[sixties-l] Antiwar News...(# 26) (fwd)

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Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 01:27:41 EST

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    Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 16:14:58 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Antiwar News...(# 26)

    Antiwar News...(# 26)

    --Red Cross angry over second bomb attack
    --Quetta hospitals near crisis point as war wounded arrive
    --Bombs leave children in shock, destroy radio
    --Red Cross depots in flames as US aircraft strike again
    --Insult and injury in Afghanistan: America's ill-conceived war on terror
    --Why Do They Want to Kill Us?
    --Collateral Damage
    --Evidence of restraint
    --US general confirms use of cluster bombs on Taliban
    --STARC Global Peace and Justice Packet!!!
    --Pakistani Public Reacts to U.S. Bombardment
    --Afghanistan: We didn't have to do this
    --It's time Americans asked, `Why us?'
    --As the refugees crowd the borders, we'll be blaming someone else
    --UN acknowledges US targeting of civilian neighborhoods
    --Poisoning the Well

    Also of interest (links only):
            *Afghan War photos
            *Afghan war costs $1.2 billion per month
            *FBI terror detentions questioned
            *A commentary on the Abdul Haq debacle
            *Terrorism Cripples U.S. Consumer Spending
            *Foreigners Rush to Help Taliban
            *Decent People Reject Terrorism and U.S. Bombing at the Same Time
            *America's Crisis Can Help Us Connect With Victims of Terror Around the World
            *17 Arrested at Connecticut Anti-War Rally
            *Jets strike Kabul on day of prayer
            *Afghan Exiles Call for Bombing Halt
            *U.S. criticized for cluster bomb use
    (Anti-war links/resources at the end.)

    Red Cross angry over second bomb attack


    Sat, 27 Oct 2001

    The international Red Cross says it deplores the US bombing for a second
    time of aid warehouses in Kabul.

    It says the buildings contained food and blankets for thousands of
    vulnerable people.

    It says each warehouse was marked clearly with a large red cross.

    The US defence department has admitted that warplanes mistakenly dropped
    eight tons of bombs on the warehouses.

    The Pentagon added that one of the bombs aimed at the complex had missed
    and hit a residential area of Kabul.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said: "The ICRC deplores the
    fact that bombs have once again been dropped on its warehouses in Kabul. A
    large red cross on a white background was clearly displayed on the roof of
    each building in the complex.

    "The ICRC reiterates that attacking or occupying facilities marked with the
    red cross emblem constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law."

    The ICRC says it told US authorities of the location of its facilities
    following the October 16 attack.

    The US had also been notified of the aid distribution taking place from the
    compound and the fact that there would be movement of vehicles and
    gathering of people at the distribution sites.

    The ICRC says it also deplores the occupation and looting of its offices in
    the Taliban-held northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif, where office equipment
    and vehicles were stolen.


    Quetta hospitals near crisis point as war wounded arrive


    DAWN, Saturday, October 27, 2001

    QUETTA: A steady flow of civilian casualties from US bombings over
    Afghanistan are arriving in Quetta's hospitals with medical authorities
    warning Friday of a potential crisis to come. Women, children and men with
    crushed legs from collapsed buildings, shrapnel wounds, missing limbs and
    head injuries are being treated. Dr Shahzad Khan said Quetta's Sandeman
    Provincial Hospital was receiving between 60 and 70 civilian war wounded
    every 24 hours and "there are many other hospitals in this community facing
    the same problem".
    Some of the patients have arrived from Afghanistan's capital Kabul and
    villages in the more remote areas of the country. But most arrived from the
    Taliban stronghold of Kandahar which the wounded described as being reduced
    to rubble and scarcely occupied, since the US bombing campaign began on
    October 7.
    The airstrikes have left Afghanistan's hospitals struggling to maintain even
    a minimum service. Many have a critical shortage of medicines and other key
    supplies. Twenty-year-old Abdul Kadar said his mosque in Kandahar had not
    escaped the devastation. "It was 9:00 pm and we went to the mosque to offer
    prayers when the bombing started. Five people were killed and seven were
    injured, all we were doing was offering prayers. We are with the Taliban,"
    he said.
    Khan said Sandeman Provincial had dedicated its orthopaedic wing for
    civilian casualties and another wing would shortly be allocated. "They are
    coming in groups by dozens and dozens," he said. Dr Saleh Tareen said
    hospitals will face a critical period if Pakistan opens its border with
    Afghanistan at Chaman, 160 kilometres northwest of here, where thousands of
    refugees have been prevented from crossing. Only the worst cases of injured
    have been allowed to cross the border and to date just a small emergency
    camp has been established at Killi Faizo on the outskirts of the Chaman
    border post.
    "Nobody can say for sure exactly how many people will come but you can be
    sure once they open that border post we will receive a lot more patients,"
    Tareen said. At Al Hajeri Al Khidmat Hospital the media were not allowed
    entry on Friday. But hospital spokesman Jalal Uddin said most of the
    patients were women and children and added: "One patient has lost his leg,
    and his entire family."


    Bombs leave children in shock, destroy radio

    DAWN, Saturday, October 27, 2001

    KABUL: Windows shattered at Kabul children's hospital, babies cried and tiny
    wounded patients went into shock as bombs shook the Afghan capital, and the
    ruling Taliban's makeshift radio was shot off the air -- yet again. It was a
    night of fear in the Afghan capital as US bombing raids aimed at punishing
    the Taliban for offering a haven to Osama bin Laden entered their 20th day.
    And even with dawn on the Muslim holy day of Friday, the bombs rained down.
    Jets roared over Kabul in the night, releasing bombs in a string of huge
    blasts that shook the city. "The explosions came in a single sequence along
    with the roar of the planes. They just came boom, boom, boom. It was huge,"
    said one resident.
    Waking up to a clear and sunny autumn morning, some children followed their
    curiosity to see the damage. But the raids weren't over. "He had gone to see
    the site of the bombing and got wounded with another relative when a rocket
    landed there," said the mother of one wounded boy at the children's
    hospital. At least five civilians were killed and six wounded overnight, an
    Information Ministry official said, as he apologised for an earlier report
    of seven dead, saying this had been revised.
    One bomb landed on a Taliban military base near the city centre and another
    landed behind the military hospital that stands close to the children's
    hospital. There were no reports of injuries from those strikes.
    DOCTORS TRAPPED, CHILDREN IN SHOCK: But doctors at the children's hospital
    said they had spent a night of terror, unable to contact their families
    because of a nighttime curfew and struggling to cope with terrified children
    with no power and with supplies running out.
    Windows at the rear of the hospital were shattered. Wounded children,
    already fearful of the night that brings with it the roar of planes and the
    boom of bombs, went into shock, doctors said. The strikes also targeted the
    Taliban's mouthpiece, the beleaguered Voice of Shariat radio station. One
    bomb hit the site of the new mobile radio transmitter with one-kilowatt
    capacity that had been set up after the main transmitter in the eastern
    outskirts of Kabul was destroyed by bombs at the start of the US campaign.
    "You can only hear it in Kabul and its programmes are for one hour in the
    afternoon. The programmes consist of religious hymns and news," Information
    Ministry official Nasiri had told Reuters on Wednesday. Two days later it
    was gone. And in the morning, a cruise missile killed two residents who went
    to see the destruction. "Please go away. More rockets will come. Two
    children died in the morning here," said a guard at the former
    communications centre where new transmitter had resumed broadcasts.


    Red Cross depots in flames as US aircraft strike again


    By Mark Baker, Herald Correspondent in Islamabad and agencies

    Three Red Cross warehouses in Kabul were in flames yesterday after renewed
    air attacks by the United States.

    "It has happened again," said Mario Musa, a spokesman for the International
    Committee of the Red Cross. "At 11:30am (Afghan time) huge explosions took
    place and three of our warehouses are on fire now."

    There was no immediate report of casualties, and because it was a Friday
    holiday he hoped only a few people would be in the warehouses, which housed
    essential food supplies, tents, tarpaulins, blankets and other aid supplies.

    US bombs hit Red Cross warehouses in Kabul ten days earlier.

    Pressure is growing for a quick end to the US bombing campaign in
    Afghanistan as the toll of civilian casualties rises and intensive
    diplomatic and intelligence efforts show no sign of achieving the split in
    Taliban ranks essential to building a broad-based
    future government.

    Opposition Northern Alliance forces facing strong Taliban resistance north
    of Kabul and near the city of Mazar-e-Sharif called on Thursday for more
    intensive allied attacks on Taliban front-line positions.

    The alliance spokesman, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, said five days of US air
    strikes against positions north of Kabul, where the Taliban have deployed
    about 6,000 fighters, had not been enough to enable the Northern Alliance
    forces to advance.

    "So far the level of pressure on the Taliban is not such that they will be
    demoralised, lay down their weapons and run away."

    Haron Amin, an alliance spokesman in Washington, went further. He publicly
    questioned the efficacy of America's tactics. "In order to be able to hunt
    down Osama bin Laden you need to destroy al-Qaeda. Both of these tasks
    cannot be done without the roll-back of the Taliban.

    "Apparently, thus far, the military initiative has failed. All it has
    produced is a lot of destroyed buildings and some destroyed planes and
    military infrastructure."

    It took a modest "two-star general" working a relief shift at the Pentagon's
    daily news briefing to finally admit publicly what has been painfully
    obvious for days.

    The Taliban "are proving to be tough warriors," confided Rear Admiral John
    Stuffelbeem. "I am a bit surprised at how doggedly they are holding on to

    Amid growing awareness that the war will be protracted, the British
    Government announced yesterday that 200 commandos were ready for action and
    another 400 commandos would be put "on high readiness". The Prime Minister,
    Tony Blair, has warned of possible British casualties in operations which
    Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defence staff, said could continue
    through the winter.

    The gathering cry from the Northern Alliance, and a legion of armchair
    strategists around the world, is that there will be no decisive shift in the
    balance of power in Afghanistan until and unless the US and its allies send
    in ground troops.

