---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 13:56:53 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 32)
Antiwar News...(# 32)
--Meddlesome U.S. Foreign Policy Brought Attackers to America
--Pressure To Curtail War Grows
--Taliban claims mounting evidence of US using chemical weapons
--Russia slams U.S. over war effort
--US attack kills Afghan children in Kabul
--Spells and Counterspells: Why Act Now?
--Why They Hate America---in Britain
--I Dreamed I Was Walking Into World War Three
--Whispers of Vietnam haunt US war on terror
--There is no war on terrorism
--An errant bomb, a mother's life
--U.S. denies war effort failing
--The September 11 Declaration
--The Valor of the Columnists
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
Meddlesome U.S. Foreign Policy Brought Attackers to America
Sunday, October 28, 2001
BY GENE LINDER
The attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 should give us pause to
consider what we are doing in our national foreign policy that so enrages
millions of people.
Especially when it comes to the point that a score of young men would
sacrifice their lives (along with thousands of innocents) to make a statement
about our foreign policy that very few in our country are thinking about. The
central question is "Why?"
Perhaps the reason for the attacks is that stated by President Bush: "We're
the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." Rigorous
thinking about this, however, would lead one to believe this is just
emotional blather by our political leader to make the common folk feel better
about being the "good guys."
Consider, as an alternative reason for the attacks, the statement of May 1998
from Osama bin Laden. See if this doesn't have a truer ring to it than the
"So we tell the Americans as people, and we tell the mothers of soldiers and
American mothers in general that if they value their lives and the lives of
their children, to find a nationalistic government that will look after their
interests and not the interest of the Jews.
"The continuation of tyranny will bring the fight to America, as Ramzi Yousef
and others did. This is my message to the American people: to look for a
serious government that looks out for their interests and does not attack
others, their lands, or their honor. And my word to American journalists is
not to ask 'why' we did that, but ask what their government has done that
forced us to defend ourselves."
If one can believe these words, our national foreign policy, specifically as
it relates to Israel, is the cause of the terrorist acts. The U.S. government
gives Israel over $10 million of your tax dollars every day of the year. This
has gone on for years and years, and will continue into the future unabated,
it would seem. Our taxpayer dollars pay for those fighter planes you see on
the nightly news attacking Palestinians. You paid for those tanks, missiles,
and other weaponry engaged in destruction of what little infrastructure
exists in Palestinian territory.
Our government has condoned an expansionist Israeli state and lauded Sharon
as a peaceful man, when he should be tried as a war criminal for the massacre
of hundreds of innocent civilians. Is it any wonder that millions of people
consider us the dumb big bully always blindly supporting the smart little
bully regardless of the issues involved? Can we begin to understand why many
Arabs would feel they need to conduct a war against the U.S. with any means
Unless and until we change our current foreign policy to one of
non-involvement toward the political interests of foreign countries, we will
remain high-profile targets for people in the world who perceive that our
government is acting regularly against their self-interest. We cannot involve
our country in the political affairs of other nations without becoming the
target of wrath by one side or the other.
Libertarian principle suggests that we ought to leave other countries alone
in their political interests and mind our own national business. Any
influence we choose to exert ought to be from commercial ties and
non-governmental agencies and not the federal government. George Washington
had it exactly right on Sept. 17, 1796, about our conduct of foreign policy,
and we would do well to work to restore that concept in our present
government, Libertarians believe. He said, "The great rule of conduct for us,
in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to
have with them as little political connection as possible."
Gene Linder is chairman of the Libertarian Party of Utah.
Pressure To Curtail War Grows
Pakistani Leader Urges Pause for Ramadan
By Vernon Loeb and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 30, 2001; Page A01
Pressure on the United States to radically curtail the war in Afghanistan
grew yesterday as Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, asked for a
bombing pause during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins next
month. Britain's defense secretary said a pause is under serious
In the clearest signal to date of Pakistan's unease over the U.S.-led air
campaign, Musharraf told Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the U.S. commander
overseeing the war, in Islamabad that the Pentagon needed to rethink its
bombing campaign after 22 days of airstrikes. Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in
the campaign, cited civilian casualties and a lack of tangible success,
according to Pakistani officials.
But Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, briefing reporters at the
Pentagon, reiterated his opposition to a bombing pause during Ramadan,
saying that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia and the al Qaeda terrorist
network it shelters "are unlikely to take holiday."
"Given the fact that they have killed thousands of Americans and people from
50 or 60 other countries, and given the fact that they have sworn to
continue such attacks, we have an obligation to defend the American people,"
Rumsfeld said. He noted that "there have been any number of conflicts
between Muslim countries, and between Muslim countries and non-Muslim
countries, throughout Ramadan."
British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon told reporters in London that a bombing
pause is under consideration. "That is something we are looking at very
seriously," he said.
Hoon added, however, that British and American military officials do not
want to give the Taliban and al Qaeda time to regroup, "knowing that they
will not face military action during the course of Ramadan."
Seventy carrier-based strike aircraft, six long-range bombers and Air Force
F-15E fighter bombers flew airstrikes over Afghanistan yesterday,
concentrating on Taliban troops north of Kabul, the capital, and around
Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan, defense officials said.
Haron Amin, a spokesman for the opposition Northern Alliance in Washington,
said the U.S. military has told forces with the rebel coalition that it is
time for them to attack Mazar-e Sharif, a strategic crossroads city. "There
has been communication on the ground, and [American forces] have asked us to
move on Mazar," Amin said. "To operate out of Mazar would help a lot of
things to go forward."
Rumsfeld announced that U.S. aircraft have begun dropping ammunition to
forces of the Northern Alliance, a coalition of rebel groups dominated by
ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks that controls a swath of territory in northern
Expressing satisfaction with the results of the air campaign as it entered
its fourth week, Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that U.S. aircraft have devastated Taliban
air defenses and killed Taliban and al Qaeda troops.
"We are in the driver seat," Myers said. "We are proceeding at our pace. We
are not proceeding at the Taliban's pace or al Qaeda's pace. We can control
that. And we are controlling it in a way that I think is right along with
our plan that we set out."
Rumsfeld said he took no exception to recent statements by Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) about the need for U.S. ground forces, and hinted that the
establishment of U.S. bases in Afghanistan is being considered.
USA Today reported yesterday that military setbacks in Afghanistan had led
the Pentagon to aggressively consider the creation of a forward base in
Afghanistan for U.S. troops.
But a senior military planner with knowledge of the discussion said
establishing a U.S. base inside Afghanistan is unlikely right now, mainly
for political reasons. "We don't want to be caught at this point with the
appearance of Americans holding ground," he said.
The official added that most of the pressure for establishing such a base
was coming from the Northern Alliance. Putting some sort of semi-permanent
base in northern Afghanistan is an eventual possibility, he said, but it is
equally possible that the United States might set up a series of temporary
forward bases at which Special Forces units could land, refuel and strike
out on quick raids deep inside Afghanistan.
A source in contact with Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan said a
forward base for American forces, possibly in the Panjshir Valley, was being
considered to improve the guidance of bombs and missiles and thereby reduce
the number of unintended civilian casualties.
Establishing and protecting a base around an airfield in an environment
lacking most basic necessities is a basic mission of the 10th Mountain
Division, said retired Maj. Gen. Lawson Magruder III, a former commander of
that Army unit. There are more than 1,000 troops from the 10th Mountain at a
base in southern Uzbekistan, just across the border from the Northern
Alliance-controlled area where U.S. military planners could conceivably
establish a base.
"It's a mission they are certainly capable of, and train for an awful lot,"
said Magruder, who oversaw similar missions with the 10th Mountain in
Somalia in 1993.
But he also said that because the 10th Mountain is a light infantry unit, it
probably would need to have some other units assigned to it to have the
protection and mobility it would need. He said those likely would be armored
units and truck companies.
In their meeting in Islamabad yesterday, Musharraf was blunt with Franks,
telling the head of the U.S. Central Command that the Pakistani public is
growing impatient with the bombing efforts and the unintended civilian
casualties and that a Ramadan pause was needed, Pakistani officials said.
This sentiment, the officials quoted Musharraf as saying, increases the
potential for unrest in the overwhelmingly Muslim country. "I think the
bombing of Afghanistan during Ramadan would certainly aggravate feelings
everywhere in the Islamic world," Mohammed Riaz Khan, spokesman for
Pakistan's foreign ministry, told BBC radio.
