    attacks were hitting civilian districts in the Afghan capital, Kabul,
    because the Taliban was sending troops into those areas.

    "Reports are indicating that several bombs have hit residential areas in
    Khair Khana close to health and feeding centres," UN spokeswoman
    Stephanie Bunker told a press conference in Islamabad.

    "In addition a residential area called Macroyan has been hit.

    "Residential areas and some villages around Kabul are becoming more
    dangerous because Taliban troops are moving into those areas."

    Meanwhile, Qatar's al-Jazeera television reported that U.S. military
    strikes on Afghanistan Tuesday had killed 93 civilians in a village near
    Kandahar, including 18 members of one family,

    The satellite channel said that at least 40 other civilians were wounded
    in the attack by U.S. warplanes on the village some 37 miles northeast
    of Kandahar, which it identified as Chukar.

    It said the 18 family members who died in the attack had fled Kandahar
    for safety in the village following U.S. military strikes on the city, a
    Taliban stronghold.

    Jazeera broadcast videophone footage provided by its correspondent in
    Kandahar, Youssef al-Shouli, showing a row of corpses wrapped in white
    shrouds lined up against the wall inside a room.

    At least one of the corpses was that of a child and a second was of an
    elderly man.

    The television also broadcast footage of children, women and elderly men
    receiving treatment at a hospital in Kandahar.


    UN confirms US attack on Afghan hospital


    The United Nations has confirmed that the US bombed a military hospital near
    the northern Afghan city of Herat yesterday, but said it has no information
    on casualties.
    Afghanistan's Taliban Government announced yesterday that a bomb had hit the
    hospital, killing 100 patients and staff.
    US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied the attack had taken place but
    the UN said its sources inside the country have been able to confirm the
    The hospital was inside a military compound on the eastern edge of Herat,
    according to the UN.
    Officials said they are unable to say if the hospital was being used at the
    time of the attack or whether any civilians or military personnel were
    killed or hurt.
    The Taliban's Ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, said yesterday that
    the attack proves the US is deliberately targeting civilians.
    "It is now clear that the American planes are intentionally targeting the
    Afghan people," he said.
    "The goal is to punish the Afghan people for having chosen an Islamic


    Qatar condemns US attacks on Afghanistan


    (AFX-Focus) 2001-10-23

    TEHRAN (AFX) - Qatar's foreign minister has condemned the US-led military
    strikes on Afghanistan as "unacceptable", following talks in Tehran.
    "The attacks against Afghanistan are unacceptable and we have condemned
    them. It is our clear position," Sheikh Hamad bin-Jassem bin-Jabr al-Thani

    He was speaking to reporters after a meeting between Qatar's emir, Sheik
    Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and president Mohammed Khatami said.

    "What is happening in Afghanistan concerns the Islamic world, and we think
    that the culprits of the Sept 11 attacks, no matter who they are, should be
    tried justly.

    "We think that the Afghan people should not be the victims of these
    attacks," the foreign minister added.

    Speaking just ahead of the Qatari delegation's departure, the minister said
    the two sides had talked over the Afghan "without discussing the future of
    that country, because it is up to the Afghan people to decide" their fate.

    "For Afghanistan, we do not have precise plans and we think that it is
    unnecessary to call for a summit of the Organisation of the Islamic
    Conference," he said.

    Officials said the emir will visit Riyadh on Sunday for talks on the Afghan
    and Palestinian crises.

    The London-based Al-Hayat daily said the visit was scheduled after a
    telephone conversation between Sheikh Hamad and Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah
    bin Abdel Aziz, following a deterioration of the situation in the
    Palestinian territories.


    Refugees who make it find Pakistan can be hell


    Tuesday, October 23, 2001
     From Miriam Donohoe, in Quetta, south Pakistan

    PAKISTAN: This is supposed to be heaven compared to Afghanistan. But
    thousands of refugees fleeing hunger and bombs are finding that Pakistan can
    also be hell.

    "I thought it was bad in my country, but I think it is even worse here. We
    have no food, we have nowhere to live, and people don't want us," father of
    five, Mr Ahmid Bashir, said after crossing the border at Chaman.

    After two weeks of United States bombardment, the beleaguered people of
    Afghanistan cannot take any more. They are moving in droves towards the
    southern border with Pakistan. But they are receiving a cold welcome.

    The Pakistan authorities insisted yesterday that it would not open its arms
    to Afghan refugees. At Chaman, where there is a build-up of 15,000 refugees,
    Pakistani guards fired over the heads of already frightened and shattered
    people who tried to force their way into Pakistan.