    This is viewed as an immensely risky proposition that none of the players
    seriously expects. The Americans show no evidence of contemplating such a
    move. A week after 100 US special forces troops raided targets near Kandahar
    in southern Afghanistan and Pentagon officials declared that further raids
    were imminent, no more has been heard about unilateral ground attacks and
    the Americans have returned to the business they know best - pounding
    Afghanistan with bombs and missiles from the relative safety of the skies.

    Meanwhile the United Nations said on Thursday that cluster bombs dropped by
    US warplanes on a village in western Afghanistan had killed nine civilians.


    Insult and injury in Afghanistan: America's ill-conceived war on terror


    To a distraught, confused American people whose pride has just been
    wounded, whose loved ones have been tragically killed, whose anger is
    fresh and sharp, the inanities about the "Clash of Civilizations" and
    the "Good vs. Evil" discourse home in unerringly. They are cynically doled
    out by government spokesmen like a daily dose of vitamins or anti-
    depressants. Regular medication ensures that mainland America continues
    to remain the enigma it has always been -- a curiously insular people,
    administered by a pathologically meddlesome, promiscuous government.

    By Arundhati Roy
    Special to MSNBC.COM

    New Delhi, October 20 - As darkness deepened over Afghanistan on Oct. 7, the
    U.S. government, backed by the International Coalition Against Terror (the
    new, amenable surrogate for the United Nations), launched air strikes
    against Afghanistan. TV channels lingered on computer-animated images of
    cruise missiles, stealth bombers, tomahawks, 'bunker-busting' missiles and
    Mark 82 high-drag bombs.

    The UN, reduced now to an ineffective acronym, wasn't even asked to mandate
    the air strikes. (As Madeleine Albright once said, "The U.S. acts
    multilaterally when it can, and unilaterally when it must.") The "evidence"
    against the terrorists was shared among friends in the "Coalition." After
    conferring, they announced that it didn't matter whether or not the
    "evidence" would stand up in a court of law. Thus, in an instant, were
    centuries of jurisprudence carelessly trashed.


    Nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism, whether it is committed
    by religious fundamentalists, private militia, people's resistance movements
    - or whether it's dressed up as a war of retribution by a recognized
    government. The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and
    Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world.
    Each innocent person that is killed must be added to, not set off against,
    the grisly toll of civilians who died in New York and Washington. People
    rarely win wars, governments rarely lose them. People get killed.

    Governments molt and regroup, hydra-headed. They first use flags to
    shrink-wrap peoples' minds and suffocate real thought, and then as
    ceremonial shrouds to cloak the mangled corpses of the willing dead. On both
    sides, in Afghanistan as well as America, civilians are now hostage to the
    actions of their own governments. Unknowingly, ordinary people in both
    countries share a common bond - they have to live with the phenomenon of
    blind, unpredictable terror. Each batch of bombs that is dropped on
    Afghanistan is matched by a corresponding escalation of mass hysteria in
    America about anthrax, more hijackings and other terrorist acts.

    There is no easy way out of the spiraling morass of terror and brutality
    that confronts the world today. It is time now for the human race to hold
    still, to delve into its wells of collective wisdom, both ancient and
    modern. What happened on Sept. 11th changed the world forever. Freedom,
    progress, wealth, technology, war - these words have taken on new meaning.
    Governments have to acknowledge this transformation, and approach their new
    tasks with a modicum of honesty and humility. Unfortunately, up to now,
    there has been no sign of any introspection from the leaders of the
    International Coalition. Or the Taliban.

    When he announced the air strikes, President George Bush said, "We're a
    peaceful nation." America's favorite Ambassador, Tony Blair, (who also holds
    the portfolio of Prime Minister of the UK), echoed him: "We're a peaceful

    So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace.


    Speaking at the FBI headquarters a few days later, President Bush said,
    "This is our calling. This is the calling of the United States of America.
    The most free nation in the world. A nation built on fundamental values that
    reject hate, reject violence, rejects murderers and rejects evil. We will
    not tire."

    Here is a list of the countries that America has been at war with - and
    bombed - since World War II: China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53),
    Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the Belgian
    Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia
    (1969-70), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua
    (1980s), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998),
    Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan.

    Certainly it does not tire - this, the Most Free nation in the world. What
    freedoms does it uphold? Within its borders, the freedoms of speech,
    religion, thought; of artistic expression, food habits, sexual preferences
    (well, to some extent) and many other exemplary, wonderful things. Outside
    its borders, the freedom to dominate, humiliate and subjugate - usually in
    the service of America's real religion, the "free market." So when the U.S.
    government christens a war Operation Infinite Justice, or Operation Enduring
    Freedom, we in the Third World feel more than a tremor of fear. Because we
    know that Infinite Justice for some means Infinite Injustice for others. And
    Enduring Freedom for some means Enduring Subjugation for others.

    The International Coalition Against Terror is a cabal of the richest
    countries in the world. Between them, they manufacture and sell almost all
    of the world's weapons, they possess the largest stockpile of weapons of
    mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear. They have fought the
    most wars, account for most of the genocide, subjection, ethnic cleansing
    and human rights violations in modern history, and have sponsored, armed and
    financed untold numbers of dictators and despots. Between them, they have
    worshiped, almost deified, the cult of violence and war. For all its
    appalling sins, the Taliban just isn't in the same league.


    The Taliban was compounded in the crumbling crucible of rubble, heroin and
    landmines in the backwash of the Cold War. Its oldest leaders are in their
    early forties. Many of them are disfigured and handicapped, missing an eye,
    an arm or a leg. They grew up in a society scarred and devastated by war.
    Between the Soviet Union and America, over 20 years, about $45 billion worth
    of arms and ammunition was poured into Afghanistan. The latest weaponry was
    the only shard of modernity to intrude upon a thoroughly medieval society.
    Young boys - many of them orphans - who grew up in those times, had guns for
    toys, never knew the security and comfort of family life, never experienced
    the company of women. Now, as adults and rulers, the Taliban beat, stone,
    rape and brutalize women, they don't seem to know what else to do with them.
    Years of war has stripped them of gentleness, inured them to kindness and
    human compassion. They dance to the percussive rhythms of bombs raining down
    around them. Now they've turned their monstrosity on their own people.


    One and a half million Afghan people lost their lives in the 20 years of
    conflict that preceded this new war. Afghanistan was reduced to rubble, and
    now, the rubble is being pounded into finer dust. By the second day of the
    air strikes, U.S. pilots were returning to their bases without dropping
    their assigned payload of bombs. As one pilot put it, Afghanistan is "not a
    target-rich environment". At a press briefing at the Pentagon, Donald
    Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, was asked if America had run out of

    "First we're going to re-hit targets," he said, "and second, we're not
    running out of targets, Afghanistan is..." This was greeted with gales of
    laughter in the Briefing Room.

    By the third day of the strikes, the U.S. Defense Department boasted that it
    had "achieved air supremacy over Afghanistan" (Did they mean that they had
    destroyed both, or maybe all 16, of Afghanistan's planes?)

    Reports have begun to trickle in about civilian casualties, about cities
    emptying out as Afghan civilians flock to the borders which have been
    closed. Main arterial roads have been blown up or sealed off. Those who have
    experience of working in Afghanistan say that by early November, food
    convoys will not be able to reach the millions of Afghans (7.5 million
    according to the UN) who run the very real risk of starving to death during
    the course of this winter. They say that in the days that are left before
    winter sets in, there can either be a war, or an attempt to reach food to
    the hungry. Not both.


    As a gesture of humanitarian support, the US government air-dropped 37,000
    packets of emergency rations into Afghanistan. It says it plans to drop a
    total of 500,000 packets. That will still only add up to a single meal for
    half a million people out of the several million in dire need of food. Aid
    workers have condemned it as a cynical, dangerous, public-relations
    exercise. They say that air-dropping food packets is worse than futile.
    First, because the food will never get to those who really need it. More
    dangerously, those who run out to retrieve the packets risk being blown up
    by land mines. A tragic alms race.

    Nevertheless, the food packets had a photo-op all to themselves. Their
    contents were listed in major newspapers. They were vegetarian, we're told,
    as per Muslim Dietary Law (!) Each yellow packet, decorated with the
    American flag, contained: rice, peanut butter, bean salad, strawberry jam,
    crackers, raisins, flat bread, an apple fruit bar, seasoning, matches, a set
    of plastic cutlery, a serviette and illustrated user instructions.

    After three years of unremitting drought, an air-dropped airline meal in
    Jalalabad! The level of cultural ineptitude, the failure to understand what
    months of relentless hunger and grinding poverty really mean, the U.S.
    government's attempt to use even this abject misery to boost its self-image,
    beggars description.

    Reverse the scenario for a moment. Imagine if the Taliban government was to
    bomb New York City, saying all the while that its real target was the U.S.
    government and its policies. And suppose, during breaks between the bombing,
    the Taliban dropped a few thousand packets containing nan and kababs impaled
    on an Afghan flag. Would the good people of New York ever find it in
    themselves to forgive the Afghan government? Even if they were hungry, even
    if they needed the food, even if they ate it, how would they ever forget the
    insult, the condescension? Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City, returned a
    gift of $10 million from a Saudi prince because it came with a few words of
    friendly advice about American policy in the Middle East. Is pride a luxury
    that only the rich are entitled to?


    Far from stamping it out, igniting this kind of rage is what creates
    terrorism. Hate and retribution don't go back into the box once you've let
    them out. For every "terrorist" or his "supporter" that is killed, hundreds
    of innocent people are being killed too. And for every hundred innocent
    people killed, there is a good chance that several future terrorists will be

    This is not to suggest that the terrorists who perpetrated the outrage on
    Sept. 11th should not be hunted down and brought to book. They must be. But
    is war the best way to track them down? Will burning the haystack find you
    the needle? Or will it escalate the anger and make the world a living hell
    for all of us?