The White House announced yesterday that President Bush will meet Musharraf
on Nov. 10 when both will be in New York attending the U.N. General Assembly
Anthony H. Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and military analyst at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said a bombing
pause would help the Taliban resupply and disperse its assets at a time when
the radical Islamic militia could be most vulnerable, with winter
"What you're really saying is, the United States steps out of the war for 28
days, or however long Ramadan lasts this year, and the rest of the war goes
on under optimal conditions for the Taliban," Cordesman said.
He said one alternative to a full pause would be to stop bombing
Afghanistan's population centers and concentrate only on Taliban forces in
the field. Another alternative, he said, would be to shift the bombing away
from Kabul and Kandahar, the Taliban's southern stronghold, and concentrate
on Mazar-e Sharif in the north and Herat in the west. Both those cities are
under siege by opposition forces.
Such a strategy would go some way toward alleviating Pakistan's concern
about civilian casualties among Pashtuns, which are Afghanistan's largest
ethnic group and also make up a substantial minority in Pakistan. Most
Pashtuns in Afghanistan live in the southern part of the country.
Taliban claims mounting evidence of US using chemical weapons
AFP (Kabul, October 29)
The Taliban said on Monday there was mounting evidence that the United
States is using chemical weapons in its attacks on Afghanistan and said it
feared depleted uranium (DU) shells were also being fired.
At a press conference in Kabul, the Taliban's public health minister and two
Kabul doctors gave details of what they said were numerous cases of people
dying inexplicably after showing symptoms which may have been the result of
infection by chemical weapons.
Dr. Waziri, a surgeon at Kabul's Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, cited the cases
of three of his patients -- two girls aged 12 and 15 and a boy aged 15 --
who had been taken to hospital after being injured in bombing attacks.
All three had only slight injuries but died within hours of arriving at the
hospital after developing breathing difficulties and internal bleeding, the
"These are only three examples," he said. "There have been other cases where
we suspect chemical weapons have been used. Most of the victims have had
respiratory problems and internal bleeding for which there is no apparent
The medics admitted that they could not confirm the use of chemical weapons
because they did not have the facilities to analyse tissue from the victims.
Asked why they did not send samples abroad for analysis, Public Health
Minister Mullah Mohammad Avas said he did not know where a fair assessment
could be made.
Of its immediate neighbours, Pakistan had effectively declared war on
Afghanistan by supporting the US action while the Taliban does not have
diplomatic relations with Iran, he said.
He added that approaching the World Health Organisation was not an option
because the United Nations had shown that it was not impartial in the
Avas said the Taliban was also worried that US forces were using depleted
uranium shells and that areas of Afghanistan would be left permanently
"They used uranium in Kosovo and our concern is that they will do the same
thing in Afghanistan," he said.
NATO used nine tonnes of depleted uranium shells in its campaign in Kosovo
but they have not caused widespread contamination, according to experts from
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Tank-piercing cannon rounds tipped with depleted uranium and fired by NATO
warplanes against Serbian tanks had been cited as the possible cause of the
so-called "Balkans syndrome" -- an allegation that NATO and US officials
UNEP has ruled out any link between a string of leukemia cases involving
NATO peacekeepers returning from missions in Kosovo and Bosnia, and the
depleted uranium munitions.
Russia slams U.S. over war effort
Says Americans 'cynically' killing 'peaceful Afghans'
By Toby Westerman
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
While publicly proclaiming its support of the U.S. anti-terror efforts
against the Taliban regime, Moscow is describing American efforts as
"cynically" directed against the people of Afghanistan.
In a scathing attack upon its supposed ally, Moscow characterized U.S. food
aid as "cynically reassuring the Afghans they won't let them starve to
death," while dropping "hundreds of cluster bombs, killing the very same
Afghans the Americans pretend to care so much about. ^" according to
official Russian sources.
Moscow cited new, high-tech weaponry developed by the United States,
including stealth helicopters and microwave beams, and described Afghanistan
as a "testing ground" for the U.S. At the same time, Moscow strongly
implied intentional U.S. carelessness and ineffectiveness in the use of
"Where does the new weaponry come in?" Moscow rhetorically asked, referring
to the search for arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden. "In truth, you can't
capture the man with all these silent helicopters, ray guns and cluster
bombs, but you can very effectively use them against peaceful Afghans,"
The statements were carried on the Voice of Russia World Service, the
official broadcasting service of the Russian government.