    Five people including a teenage boy were injured, most by stones thrown by
    the refugees who turned violent after nervous officials stopped everybody
    from crossing.

    A UNHCR spokeswoman said they had received reports of injuries following
    violent scuffles. "These people are so desperate they are willing to risk
    injury to get across," she said.

    The UNHCR estimates that 4,000 Afghans managed to slip through the Chaman
    crossing yesterday, on top of 6,000 who crossed on Sunday, and 10,000 last

    Some families can be seen with their possessions in carts walking around
    Quetta, after getting a bus from Chaman - such as Mr Bashir's family.

    The UNHCR said most refugees stay with families, and end up living in
    miserable and cramped conditions, or to already overcrowded camps.

    Mr Bashir was not sure where his family would stay. "We are tired and
    hungry. I don't know what is going to happen our family," said the labourer
    who fled Kandahar five days ago to get away from bombs.

    There are still no new refugee camps to cater for the influx on this side of
    the border, and no food or medical aid yet being distributed. Yesterday the
    UN called on Pakistan and other countries bordering Pakistan to open their
    borders to the refugees.

    A Pakistan Foreign Ministry official said it was not in a position to really
    take care of massive flows of Afghan refugees into Pakistan.

    He said while Pakistan's 1,560-mile border with Afghanistan cannot be
    completely sealed, the government position not to allow people to cross into
    Pakistan without valid documents continues to remain in force.

    The spokesman said Pakistan was "trying whatever is possible" to allow
    international humanitarian agencies to send food and other relief goods into
    Afghanistan to contain pressure for Afghans to leave their country.

    Many of the arrivals have injuries. They have grim tales of hundreds of
    homes destroyed and water and electricity supplies being cut off. Looting of
    houses is common, and Pakistani officials demanding money to let them

    According to the UNHCR the new refugees are coming from further afield and
    their physical condition is visibly deteriorating.

    The population of Kandahar, which has suffered the heaviest bombing in
    recent days, is thought to be down to 40 per cent.

    Only one third of the population of the capital, Kabul, is left.

    There are only four border gates on the 1,500-mile frontier, and almost 300
    crossings. Refugees are telling of paying bribes to officials, of anything
    between 30 and 100 for a family, to get across.

    Almost 1.1 million of Afghanistan's 26 million population are on the move
    inside the country, trying to escape areas that might be targets of the US
    attack. Such journeys are hazardous with around 10 million landmines
    scattered across Afghanistan. One hundred people die in accidents every

    It is not just bombing they are fleeing. The country is on the verge of
    famine after another year of drought. Before the bombing started, 3.8
    million Afghans were dependent on food aid.

    Oxfam spokesman Mr Sam Barrett, who arrived in Quetta yesterday, said they
    have reports of 400,000 Afghans in the central highlands of Hazarajat facing
    starvation. They had been living on grass but even that was running out.
    Oxfam is planning to provide water at two planned new refugee camps near

    The biggest camp will cater for 40,000 people. Concern is also involved in
    providing services at the new camp.

    The UN estimates that to avoid such mass starvation a minimum of 50,000
    tonnes of food must get into Afghanistan in the next month. That is five
    times the amount that went in last month.

    However, the bombing means that many truck drivers are afraid to journey
    deep into Afghanistan or load or unload food. What is going in is often then
    left at warehouses and not reaching the people who need it. And in the past
    week there have been reports of looting of aid supplies by the Taliban.


    America's pipe dream


    A pro-western regime in Kabul should give the US an Afghan route for Caspian

    by George Monbiot
    Tuesday October 23, 2001
    The Guardian

    "Is there any man, is there any woman, let me say any child here," Woodrow
    Wilson asked a year after the first world war ended, "that does not know
    that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial
    rivalry?" In 1919, as US citizens watched a shredded Europe scraping up its
    own remains, the answer may well have been no. But the lessons of war never
    last for long.

    The invasion of Afghanistan is certainly a campaign against terrorism, but
    it may also be a late colonial adventure. British ministers have warned MPs
    that opposing the war is the moral equivalent of appeasing Hitler, but in
    some respects our moral choices are closer to those of 1956 than those of
    1938. Afghanistan is as indispensable to the regional control and transport
    of oil in central Asia as Egypt was in the Middle East.

    Afghanistan has some oil and gas of its own, but not enough to qualify as a
    major strategic concern. Its northern neighbours, by contrast, contain
    reserves which could be critical to future global supply. In 1998, Dick
    Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil
    services company, remarked: "I cannot think of a time when we have had a
    region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the
    Caspian." But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only
    route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.