    President George Bush recently boasted, "When I take action, I'm not going
    to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the
    butt. It's going to be decisive." President Bush should know that there are
    no targets in Afghanistan that will give his missiles their money's worth.
    Perhaps, if only to balance his books, he should develop some cheaper
    missiles to use on cheaper targets and cheaper lives in the poor countries
    of the world. (But then, that may not make good business sense to the
    Coalition's weapons manufacturers).


    Every day that the war goes on, raging emotions are being let loose into the

    Put your ear to the ground in this part of the world, and you can hear the
    thrumming, the deadly drumbeat of burgeoning anger. Please. Please, stop the
    war now. Enough people have died. The smart missiles are just not smart
    enough. They're blowing up whole warehouses of suppressed fury.

    To a distraught, confused American people whose pride has just been wounded,
    whose loved ones have been tragically killed, whose anger is fresh and
    sharp, the inanities about the "Clash of Civilizations" and the "Good vs.
    Evil" discourse home in unerringly. They are cynically doled out by
    government spokesmen like a daily dose of vitamins or anti-depressants.
    Regular medication ensures that mainland America continues to remain the
    enigma it has always been -- a curiously insular people, administered by a
    pathologically meddlesome, promiscuous government.

    And what of the rest of us, the numb recipients of this onslaught of what we
    know to be preposterous propaganda? The daily consumers of the lies and
    brutality smeared in peanut butter and strawberry jam being air-dropped into
    our minds just like those yellow food packets. Shall we look away and eat
    because we're hungry, or shall we stare unblinking at the grim theatre
    unfolding in Afghanistan until we retch collectively and say, in one voice,
    that we have had enough?

    As the first year of the new millennium rushes to a close, one wonders -
    have we forfeited our right to dream? Will we ever be able to re-imagine
    beauty? Will it be possible ever again to watch the slow, amazed blink of a
    new-born gecko in the sun, or whisper back to the marmot who has just
    whispered in your ear - without thinking of the World Trade Center and
    Arundhati Roy was trained as an architect. She is the author of "The God of
    Small Things," for which she received the Booker Prize, and "The Cost of
    Living." Her latest book is "Power Politics," published by South End Press.
    Roy lives in New Delhi.


    Why Do They Want to Kill Us?


    October 2001
    by Jacob G. Hornberger

    Ever since the September 11 attacks, it has almost been taboo, within both
    the U.S. government and the mainstream press, to openly examine and analyze
    the three specific reasons that Osama bin Laden has given for his holy war
    against the U.S. government and the American people.

    Suppose someone has told me that he intends to kill me. Even though I intend
    to defend myself by meeting force with force, I'm going to ask him an
    important question: "Why do you want to kill me?"

    Suppose the answer is, "Because I hate you for believing that Jesus Christ
    is Lord." My response will be to defend myself because I'm not about to give
    up that belief even if it might cost me my life.

    But suppose my enemy says, "I want to kill you because you are having an
    affair with my wife." The affair would not justify his murder of me, either
    legally or morally, but it certainly might explain why he's so angry and why
    he wants to kill me. It would behoove me to have this information because I
    might decide that continuing the affair is no longer worth it and because
    altering my conduct might cause my enemy to alter his.

    But the only way I can get to that point is by asking, "Why do you want to
    kill me?"

    Osama bin Laden and his coterie of terrorists have given three reasons for
    their terrorist acts: (1) The stationing of U.S. military personnel in Saudi
    Arabia, which they say encompasses the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and
    Medina; (2) The 10-year embargo against Iraq, which, it is reported, has
    caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children; and (3) U.S.
    economic and military aid to Israel.

    One response might be: "We shouldn't care about their motives for killing --
    all that matters is that our government officials kill them before they kill
    us." But that position is problematic for two big reasons: (1) Even if
    current terrorists are killed first, wouldn't new ones, driven by the same
    motives, surface to take their place? and (2) Isn't it possible that the
    terrorists might kill many of us before our government officials find and
    kill all of them?

    A second possible response is: "The terrorists hate us so much that it
    doesn't matter what our government's foreign policy is and therefore there's
    no sense in reexamining it." Even if it is true that the terrorists are
    motivated by blind hatred, however, is it not always a good idea to
    periodically reexamine government policies, especially with the thought of
    terminating those that are not achieving their goals and that are actually
    producing perverse consequences?

    What would be wrong with a reevaluation of the U.S. government's Middle East
    policy, even while efforts are being made to bring the people who committed
    the September 11 attacks to justice? Couldn't this result in a better
    direction for our country -- one that might also alter the mindset and
    behavior of people who want to kill us? The following questions could be
    asked in such an inquiry:

    (1) Why are U.S. troops still stationed in Saudi Arabia, especially given
    that the Persian Gulf War ended some 10 years ago? Are the troops really
    based on Islamic holy lands, and is that really an important religious issue
    for Muslims? What would be the downside to immediately pulling U.S. troops
    out of Saudi Arabia?

    (2) Has the embargo against Iraq succeeded in altering Saddam Hussein's
    cruel and brutal treatment of Iraqi citizens? Has it prevented him from
    producing weapons of mass destruction, and might there be a better way to
    address that problem? Has the embargo really caused the deaths of hundreds
    of thousands of Iraqi children, as UN officials contend and, if so, why
    doesn't that alone dictate its immediate termination? What would be the
    downside to immediately ending the embargo against Iraq?

    (3) Why should the U.S. government continue giving economic and military aid
    to Israel? Why shouldn't all foreign aid be privatized, which would mean
    that American citizens would no longer be taxed for the purpose of providing
    foreign aid to anyone but would be free to privately donate their own money
    to anyone they wish, including Israel? What would be the downside to
    depoliticizing foreign aid?

    Some might suggest that a reevaluation of our government's Middle East
    policy would be "appeasing" the terrorists. But wouldn't that be a
    short-sighted excuse for continuing what is possibly a failed or bankrupt
    policy and for not trying to find what might be a better course of action
    for the future?

    Some might say that it's not patriotic to question the policies of one's own
    government during wartime. I say that genuine patriotism involves not a
    blind allegiance to one's government even in war but rather a love of
    country that sometimes entails trying to move one's government in a more
    positive, constructive direction.



    Dr Sue Wareham, <warehams@ozemail.com.au>
    President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)
    Published in The Canberra Times, 19 October 2001

    To win a war, one needs to know who the real enemy is. If the enemy is not
    another nation state but rather a seething hatred which spawns acts of
    extreme violence and uses religion to promise heavenly rewards for its
    martyrs then already there are grave problems. Bombs and missiles will be
    as effective as trying to quench a fire with kerosene.

    In the current situation, even deciding when our war on terror has
    finished will be impossible. How many terrorists, dead or alive, is
    enough? A recent study by the US Congressional Research Service stated
    that Osama bin Laden has bases or tentacles in 37 countries. That's a lot
    of bombing to do if we are really serious about smoking them all out of
    their holes. At least widening the war to target Iraq won't be necessary -
    America and Britain have already been bombing that country frequently for
    nearly three years. There's been no noticeable improvement in Saddam
    Hussein's human rights record or perceptions of security in the region,
    but never mind such detail.

    However the current war on terror has an even more fundamental problem. It
    uses the tools of terrorists. Whether or not a cruise missile is
    terrifying depends rather on which way it's pointing. The brave crews who
    launch them and the children of Jalalabad and Kabul might have different

    This really is a hearts and minds battle, in which every missile launched
    and bomb dropped plays into the hands of those whose purpose is to incite
    hatred. The evil minds which planned the September 11 atrocities now have
    the war they want. Jihad is within view. Violence is the order of the day.
    And further violence gives the terrorists the greatest prize of all - a
    flood of recruits to the cause.

    But it is not just the current pursuit of "justice" which is swelling the
    flood of recruits to the cause of anti-US hatred and, in its extreme form,
    terrorism. It is in fact the injustices which have gone before with the
    full moral and military support of the US and the Western world - the
    injustice of dehumanising apartheid-style restrictions imposed on millions
    of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, such as checkpoints on the
    roads, travel permits and identification cards; the injustice of the
    demolition of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of their olive trees as
    new Jewish settlements are built in land taken illegally; the injustice of
    several thousand Iraqi children under five dying every month since 1990
    from economic sanctions; the injustice of judging crimes against humanity
    not by their gravity but by who commits them; the injustice of Western
    economic policies which treat Third World lives and labour as dirt cheap
    commodities - to name but a few. If we were to design a breeding ground
    for hatred, we could hardly do better.

    Throw in the grave injustices perpetrated by many non-Western governments
    against their own people, including in the Middle East, and the sea of
    human discontent looks vast.

    Even before September 11, the alarm bells were ringing. Denis Halliday,
    who was senior UN administrator of the Oil-For-Food program in Iraq until
    he resigned in protest, wrote of the political fallout from the sanctions:
    "Iraq's younger generation of professionals, the political leadership of
    the future - bitter, angry, isolated and dangerously alienated from the
    world - is maturing in an environment not dissimilar to that found in
    Germany under the conditions set by the Versailles Treaty. A future
    generation of Baath Party leaders may lead Iraq onto the path followed by
    the Taliban and the fundamentalist right." His warnings continue to fall
    on deaf ears in Washington and London, and in Canberra.

    If true justice for all people was the real objective, the warships and
    bombers would all go home tomorrow. In their place would be the urgent
    establishment under the auspices of the UN of an international tribunal to
    try those accused of the September 11 crimes (as was done for the alleged
    perpetrators of the crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia); ensuring
    entry-into-force of the treaty to establish an International Criminal
    Court (which neither the US nor Australia has yet ratified); multilateral
    and multi-faceted UN-sponsored efforts to combat terrorism (including the
    enforcement of existing UN treaties on the suppression of terrorist
    financing and the suppression of terrorist bombings, both of which the US
    has failed to support); genuine humanitarian relief for the people of
    Afghanistan and help to rebuild their war-torn country, including the
    clearing of some 10 million landmines left over from previous wars; and
    some truthful answers for the people of America to the question "Why do
    they hate us?".