The Voice of Russia reflects the position of the Russian government and
transmits across the globe in several dozen languages, reaching millions
around the world with its views on world events. It was known as Radio
Moscow during the Cold War.
In the broadcast, Russia condemned the U.S. for its use of cluster bombs,
which have a capability to explode months, even years, after they have been
Implying willful U.S. negligence, Moscow linked the use of the controversial
bombs to damage done by an admittedly "stray cruise missile" and cited the
possible employment of "ray guns," which Moscow declared, "can be used with
equally devastating effect against innocent civilians."
As a result "^ civilian casualties grow each day," Moscow stated.
The question of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is one of the most
vulnerable aspects of the U.S. attack upon the network of Osama bin Laden
and his Taliban defenders, following the attacks of Sept. 11.
U.S. efforts to both attack the terrorist network while seeking to aid the
Afghan people received an additional embarrassment when food parcels
intended to aid the war-ravaged population were found to be packaged in a
somewhat similar manner as cluster bombs.
Although both were yellow in color, the food packages are rectangular and
larger than the cylindrically shaped cluster bombs. Some cluster bombs are
defective and do not explode on impact.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the U.S. has initiated
radio broadcasts into Afghanistan warning of the similarities between the
food packages and unexploded bombs.
"U.S. psychological operations" assured the Afghan people that the danger of
confusing food packages with cluster bombs is "minimal," and that the bombs
and food "were not being dropped in the same areas," according to the BBC
Throughout the attack on Afghan territory, U.S. officials have consistently
expressed the position that the people of Afghanistan are not the targets of
In an Oct. 18 briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker
stated that "^ we're not bombing the Afghan people. ^ We are conducting a
campaign against terrorism focused on the al-Qaida network, which has been
given safe haven ^ in Afghanistan by the Taliban regime. ^"
The U.S. freely admits its use of cluster bombs, but claims their use has
been infrequent and specifically targeted.
In a Department of Defense briefing on Oct. 25, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff Gen. Richard Meyers stated that the military takes "great pains" in
targeting cluster bombs to a "particular target," and that "there have not
been a great number of them (cluster bombs) used. ^"
Moscow's criticism of U.S. actions in Afghanistan comes amid continuing
condemnation of its own military actions in the war-torn Russian republic of
Although recent Russian commitments to the anti-terrorist coalition have
muted criticism of Moscow's tactics in Chechnya, the U.N. Commission on
Human Rights condemned Russia in April 2001 for "disproportionate and
indiscriminate force ^ including attacks against civilians."
Moscow found the U.N.'s resolution "unacceptable."
The condemnation was the second in as many years.
I.J. Toby Westerman, is a contributing reporter for WorldNetDaily who
focuses on current events in the
Commonwealth of Independent States and the Balkans.
US attack kills Afghan children in Kabul
Live television captures scenes of tragedy, and desperation
October 28, 2001
American warplanes struck civilian dwellings in the Makrurian
neighborhood of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday morning killing a
number of people many of them children Al-Jazeera reported.
In a live report from the city moments after the strike, at
approximately 9 AM in Kabul, the television showed residents desperately
digging through the rubble of destroyed houses with small shovels looking
for bodies of
loved ones. The television showed several bodies being uncovered from
under rubble, including the bodies of two young sisters. The television
showed their father crying and utterly distraught as his daughters were
pulled from the rubble and laid out on the ground. As people dug for
bodies, American warplanes circled overhead, and some people ran for
cover, apparently in fear of more attacks.
The television showed, in pictures which were extremely difficult to bear,
bodies of children being laid out inside a building. One of the bodies
visible was missing limbs. Adults gently laid the bodies out and covered
them with sheets. In another shot the camera showed a head being
revealed by a rescuers shovel from a pile of rubble.
The television showed a teenage boy searching among rubble of a house
possibly for members of his family.
As the report was live, and the events were still unfolding, it was
impossible to say exactly how many people were killed. The Al-Jazeera
correspondent Taysir Allouni said that one completely destroyed house
had had nine occupants, of whom only one had emerged alive. In addition to
the dead people, the television showed a neighborhood of very simple mud
houses, which are simply pulverized when bombed, and many dazed, injured
and distraught residents.