    Transporting all the Caspian basin's fossil fuel through Russia or
    Azerbaijan would greatly enhance Russia's political and economic control
    over the central Asian republics, which is precisely what the west has spent
    10 years trying to prevent. Piping it through Iran would enrich a regime
    which the US has been seeking to isolate. Sending it the long way round
    through China, quite aside from the strategic considerations, would be
    prohibitively expensive. But pipelines through Afghanistan would allow the
    US both to pursue its aim of "diversifying energy supply" and to penetrate
    the world's most lucrative markets. Growth in European oil consumption is
    slow and competition is intense. In south Asia, by contrast, demand is
    booming and competitors are scarce. Pumping oil south and selling it in
    Pakistan and India, in other words, is far more profitable than pumping it
    west and selling it in Europe.

    As the author Ahmed Rashid has documented, in 1995 the US oil company Unocal
    started negotiating to build oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan,
    through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian sea. The
    company's scheme required a single administration in Afghanistan, which
    would guarantee safe passage for its goods. Soon after the Taliban took
    Kabul in September 1996, the Telegraph reported that "oil industry insiders
    say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason
    why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's, has been so supportive of
    the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of
    Afghanistan". Unocal invited some of the leaders of the Taliban to Houston,
    where they were royally entertained. The company suggested paying these
    barbarians 15 cents for every thousand cubic feet of gas it pumped through
    the land they had conquered.

    For the first year of Taliban rule, US policy towards the regime appears to
    have been determined principally by Unocal's interests. In 1997 a US
    diplomat told Rashid "the Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did.
    There will be Aramco [the former US oil consortium in Saudi Arabia]
    pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with
    that." US policy began to change only when feminists and greens started
    campaigning against both Unocal's plans and the government's covert backing
    for Kabul.

    Even so, as a transcript of a congress hearing now circulating among war
    resisters shows, Unocal failed to get the message. In February 1998, John
    Maresca, its head of international relations, told representatives that the
    growth in demand for energy in Asia and sanctions against Iran determined
    that Afghanistan remained "the only other possible route" for Caspian oil.
    The company, once the Afghan government was recognised by foreign diplomats
    and banks, still hoped to build a 1,000-mile pipeline, which would carry a
    million barrels a day. Only in December 1998, four months after the embassy
    bombings in east Africa, did Unocal drop its plans.

    But Afghanistan's strategic importance has not changed. In September, a few
    days before the attack on New York, the US energy information administration
    reported that "Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems
    from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and
    natural gas exports from central Asia to the Arabian sea. This potential
    includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines
    through Afghanistan". Given that the US government is dominated by former
    oil industry executives, we would be foolish to suppose that such plans no
    longer figure in its strategic thinking. As the researcher Keith Fisher has
    pointed out, the possible economic outcomes of the war in Afghanistan mirror
    the possible economic outcomes of the war in the Balkans, where the
    development of "Corridor 8", an economic zone built around a pipeline
    carrying oil and gas from the Caspian to Europe, is a critical allied

    American foreign policy is governed by the doctrine of "full-spectrum
    dominance", which means that the US should control military, economic and
    political development worldwide. China has responded by seeking to expand
    its interests in central Asia. The defence white paper Beijing published
    last year argued that "China's fundamental interests lie in ... the
    establishment and maintenance of a new regional security order". In June,
    China and Russia pulled four central Asian republics into a "Shanghai
    cooperation organisation". Its purpose, according to Jiang Zemin, is to
    "foster world multi-polarisation", by which he means contesting US
    full-spectrum dominance.

    If the US succeeds in overthrowing the Taliban and replacing them with a
    stable and grateful pro-western government and if the US then binds the
    economies of central Asia to that of its ally Pakistan, it will have crushed
    not only terrorism, but also the growing ambitions of both Russia and China.
    Afghanistan, as ever, is the key to the western domination of Asia.

    We have argued on these pages about whether terrorism is likely to be
    deterred or encouraged by the invasion of Afghanistan, or whether the plight
    of the starving there will be relieved or exacerbated by attempts to destroy
    the Taliban. But neither of these considerations describes the full scope
    and purpose of this war. As John Flynn wrote in 1944: "The enemy aggressor
    is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are
    always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to
    regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to
    civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering
    accidentally into their oil wells." I believe that the US government is
    genuine in its attempt to stamp out terrorism by military force in
    Afghanistan, however misguided that may be. But we would be nave to believe
    that this is all it is doing.

    Anti-war resources:

    New this issue:
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