    In addition, the necessity of eliminating all weapons of mass destruction
    appears self-evident to most nations - but not yet to the nation which has
    most to gain by this step, the US.

    The Indian writer Arundhati Roy, in her recent essay "The Algebra of
    Infinite Justice", says of Osama bin Laden: "He has been sculpted from the
    spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its
    gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly-stated policy of
    "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives,
    its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and
    dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched
    through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts." Stern
    words, but words which reflect the desperation of countless millions for
    whom Operation Infinite Justice or Enduring Freedom or whatever words are
    now used to sanitise this unjust and unwinnable war must seem like a cruel

    The lasting answers to terrorism will be by the upholding of international
    law, and a commitment to global cooperation (with the UN as the best
    starting point for this) and real justice for all people. None of these
    are utopian or unrealistic. In fact they are the only realistic way


    Collateral Damage


    October 24, 2001
    by Alan Bock

    Poor Victoria (Torie) Clarke, a Pentagon spokesperson, got the tough job
    yesterday, that of flak-catcher. When the subject is bombs that seem to be
    destroying or disabling the Taliban and al-Qaida infrastructure, Defense
    Secretary Don Rumsfeld usually takes the assignment himself and comes off as
    affable and confident. Yesterday the subject was acknowledging that maybe
    the Taliban was right this time, that a 1,000-pound bomb seems to have
    missed its target and fell near what was described as a senior citizens'
    home in Herat on Sunday (UN employees said it was a hospital and that it was

    "Although the details are still being investigated," Ms. Clarke said,
    "preliminary indications are that the weapons guidance system malfunctioned.
    As we always say, we regret the loss of civilian life we take great care
    in our targeting process to avoid civilian casualties." While the Taliban
    claims 100 people died, Ms. Clarke said that estimate was exaggerated. She
    had no U.S. estimates, however.


    I might be reading too much into the televised news conference such
    affairs are seldom as smooth and logical in their flow in reality as they
    later seem when their results are converted into print I sensed a certain
    emerging testiness, perhaps even skepticism in some of the reporters. Some
    of the questions were simply attempts to clarify the few details apparently
    available. But some verged on concern that so few details were being made

    The paucity of details is perhaps warranted, and at least to be expected
    during wartime. There are reasons, including not tipping off the enemy, for
    official briefers to be sometimes vague and even evasive. But there is the
    American tradition of openness to consider not to mention the fact that
    Congress still has not declared war.


    The current military target seems to be the Taliban, which is as close to a
    nation-state as exists in Afghanistan these days, although all concerned
    reassure us that the real target is Osama bin Laden. It would be
    appropriate, if the enemy is a nation-state and the US Constitution still
    means anything, for Congress to declare war. But that could present
    conceptual and practical problems.

    As awful as the Taliban might be, it has not attacked the United States
    directly or declared war on the United States, as Hitler did in the wake of
    Pearl Harbor. It is accused of "harboring" Osama bin Laden who is accused
    probably correctly, although the official statements to date hardly
    constitute ironclad proof of being intimately involved in masterminding
    the September 11 atrocities. Evidence is emerging that the regime is quite
    tightly connected to bin Laden and his terrorist enterprise, which could
    mean that it is not only harboring but facilitating and perhaps even working
    hand-in-glove with him.

    The simple fact is, however, that the United States has unilaterally
    declared the Taliban to be a hostile regime, issued a series of demands it
    knew full well would not be met, and refused to negotiate with it. It might
    well be that destroying the Taliban is the necessary prelude to getting at
    the terrorist networks in Afghanistan. But the formal hostilities were
    begun by the United States.


    If harboring or facilitating terrorists are the criteria by which the United
    States will decide to go to war, however, other possible suspects exist.
    Just yesterday US Attorney General John Ashcroft who really should take
    some time off to get a sense-of-humor implant said that at least three of
    the September 11 hijackers were connected to a terrorist cell operating out
    of Hamburg, Germany, allegedly since 1999 at least.

    "It is clear that Hamburg served as a central base of operations for these
    six individuals [three dead hijackers and three current fugitives] and their
    part in planning of the Sept. 11 attack," Ashcroft said. Twelve FBI agents
    have been assigned to various locations in Germany to move the ongoing
    investigation forward.

    If the United States is to be consistent, however, when are we to expect the
    announcement of bombing runs on Hamburg or at least "pinpoint" attacks on
    the apartment where the terrorist cell allegedly stayed?

    Of course, the German government is cooperating, probably quite
    frenetically, with the US investigation, without even protesting the
    presence of foreign law enforcement agents on "its" soil. Would the US
    declare Germany a hostile regime subject to bombing if this were not so, or
    if it deemed German cooperation insufficiently helpful or enthusiastic?


    The question might be a little more pertinent in connection to Saudi Arabia.
    The bin Laden family itself, of course, has long claimed that it long ago
    severed ties with Osama the black sheep of the family and drummed him out of
    the family. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that that is true.

    However, as Neela Bannerjee put it in the Sunday New York Times:

    "The Bush administration has refrained from criticizing Saudi silence over
    the U.S.-led counterattacks against Osama bin Laden, nor has it spoken out
    about evidence that Saudi citizens finance Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida
    network and other radical Islamic organizations."

    "Moreover, although the FBI identified most of the hijackers in the Sept.
    11 attacks as Saudis, Saudi Arabia has refused to provide passenger lists of
    flights to the United States, an act the Bush administration has been
    unwilling to criticize." Furthermore, the Saudi Arabia has refused to allow
    the US to use bases planted there during the Gulf War, even as staging
    grounds for attacks on networks in Afghanistan.

    So is the Saudi regime harboring, facilitating, or aiding and abetting
    terrorism? Everyone knows it is, and some Middle East authorities even see
    the repressive regime as something of a font of terrorism.

    The Saudi regime is repressive and hypocritical, which stirs up
    fundamentalist righteous wrath. In part to compensate for this hostility,
    it funds terrorist or quasi-terrorist groups. A case can be made that
    ousting the Saudi regime would do a lot more toward the ostensible goal of
    defusing and reducing terrorism worldwide than ousting the pitiful Taliban
    regime. So when does the bombing begin?


    The bombing won't begin, of course, because Saudi Arabia is one of the
    world's chief producers of oil (essential to modern Western warfare) and
    full of people who are longtime associates of Texas oilmen one of whom
    is US commander-in-chief. These facts need to be considered, of course.
    But they make the US position notably inconsistent and vitiate the argument
    that the real goal is to punish those who contribute to or support

    I have a modest proposal, however. The United States could issue something
    of an ultimatum to the Saudis: Either cooperate fully in the ongoing
    investigations of terrorists and allow US bases in Saudi Arabia to be used
    in the military aspects of the conflict or we'll pull those bases right out
    of there.

    It could well be that the Saudis who undoubtedly fear a resurgent Saddam
    Hussein less than some spokespeople might claim to do would be privately
    pleased with such a demand. The bases might have some military and symbolic
    value to the regime, but they are also a source of friction and resentment,
    and not just from Osama clones.


    Pulling the US bases, of course, would also eliminate one of Osama bin
    Laden's ostensible grievances. That's why it would have to be spun as a
    demand from a righteously indignant and testosterone-driven United States
    rather than as a concession to the evil one. Osama (or his successors or
    aides if he's not around personally) would spin it as a victory for them, of

    But the United States would have at least a counterspin and possibly (if its
    diplomats blustered credibly enough) a preemptive spin. It might even be a
    prelude to taking the propaganda aspect of the war seriously, something the
    United States, for all its history of wanting to see its wars as righteous
    crusades, almost never does.

    There's my modest contribution to neutralizing terrorism. I'm sure it would
    be more effective than creating more Afghan rubble.


    Evidence of restraint


    Thursday, October 25, 2001
    By Llewellyn Rockwell Jr.

    American citizens who have doubts any doubts about the war have been
    subjected to an amazing barrage of hate and threats in recent days. But if
    you believe the polls that show 90 percent-plus support for this war, it
    seems oddly disproportionate to whip up hysteria against a handful of

    Rather than defend the anti-war position itself, I want to make a different
    argument. If you believe in freedom at all, you should hope that there are
    at least some doubters and protesters, regardless of the merit of their
    case. Even if you think this war is a great and necessary thing to teach the
    terrorists a lesson in American resolve, the preservation of liberty at home
    is also an important value.

    The existence of an opposition movement is evidence that some restraints on
    government still exist. The government, which is always looking for reasons
    to increase its power, needs to know that there will always be an

    The view that wartime requires complete unanimity of public opinion is not
    an American one it is a position more characteristic of Islamic or other
    totalitarian states, where differences of opinion are regarded as a threat
    to public order, and where the leadership demands 100 percent approval from
    the people. These are also states where the head of government requires that
    he be treated like a deity, that there be no questioning of his edicts, that
    he govern with unquestioned power.

    This is the very definition of despotism. Unpopular government is dangerous
    enough, popular government far more so. When public officials believe that
    there are no limits to their power, no doubters about their pronouncements,
    no cynics who question their motives, they are capable of gross abuses. This
    is true both in wartime and peacetime. The most beloved governments are most
    prone to become the most abusive.

    If you think that such despotism is not possible in the United States, you
    have not understood the American founding. Thomas Jefferson taught that
    American liberty depends on citizen willingness to be skeptical toward the
    claims of the central government. "Confidence is everywhere the parent of
    despotism," he wrote in his draft of the Kentucky Resolves. "Free government
    is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not
    confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom
    we are obliged to trust with power."

    "In questions of power," he concluded, "let no more be heard of confidence
    in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

    Wartime means that government is unleashing weapons of mass destruction
    against other human beings and their property. It is the most terrifying of
    all the powers of government. The war power, which means the power over life
    and death, can create in those who use it a feeling of omnipotence, the
    belief that they have absolute power, which gives rise to absolute
    corruption, as Lord Acton observed. This is true whether the war actions are
    popular or not.

    Now, add to that reality an additional element: The population that supports
    the war power with its taxes is consumed in nationalistic fervor to the
    point that nobody believes that government is capable of making a bad choice
    or of abusing its power. That is a sure prescription for abuse, and not only
    in wartime the government enjoys this uncritical attitude, and will demand
    it in peacetime as well. Typically, in these cases, the abuse of peoples'
    rights is not decried but celebrated.

    We have seen this happen in American history. Writing in the Wall Street
    Journal, Jay Winik reminds us that wartime abuse of presidential power has a
    long history. Lincoln imprisoned anti-war activists, including newspaper
    editors, judges and attorneys, and otherwise suspended all civil liberties.
    Wilson made it a crime to voice dissent on any aspect of the war, including
    the way it was financed. The jails were overrun with independent-minded
    people. Franklin Roosevelt did the same, and even set up internment camps
    for American citizens of Japanese descent.

    Incredibly, even ominously, Winik writes about this in defense of the
    emergency powers that wartime provides. This is why we need to trade liberty
    for security, he says, and he implies that the Bush administration needs to
    go much further to meet the (low) standards set by his predecessors.

    Winik's ultimate defense, however, involves a claim that is just plain
    wrong: "despite these previous and numerous extreme measures," writes Winik,
    "there was little long-term or corrosive effect on society after the
    security threat had subsided. When the crisis ended, normalcy returned, and
    so too did civil liberties, invariably stronger than before."

    It's true that the despotism subsided after the wars ended, if only because
    government has a difficult time trying to maintain the level of public
    support it enjoys during wartime once peace has arrived. But does government
    really return to normalcy?

    In fact, what changes is our definition of normalcy. In no case after a war
    did the government return to its prewar size. The postwar government is
    always bigger, more intrusive, more draconian, more expensive, than the
    prewar government. It feels smaller because the government is no longer
    arresting dissidents. But our standard of what constitutes freedom and
    despotism changes during wartime. Nothing has been as corrosive of American
    liberty as war.

    Wartime tyranny also creates an historical precedent for future violations
    of liberty. Every president who desires more power cites his predecessors
    who enjoyed similar power, just as the bloody legacies of FDR, Wilson and
    Lincoln are being invoked on behalf of Bush today (witness Winik's own

    Jefferson said in his first inaugural address: "If there be any among us who
    would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them
    stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may
    be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." That's why, if you
    hate the anti-war movement and want to see it suppressed, you are no friend
    to liberty, even in peacetime.
    Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in
    Auburn, Alabama. He also edits a daily news site, www.LewRockwell.com.


    US general confirms use of cluster bombs on Taliban

    By Jim Mannion
    Agence France-Presse
    October 26, 2001

    WASHINGTON As concern mounted over civilian casualties in Afghanistan, US
    military leaders on Thursday confirmed the use of cluster bombs there and
    said B-52 bombers have and will be used to pound Taliban positions with
    large numbers of unguided bombs.

    "If the target is appropriate to the kind of bombs we can drop off the
    B-52, which are generally unguided and in numbers, then we will do that and
    we have done that," said Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the
    Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who joined Myers at a Pentagon press
    conference, said B-52 bombers had flown in raid! s Tuesday against
    positions held by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime.

    US bombings, he said, were killing both Taliban troops and members of the
    al-Qaeda network, the group blamed for the September 11 suicide attacks in
    New York and Washington.

    "And they're trying to do it every day and in fact they're doing it every
    day. Those trucks that you saw and those buildings you see hit are not
    empty," Rumsfeld said, referring to video footage of the air attacks shown
    at Pentagon briefings.

    Both Rumsfeld and Myers defended the effectiveness of the 19-day-old air
    campaign while parrying criticism of civilian casualties, including a UN
    report Thursday that nine people were killed in a village outside the
    western city of Herat that was hit by cluster bombs.

    Myers said he had no knowledge about the incident, which reportedly
    occurred late Monday, but confirmed that US forces have used cluster bombs.

    "We only use the cluster munitions when they are! the most effective weapon
    for the intended target," he said. "There have not been a great number of
    them used, but they have been used."

    The bombs are designed to open above the ground and scatter anti-tank and
    anti-personnel bomblets over a wide area.

    Without saying whether any had gone astray, a senior US defense official
    told AFP that cluster bombs had been used in the area around Herat where
    the village and a nearby military compound were hit.

    Myers and Rumsfeld both expressed frustration with what they said were
    often trumped-up Taliban claims of civilian casualties. But neither was
    prepared to respond to accounts of specific villages reportedly struck by
    US bombs.


    STARC Global Peace and Justice Packet!!!

    From: Eric Romann <coachric1@yahoo.com>

    Dear Advocates for Peace and Justice,

    After much delay, the STARC Alliance Global Peace and Justice
    Campaign Packet titled "After September 11: The Roots of Hate and
    Terrorism--A Radical Education Project" is finally finished. You can
    find it here attached as an MS Word for Windows document.
    [radtimes note-- please request the Word document from Eric directly at:
    For the integrity of the document, we ask that you not make any changes.

    If you requested a printed copy of the packet, you should be
    receiving a copy in the mail in the next few days. If you would still
    like a printed copy, please send a request to campaign coordinator
    Dana Brown at dmb50@cornell.edu. For more information on the campaign
    or to let us known what events you are planning, contact Dana or
    STARC Alliance Field Organizer Laura Close at
    staffer@starcalliance.org or 503-247-5995. Or visit our organization
    and campaign websites, www.starcalliance.org and

    And don't forget: November 9 is a National Day of Radical Education
    for Peaceful Justice. Best of luck!

    In solidarity and peace,
    The STARC Global Peace and Justice Campaign


    Pakistani Public Reacts to U.S. Bombardment


    from The Laissez Faire City Times, Vol 5, No 43, October 22, 2001
    by Richard S. Ehrlich

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ^ As the civilian death toll climbs, Pakistan's
    journalists, intellectuals and public are becoming convinced that the U.S.
    bombardment of Afghanistan is a display of anti-Moslem hatred.

    Each day, Pakistan's leading newspapers publish news reports, opinion
    pieces, letters to the editors, cartoons and other commentary which spin
    truth, sensationalism and invective at readers who are trying to decide what
    to believe.

    While plenty of pro-U.S. and anti-Taliban views are printed alongside
    accurate, objective news about America's Afghanistan war, sinews of
    propaganda and startling outbursts appear on nearly every newspaper page.

    The Islamic Republic of Pakistan packs a population of 140 million people ^
    more than half the United States ^ into a land slightly double the size of

    Tens of thousands of people, essentially a hardcore minority, have protested
    in the streets against the U.S. and British bombing raids on Afghanistan
    which began Oct. 7.

    But as the war drags on and the civilian body count swells, many more
    Pakistanis may be ready to agree with the America-versus-Islam statements
    and analysis published in their morning papers.

    Periodic Attacks Against Islam

    An editorial cartoon in the Nation newspaper, for example, showed a list
    which read: "Libya, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan." The
    caption explained the six entries as, "Nothing new, periodically the U.S.
    attacks an Islamic country."

    Four days later, the same cartoonist showed a dead and dismembered Afghan
    child in the bombed wreckage of his home.

    The caption read: "No, not innocent. According to Americans, he was going to
    become another Osama."

    Meanwhile, in the middle of a seemingly normal news story about the war, a
    Nation reporter began a sentence:
    "Apart from the killing of hundreds of [Afghan] civilians in the U.S.
    attacks which started on Sunday, the Christian holy day . . ."

    Writing in the more respected Dawn newspaper, Muhammad Siddiqi warned
    readers that in the United States, "Moslems do not belong in there."

    Referring to the rhetoric and behavior of Americans after the Sept. 11
    attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he added, "For Moslems in
    general, America will never be the same again. As years pass, there may be a
    lessening of hate, but the rancor will never go away."

    Advising all Pakistanis who emigrated to the U.S. that they should
    immediately evacuate, Mr. Siddiqi said, "America was never ours. It could
    not be, for America is Western and Christian. Period."

    In the "Literati" section of The News on Sunday newspaper, Kazy Javed's "A
    Word About Letters" column reviewed books on Islam.

    The Crusade

    Mr. Javed suddenly noted: "Even U.S. President George W. Bush has not
    hesitated to refer to 'this crusade.'

    "The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz has gone further. He
    observed that 'the whole civilized world has been shocked . . . and even
    portions of the uncivilized world' ^ a clear reference to the Moslem world
    in this context," Mr. Javed added.

    Pakistan's Urdu-language newspapers, meanwhile, attract a much wider

    "On any given day, you may go through the pages of any Urdu newspaper
    published in Pakistan and it is unlikely you will come across many voices of
    moderation," said Dawn columnist Khalid Hasan.

    Referring to violent, anti-American protests by thousands of demonstrators
    in several cities, Mr. Hasan added, "The hysteria that you see in the
    streets today has been nurtured by what you read in print here.

    "The language [in Urdu newspapers] is belligerent and the appeal is directed
    at our most primeval instincts," Mr. Hasan said.

    "They thunder forth as the defenders of a faith which they claim is under
    challenge from the infidels, not realizing that the course they advocate
    leads to the abyss. Their understanding of Islam is superficial and

    "If there are any balanced and liberal voices in the Urdu press, they are
    few and far between."

    Created by Terrorists

    Letters to editors, published in various newspapers, are also often
    extremely pointed.

    "If a country can be created through terrorism, be inhabited by and large by
    terrorists and ruled by terrorists, anything is possible," wrote Muhammad
    Anwar of Lahore, referring not to Afghanistan but to Israel.

    "Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, with prices on their heads, were
    founding fathers of Israel. The Mossad being past master in terrorism can
    also bomb the World Trade Center in New York," Mr. Anwar added.

    America was "lashing out at Moslems, being blinded with hate and ego," wrote
    Abdul Khan of Karachi.

    Officials and others who write essays and op-ed pieces about America's
    latest war are also shaping public opinion.
    "Western media tried to create the impression that Islam and Moslems were
    responsible for the great tragedy in New York, although the U.S. president
    has tried his level best to tone down the hatred and anger," wrote Radio
    Pakistan's former director general Muhammad Abbas.

    "The American public wanted blood, egged on by some rash statements of some
    in power and a section of the media that preached hatred," wrote Imran Khan,
    a former cricket star who now leads the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf party.

    Mr. Khan added, "As a Pakistani, my fear is that if some Pakistani fanatics
    get involved in terrorist acts in the U.S. ^ there are some four million
    Pakistanis overseas ^ will we as a country of 140 million get blamed?

    "For the past 10 years, our country has been unable to control internal
    terrorism. What if our government cannot destroy the terrorist networks
    within? Could we face the same situation as Afghanistan?"

    Collateral Damage

    In a sarcastic and emotional opinion piece, Humayun Gauhar referred to the
    U.S.-led embargo on Iraq and asked, "If the deaths of thousands of Iraqi
    children can be brushed aside as 'collateral damage,' what fancy name shall
    I dignify September 11's [World Trade Center] innocents with? Murder?
    Massacre? Collateral damage maybe?"

    Mr. Gauhar added, "Why are the 22 most wanted people all Moslem? Why are the
    targeted countries all Moslem too?"

    He concluded, "Taliban and Osama are creations of American, Pakistani and
    Saudi intelligence."

    The U.S. and Britain said they are bombing Afghanistan to destroy its
    Islamic, Taliban regime and kill or capture Osama bin Laden and his
    terrorist al Qaeda network.

    Washington insists they are responsible for the attacks on the World Trade
    Center and the Pentagon which killed more than 5,000 people.

    The Taliban have repeatedly asked the U.S. for evidence proving Mr. bin
    Laden's guilt, so it can consider arresting or expelling him.

    America has replied it is unable to offer Afghanistan top-secret proof, but
    insisted Mr. bin Laden can legally be arrested on suspicion of involvement
    in the attacks.

    While both sides fight, Mr. bin Laden's al Qaeda network released a
    pre-recorded video message on Oct. 14 which said the U.S. retaliation was "a
    crusade against Islam and Moslems."
    Richard S. Ehrlich lives in Bangkok, Thailand. His web page is located at
    http://members.tripod.com/ehrlich, and he may be reached by email at


    Afghanistan: We didn't have to do this


    Wednesday, October 17, 2001 Page A - 19
    by Stephanie Salter

    AS LONG AS WE STILL HAVE IT, I'm going to make the most of the First
    Amendment: What we are doing in, above, and to Afghanistan is short-sighted,
    counterproductive and immoral. That I am among a mere 6 or 10 percent of
    Americans (depending on the poll) who feel this way hurts my heart.

    The amount of nonthink, or flat-out denial, that is required to support

    Operation Enduring Freedom is painful to contemplate. Sending thousands of
    kids -- "our brave men and women in uniform" -- to risk their lives for it

    We Americans have never been known for critical thought and analysis.
    Context and historical perspective rank low on our national priorities list,
    somewhere below foreign language skills but above gas conservation. Add to
    that our deliberate myopia and chronic impatience, and you have the U.S.
    military trashing big chunks of Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-I-Sharif in
    of a cave-dwelling, mass murderer and his worldwide band of suicidal

    Damn the advice from seasoned experts on terrorism and the Middle East;
    full speed ahead with the cruise missiles.

    After all, we had to do something.

    That phrase. It has been uttered so many times since Sept. 11, I expect to
    see it printed on our currency any day now. People who call themselves
    pacifists, people who admit that they are uneasy with the destruction we are
    raining down on Afghanistan -- people who can't see how this frenzy of B-1's
    is actually going to get Osama bin Laden -- offer up the phrase as if it
    a bona fide moral escape clause: We had to do something.

    Lord, yes. We'd waited more than three weeks before we started dropping
    bombs. Such restraint. Why don't we at least cut the b.s., and own up to
    exactly what it is we are doing?

    First, does the phrase "collateral damage" sound familiar? When Persian
    Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh used it to describe the 168 children and
    adults he murdered in the Oklahoma City bombing, we took it as proof of his
    evilness, as the justification that we needed to execute him.

    What is it proof of when U.S. generals use it to describe the Afghan
    civilians that our bombs already have killed? How about the untold numbers
    will die from hunger or disease on their way to refugee camps that can't

    Likely, because McVeigh shocked us with the term, "collateral damage" seems
    to have given way to a new euphemism. As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
    it last week:

    "There is no question but that when one is engaged militarily that there
    are going to be unintended loss of life." Lest anyone think him cold,
    added, "And there's no question but that I and anyone involved regrets the
    unintended loss of life."

    When U.S. civilians are killed, it's a travesty. When the dead are from
    someplace else -- especially a backward, poverty-stricken country such as
    Afghanistan -- it's regrettable.

    Second, let's be honest about the blowback, the truly lethal, political
    time bombs that we plant with every payload among millions of mainstream
    Muslims in the Middle East and Asia. George W. Bush can insist that "the
    United States is a friend to Islam." How many regrettable losses of life do
    reasonable Muslims tolerate before they begin to doubt our friendship?

    Without a doubt, after Sept. 11, we did have to do something, something
    that takes time, deep and true coalition-building and patient cunning.
    we've chosen to play into a mass murderer's hands and prove that our
    reverence for human life starts diminishing at America's borders.


    It's time Americans asked, `Why us?'

    By Raid Qusti, Arab News


    JEDDAH, 23 October ^ It is interesting to hear what Americans say
    about the events in Afghanistan. One American reader observed that of
    the 900 people allegedly killed in bombing raids, none would have
    died if the Taleban had handed over Bin Laden. Well, first of all,
    the Taleban have told the US repeatedly that they would hand over Bin
    Laden if they were shown evidence that he is guilty. But the US
    government continues to refuse to do this. Whatever happened to the
    cornerstone of American law ^ innocent until proven guilty? Is the US
    judge, jury and executioner all in one? Or has that role been given
    to the American mass media? If it is true that Bin Laden is indeed
    responsible, why not present evidence? By doing so, the US would not
    only gain more respect but also more support from Arab and Muslim

    The US specifically said that it would hit military targets. If that
    is the case, how can the continuous dropping of bombs on houses be
    explained? And what about the 2,000-pound bomb that mistakenly hit a
    civilian area and killed dozens?

    According to CNN, the military claims that terrorists could have been
    hiding in those houses. Do they plan to bomb every house in
    Afghanistan, killing the innocent and those presumed guilty? What
    about the sophisticated intelligence? Or is all that nothing but
    newspaper rubbish and hype?

    If the US really had a genuine altruistic motive in eliminating
    terrorists, why hasn't it removed Saddam Hussein long before now? And
    why in the past has it propped up other dictators? What about the
    tanks that recently entered the Palestinian territories killing
    innocent people? Is that not terrorism? Just what is the US
    definition of terrorism? Does it define the word according to its
    own "national interests"?

    The US ^ the so called "defender of human rights" ^ has not been re-
    elected to the UN human rights body. It has also refused to sign the
    UN treaty banning land mines. Can any sane person explain where is
    the humanity in that? And then George Bush tells reporters in the
    White House that he does not understand ^ is even "amazed" ^ that so
    many people all over the world hate the US!

    No thinking person objects to freedom or real democracy; all thinking
    people, however, object to hypocrisy, double standards and
    inconsistencies. And American foreign policy is perceived to be
    riddled with all three.

    Many Americans say that it is easy to criticize the United States for
    its foreign policy because it is a superpower. The UK, on the other
    hand, has not been criticized for its foreign policy but it was
    nonetheless the first country to join the US in its anti-terrorist
    campaign. Exactly my point. Demonstrators in Jakarta, Islamabad,
    Manama and other cities and towns in the world have been seen burning
    the American flag, not the British one. Effigies of George W. Bush
    are seen burning and being stamped upon but there have been no
    effigies of Tony Blair. Americans need to ask themselves why the
    Sept. 11 tragedies happened in the US. Why not the UK, Russia,
    France, Germany and China?

    How many Americans have asked themselves those questions? And of the
    number who have asked, how many have had the courage to answer
    truthfully? How many have even listened to a dissenting view?

    There was a time in American history when a statesman said to his
    opponents, "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to
    the death your right to say it." Where is that kind of honesty and
    straightforwardness which is what the world has come to admire and
    expect of America? Its unfortunate absence from most of the current
    discussions is itself one of the problems. We should note that
    British foreign policy has not been criticized because the UK does
    not veto every single resolution in the UN Security Council that
    calls for an end to Israeli aggression and that Israel should be
    punished for its actions.

    The UK did not withdraw from the Durban conference because Israel was
    accused of being a "racist nation". How can Israeli policies be
    viewed as anything but racist? Its Arab citizens are treated as
    second-class and lack the same rights as its Jewish ones. It
    demolishes people's houses and destroys their agricultural lands
    simply because those people are Arabs. It builds settlements on land
    whose Arab owners have been expelled at gunpoint. What is this but
    racism? No court in America would uphold such actions in the US. Why
    do the Americans support them in Israel?

    The UK has not given Israel $90 billion in aid over the past decade
    so that it can continue to commit atrocities against the
    Palestinians. Bullets that kill and maim innocent Palestinian
    children are not made in the UK but in the US and are freely supplied
    to the Israelis.

    King Abdallah of Jordan pointed out in a CNN interview, "None of this
    would have happened if America did not have such a biased policy in
    the Middle East." Every farmer and every amateur gardener knows that
    in order to get rid of harmful weeds, they must be pulled up by the
    roots. It is useless to simply cut away the part that is above the
    soil; the roots remain underground and in time will sprout again.
    Instead of studying the reasons that led to the inexcusable and
    horrible tragedies on Sept. 11, instead of getting at the roots, the
    anger and hurt of the world's only superpower has led to the killing
    of more innocent civilians. What happens in the world media if even
    one American citizen is killed anywhere in the world? All major wire
    services pick up the story and give it prominence.

    But when innocent non-white Afghanis are killed in air raids, they
    are merely "military mistakes" ^ or that awful euphemism, "collateral
    damage". There is no question that the terrorist acts must be
    condemned in the strongest possible terms. Condemning them, however,
    does not mean that what caused them should be ignored. By ignoring
    the cause, we are leaving the way open to future terrorist acts.
    Those who committed the acts in New York and Washington should not be
    allowed to tarnish the image of Islam; Islam forbids the killing of
    innocent noncombatants.

    Those who committed the terrorist acts did so because in their souls
    they hated America. But they did not hate America because of its
    democracy, its freedom and liberty. They hated it because of its
    biased and unfair foreign policies that result in the killing,
    suffering and displacement of innocent civilians. In the Middle East,
    those innocent civilians are usually Palestinians and, to add insult
    to injury, the White House and the US media continue to blame the
    Palestinians for the problem and call them "terrorists".

    If Americans really want to know why their country is hated, I have
    given them some things to think about.

    It is strange and incomprehensible how Americans inevitably boast of
    their freedom when they are in fact restricted by their government's
    actions and policies. What did Americans do when they learned that
    because of sanctions against Iraq, 500,000 children had died in that
    unfortunate country? Only a small group of Americans demonstrated
    against sanctions in front of the White House and they were later

    People all over the world ask why the majority of Americans ^ if they
    are as Bush called them "good people who stand for democracy and
    freedom" ^ turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when their government is
    the cause of so much injustice; when their government refuses to join
    a UN treaty for banning land mines; when their government has caused
    the death of hundreds of innocent and defenseless people; when
    weapons made in their factories kill innocent children every day?

    These are the questions that are foremost in the minds of fair-minded
    people all over the world.


    As the refugees crowd the borders, we'll be blaming someone else

    Robert Fisk
    Oct 23


    Mullah Mohammed Omar's 10-year-old son is dead. He was, according to
    Afghan refugees fleeing Kandahar, taken to one of the city's broken
    hospitals by his father, the Taliban leader and "Emir of the
    Faithful", but the boy apparently travelling in Omar's car when it
    was attacked by US aircraft died of his wounds.

    No regrets, of course. Back in 1985, when American aircraft bombed
    Libya, they also destroyed the life of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's six-
    year-old adopted daughter. No regrets, of course. In 1992, when an
    Israeli pilot flying an American-made Apache helicopter fired an
    American-made missile into the car of Said Abbas Moussawi, head of
    the Hizbollah guerrilla army in Lebanon, the Israeli pilot also
    killed Moussawi's 10-year-old. No regrets, of course.

    Whether these children deserved their deaths, be sure that their
    fathers in our eyes were to blame. Live by the sword, die by the
    sword and that goes for the kids too. Back in 1991, The Independent
    revealed that American Gulf War military targets included "secure"
    bunkers in which members of Saddam Hussein's family or the families
    of his henchmen were believed to be hiding. That's how the
    Americans managed to slaughter well over 300 people in an air raid
    shelter at Amariya in Baghdad. No Saddam kids, just civilians. Too
    bad. I wonder now that President George Bush has given permission
    to the CIA to murder Osama bin Laden if the same policy applies

    And so the casualties begin to mount. From Kandahar come ever more
    frightful stories of civilians buried under ruins, of children torn
    to pieces by American bombs. The Taliban and here the Americans
    must breathe a collective sigh of relief refuse to allow Western
    journalists to enter the country to verify these reports. So when a
    few television crews were able to find 18 fresh graves in the
    devastated village of Khorum outside Jalalabad just over a week ago,
    the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could ridicule the deaths
    as "ridiculous". But not, I suspect, for much longer.

    For if each of our wars for infinite justice and eternal freedom have
    a familiar trade mark the military claptrap about air superiority,
    suppression of "command and control centres", radar capabilities
    each has an awkward, highly exclusive little twist to it. In 1999,
    Nato claimed it was waging war to put Kosovo Albanian refugees back
    in their homes even though most of the refugees were still in their
    homes when the war began. Our bombing of Serbia led directly to their
    dispossession. We bear a heavy burden of responsibility for their
    suffering since the Serbs had told us what they would do if Nato
    opened hostilities although the ultimate blame for their "ethnic
    cleansing'' clearly belonged to Slobodan Milosevic.

    But Nato's escape clause won't work this time round. For as the
    Afghan refugees turn up in their thousands at the border, it is
    palpably evident that they are fleeing not the Taliban but our bombs
    and missiles. The Taliban is not ethnically cleansing its own Pashtun
    population. The refugees speak vividly of their fear and terror as
    our bombs fall on their cities. These people are terrified of
    our "war on terror'', victims as innocent as those who were
    slaughtered in the World Trade Centre on 11 September. So where do we

    It's an important question because, once the winter storms breeze
    down the mountain gorges of Afghanistan, a tragedy is likely to
    commence, one which no spin doctor or propaganda expert will be able
    to divert. We'll say that the thousands about to die or who are dying
    of starvation and cold are victims of the Taliban's intransigence or
    the Taliban's support for "terrorism" or the Taliban's propensity to
    steal humanitarian supplies.

    I have to admit having been weaned on Israel's promiscuous use of
    the word "terror" every time a Palestinian throws a stone at his
    occupiers that I find the very word "terrorism" increasingly
    mendacious as well as racist. Of course despite the slavish use of
    the phrase "war on terrorism" on the BBC and CNN it is nothing of
    the kind. We are not planning to attack Tamil Tiger suicide bombers
    or Eta killers or Real IRA murderers or Kurdish KDP guerrillas.
    Indeed, the US has spent a lot of time supporting terrorists in Latin
    America the Contras spring to mind not to mention the rabble we
    are now bombing in Afghanistan. This is, as I've said before, a war
    on America's enemies. Increasingly, as the date of 11 September
    acquires iconic status, we are retaliating for the crimes against
    humanity in New York and Washington. But we're not setting up any
    tribunals to try those responsible.

    The figure of 6,000 remains as awesome as it did in the days that
    followed. But what happens when the deaths for which we are
    responsible begin to approach the same figure? Refugees have been
    telling me on the Pakistan border that the death toll from our
    bombings in Afghanistan is in the dozens, perhaps the hundreds. Once
    the UN agencies give us details of the starving and the destitute who
    are dying in their flight from our bombs, it won't take long to reach
    6,000. Will that be enough? Will 12,000 dead Afghans appease us,
    albeit that they have nothing to do with the Taliban or Osama bin
    Laden? Or 24,000? If we think we know what our aims are in this
    fraudulent "war against terror", have we any idea of proportion?

    Sure, we'll blame the Taliban for future tragedies. Just as we've
    been blaming them for drug exports from Afghanistan. Tony Blair was
    at the forefront of the Taliban-drug linkage. And all we have to do
    to believe this is to forget the UN Drug Control Programme's
    announcement last week that opium production in Afghanistan has
    fallen by 94 per cent, chiefly due to Mullah Omar's prohibition in
    Taliban-controlled areas. Most of Afghanistan's current opium
    production comes you've guessed it from our friends in the
    Northern Alliance.

    This particular war is, as Mr Bush said, going to be "unlike any
    other" but not in quite the way he thinks. It's not going to lead
    to justice. Or freedom. It's likely to culminate in deaths that will
    diminish in magnitude even the crime against humanity on 11
    September. Do we have any plans for this? Can we turn the falsity of
    a "war against terror" into a war against famine and starvation and
    death, even at the cost of postponing our day of reckoning with Osama
    bin Laden?


    UN acknowledges US targeting of civilian neighborhoods

    Tuesday, October 23, 2001

    93 Killed in attack on village near Kandahar

    The Al-Jazeera correspondent in Kandahar reported that tens of civilians
    were killed and injured in an American air raid that targeted a village
    west of Kandahar.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations acknowledged officially that the American
    bombing has hit civilians in Kabul and a hospital was in the western
    city of Herat was attacked.

    The Al-Jazira correspondent said that 93 people were killed, 18 of them
    from the same family were killed when bombs and rockets hit the village
    of Jokar approximately 60 kms northwest of Kandahar. According to
    eyewitnesses, so of the dead had been killed with bullets which may mean
    that American ground forces may be in that area.

    The Al-Jazira correspondent said the number of people in the village of
    Jokar was swelled by people from the surrounding area who came searching
    for water. Eyewitnesses said that five cars were seen in front of one of
    the houses in the village which may have led the Americans to believe
    that Taliban leaders were inside.

    The eyewitness said that the occupants of the house were people who had
    fled from air raids on the city of Kandahar to the village in order to
    seek safety. Many people also fled the village clinic fearing that it
    too would be bombed.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations said officially that US bombing operations
    target civilian areas in Kabul because the Taliban send forces to
    them. The United Nations spokeswoman, Stephanie Banker(ph.), said a
    large number of bombs hit civilian areas in Khair Khana neighborhood, close to
    medical and food centres. Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad
    that the residential neighborhood of Makrurian was also hit.

    The spokeswoman considered that these residential neighborhoods and some
    of the villages surrounding Kabul had been rendered more dangerous due
    to the presence of Taliban. She also admitted that an American air attack
    devastated a hospital on the outskirts of the western city of Herat. The
    Taliban claimed that the hospital had been destroyed on Sunday, killing
    100 people.

    The Daily Attacks

    The events follow after 45 Afghans were reported killed in American
    attacks on the cities of Kabul, Herat and Kandahar early this
    morning. Eyewitnesses said that rockets fired by the Taliban at the town
    of Charikar north of Kabul which is controlled by the Northern Alliance,
    killed two civilians and injured ten.

    The Afghan Islamic News Agency said that American attacks hit a convoy
    of trucks carryin fuel from Herat which is close to the Iranian border, to
    Kandahar. The agency said that five people were burned to death when the
    trucks caught fire.

    A spokesman for the Taliban information ministry Abdelhanan Hamat said
    that American attack son Herat hit a mosque with worshippers in it and a
    number of civilian homes killing 15 and injuring 25. He added that 25
    more people were killed in Dar Aman neighborhood south of Kabul. No
    independent parties have confirmed these Taliban claims.

    The Taliban ambassador in Pakistan, Abdelsalam Zaeef declared that Usama
    Bin Laden and and the Taliban leader are alive and well inside
    Afghanistan after three weeks of heavy bombing by the United States. Zaeef
    said that
    traces of chemicals had been found on the bodies of Afghans hit in the
    American attacks.

    British Declarations

    In London, British defence secretary Geoff Hoon claimed that American
    and British strikes on Afghanistan had destroyed nine Al-Qaida training
    camps had badly damaged nine airports and 24 military camps. He said the
    attacks are continuing to put pressure on the Taliban and weakening its ability
    to resist advances by the Northern Alliance.

    Speaking at a press conference, Hoon added that Britain would soon
    decide whether or not to deploy ground forces to Afghanistan. He said that
    Britain has forces that are ready to move in the case that it is decided
    to deploy them to the field in Afghanistan. These forces include 600
    Royal Marines deployed in the Gulf or for joint British-Omani exercises.

    The Northern Alliance

    The Northern Alliance spokesman said that American warplanes had
    attacked their frontline with the Taliban within the framework of coordination
    with the opposition forces. Muhammad Atta, one of the principal military
    leaders of the Alliance that this morning's air attacks came as part of
    "a coordinated air and ground assault" on Kashanda during the night which
    is 70 kms south of Mazar Sharif, one of the most important cities in
    northern Afghanistan.

    Atta said that between 10 and 20 Taliban fighters had been killed in the
    overnight battles. He said that Northern Alliance forces had succeeded
    in "putting great pressure on the Taliban." The Northern Alliance announced
    its readiness to move towards the capital Kabul.

    Sources: Al-Jazira and Agencies


    Poisoning the Well


    Published on Friday, October 26, 2001
    by Rahul Mahajan

    The first principle of humanitarian relief is that it be impartial, that aid
    be given on the basis of need without any consideration of political

    The United States government, the same government that aroused international
    execration by using Red Cross markings on planes used to smuggle arms to the
    contras in Nicaragua, has once again made a mockery of that principle with
    its conduct in Afghanistan.

    Its conduct to this point was bad enough causing the suspension of aid
    programs for weeks because of threats of bombing; constructing a
    "humanitarian" reason to bomb (air drops are required to feed people, the
    planes will be endangered, so we must bomb to suppress air defenses);
    causing renewed suspension because of the bombing; and the piece de
    resistance, adding insult to injury by dropping 35000 meals a day to replace
    programs that had fed millions. That last has been repeatedly criticized by
    aid organizations as associating humanitarian operations with military
    assault, thus making aid work far more difficult and dangerous as a
    spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders put it, "We do not want to be
    perceived as a part of the U.S. military campaign."

    At a Pentagon news briefing on Wednesday, however, this politicization was
    taken to new heights with the invocation of unnamed "sources" claiming that
    "there are reports that the Taliban might poison the food and try to blame
    the United States," according to Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, deputy director
    of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He went on to warn Afghans
    receiving aid, "If it comes from Taliban control, they must be careful."

    It scarcely needs mentioning that poisoning one's own populace is senseless,
    and that there is no reason to suppose the Taliban is planning anything of
    the sort. In fact, it was reported yesterday that officials from the World
    Food Program expressed "surprise" at the allegations, with one saying "If
    they're talking about the food we deliver, there's not been a single
    instance that we know of in which the Taliban have tampered with it. Stolen,
    yes, but not tampered."

    When contacted, Sam Barratt of Oxfam International, currently working out of
    Peshawar, Pakistan, characterized the Pentagon statement as "deeply
    unhelpful," adding, "This claim further goes to undermine the position of
    aid agencies in the country."

    It's well known that our government frequently uses "disinformation" in
    wartime. And we find out long afterward. We know now that the story about
    Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators was a fabrication
    created by a Washington PR firm and that the "nurse" testifying about it was
    the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, who wasn't even
    in the country at the time. We found that out, but not before an Amnesty
    International report about it was circulated to all the media and to all of
    Congress, playing a major role in building support for the Gulf War.

    In order to combat disinformation effectively, however, we will have to
    learn how to recognize it before the war is over, while it's still relevant
    to current affairs. And, in fact, we've already seen open evidence of its
    use in this crisis. Government officials were forced to admit that reports
    that the terrorists targeted Air Force One were untrue (presumably they were
    circulated to further anger the American public).

    If we do manage to have the courage of our intellectual convictions, the
    question still remains, "What is our government trying to do?"

    A clue may be found in previous statements by Deputy Secretary of State
    Richard Armitage, who expressed concern early on that humanitarian
    operations be conducted ''in a manner that does not allow this food to fall
    into the hands of the Taliban." Since the Taliban, as the men with guns,
    will always be fed while there is any food in the country, this seems like a
    hint that the United States would consider interfering with the supply of
    humanitarian aid in Taliban-controlled areas, in order to erode public
    support for the Taliban. Further hints come today, with the second bombing
    of a Red Cross warehouse complex in Kabul. It was entirely plausible that
    the first strike was accidental, but the second does make one wonder.
    Obviously, there is no way to know, but some vigilance is definitely in

    Such tactics are not at all foreign to the U.S. government. Making the
    Chilean economy and later the Nicaraguan "scream" was an essential,
    deliberate part of destabilizing the Allende and Sandinista governments.

    UN agencies have warned that 7.5 million people are dependent on aid for
    their survival through the coming winter. UNICEF has estimated that 100,000
    children may die. The U.S. government has continued its protracted bombing
    campaign in the face of numerous concerted from private aid agencies and
    from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Access to Food for a bombing
    halt so that supplies can be trucked in. Simultaneously, the noncombatant
    toll of the bombings continues to grow a bus in Kandahar, a hospital in
    He*rat, numerous private homes, and more.

    Notwithstanding its invocation of humanitarian concerns, the U.S. government
    has shown a criminal indifference to human life. It has sabotaged one of the
    few truly noble, truly heroic efforts in the modern world humanitarian aid.
    It has also severely tainted public discourse, to the point where it is
    difficult to know what is true and what is not.

    Among Afghans and other peoples for whom water is scarce, poisoning a well
    is the deepest crime, more powerfully symbolic even than taking a human
    life. The reason is that it takes something vital, something necessary to
    preserving life, and perverts it into a force of destruction.

    That is what our government has now done.
    Rahul Mahajan serves on the National Board of Peace Action and is a member
    of the Nowar Collective (www.nowarcollective.com). He is the author of the
    forthcoming "The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism" (Monthly Review
    Press http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrpress.htm) He can be contacted at

    Also of interest:

    Afghan War photos

    Afghan war costs $1.2 billion per month
    Christian Science Monitor
        At the present level of military activity, the the war in
        Afghanistan is costing about $1.2 billion per month to the
        United States. That's a hefty price tag, but not nearly as
        much as the Gulf War. (10/30/01)

    FBI terror detentions questioned
        The FBI has detained nearly 1,000 people in conjunction with
        its anti-terrorism investigation -- and has repeatedly refused
        to provide any details. Civil liberties groups want to know if
        any detainees have been charged with crimes. (10/30/01)

    The CIA, the American oligarchy and the war in Afghanistan
    A commentary on the Abdul Haq debacle

    Terrorism Cripples U.S. Consumer Spending

    Foreigners Rush to Help Taliban
        AINGARI, Afghanistan - Thousands of armed Pakistanis and
        other foreigners are pouring into Kabul and fanning out
        toward the front lines to help the Taliban fight any ground
        offensive or advance by the opposition Northern Alliance,
        according to refugees arriving Sunday in rebel territory from
        Taliban-held areas.

    Decent People Reject Terrorism and U.S. Bombing at the Same Time
        By Chandra Muzaffar

    America's Crisis Can Help Us Connect With Victims of Terror Around the World
    "In spite of the tremendous pain, the intolerable losses that this
    apocalyptic crime has visited upon the American public, I wonder if this
    trial does not constitute one of those opportunities for regeneration and
    self-knowledge that, from time to time, is given to certain nations. A
    crisis of this magnitude can lead to renewal or destruction, it can be used
    for good or for evil, for peace or for war, for aggression or for
    reconciliation, for vengeance or for justice, for the militarisation of a
    society or its humanisation." So writes Ariel Dorfman, a powerful voice
    against the terror unleashed by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

    17 Arrested at Connecticut Anti-War Rally

    Jets strike Kabul on day of prayer
        U.S. jets struck the Afghan capital on Friday, the Muslim
        sabbath. Kabul was rocked with huge explosions and bombs
        reportedly blasted a Red Cross compound for the second
        time this month. (10/26/01)

    Afghan Exiles Call for Bombing Halt
        WASHINGTON - U.S. warplanes struck northern Taliban positions
        anew Thursday and attacked suspected hideouts of Osama bin Laden
        in eastern Afghanistan, even as a conference of 1,500 exiled
        Afghan leaders in Pakistan pleaded for an end to the air
        campaign and called on foreigners such as Mr. bin Laden to leave
        their country.

    U.S. criticized for cluster bomb use

    Dallas Morning News
        U.S. officials face international criticism after American
        aircraft struck an Afghan village with a cluster bomb, killing
        eight people and scattering deadly unexploded "bomblets"
        through village streets. Cluster bombs are controversial and
        the target of a campaign to ban their use. (10/25/01)

    Anti-war resources:

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    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)

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