These images, perhaps because they were live and unedited, showed in the
most direct and shocking way what high explosives do to human beings and
their homes. These were the most upsetting pictures I have yet seen from
the war, and at times I found myself having to turn away from the
In other news, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least four more
Palestinians over the weekend, bringing the number Israel has killed
since October 18 to near 50. The Israeli government has announced that it is
postponing indefinitely its announced withdrawal from the towns and
cities it reoccupied since October 18.
Spells and Counterspells: Why Act Now?
By Starhawk www.starhawk.org
The days are short and cold, the streets are univiting. The
political climate seems as chilly as the winter winds, and everybody
is saying that 911 changed everything. Why take action now?
The government, the media, even some of our own allies warn us that
public opinion is no longer with us, that repression will be high,
that any action we take will be too costly both personally and
politically, that we should hold back and wait.
But The WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and the other institutions of
corporate capitalism are not waiting. They continue to meet, to
argue for a new round of trade negotiations, to impose policies that
result in a widening gap between rich and poor, and a staggering
global death toll. And as winter nears, the potential rises for
massive starvation in Afghanistan if relief trucks cannot deliver
supplies because of our bombs.
And so on bad days we hear our own inner voices murmuring,
'It's hopeless. We've lost. The forces we face are too strong for
us. Give up."
These voices seem reasonable, sensible. But any Witch can recognize
a spell being cast.
A spell is a story we tell ourselves that shapes our emotional and
psychic world. The media, the authorities tell a story so pervasive
that most people mistake it for reality. We're fighting a righteous
war against the Source of All Evil, and everyone supports Bush, and
corporate control is the only way to be safe and to provide what we
need, and to question is Evil, too.
The counterspell is simple: tell a different story. Pull
back the curtain: expose their story for the false tale it is. Act
Act as if we weren't doomed, as if what we did in the next
weeks and months could shift the balance of fate.
Act as if the movement were coming back stronger than ever,
attracting thousands and hundreds of thousands who have had their
eyes opened by the war.
Act as if this movement were the most creative, visionary,
inspiring, funny, welcoming, transforming and truly revolutionary
movement that had ever been. As if we had new language, new tactics,
new ways of communicating that could waken the dormant dissent and
the sleeping visions in every heart.
Act as if a whole new public dialogue was beginning outside
the boxes drawn by our traditional political lines and our TV sets.
Act as if all the different factions in our movement were
learning how to support each other, how to work in true coalition and
act with true solidarity. As if all who should be allies were able
to come together and work for our common goals.
Act as of we were going to win.
November, two years after Seattle, will see the WTO meeting in Qatar
November 9-13. Imagine hundreds of Seattles springing up in the many
local and regional actions being planned, opposition rising up all
over the world.
The IMF and the World Bank have rescheduled their meeting for
Ottawa on November 17 and 18. Imagine the demonstrations now being
called against them and against the war astounding the world,
confounding the police, shutting down the meetings and revitalizing
The School of the Americas Watch is having its annual action
that same weekend in Fort Benning, Georgia. Imagine that action
getting the attention it deserves, awakening the conscience of the
people of the United States to the role our government has played in
training state terrorists around the globe.
But won't these actions alienate and polarize people? Maybe,
if they're ill conceived, gratuitously violent, or simply a matter of
screaming the old slogans of the sixties over bullhorns. Or if
they're timid, apologetic, whining, they may simply leave people
bored and yawning. But our silence will not change public opinion,
will not educate people or get them thinking again about larger
issues. Actions that are creative, vibrant, confident and visionary,
actions that directly and clearly confront the institutions we oppose
and pose alternatives can be empowering both to those who take part
and to those who hear of them. We need to advance, not retreat, to
take the political space we want and claim it. If we silence
ourselves, we're tacitly agreeing that our protests are indeed some
distant kin to the terrorists' acts. If we insist that our voices be
heard, that open dissent is not terrorism, but the deepest commitment
to democracy, once the inevitable vitriol wears off, we'll find that
we've gained legitimacy and shifted the ground of the dialogue. The
longer we wait to claim that space, the more rigidified the patterns
of oppression will grow. We need to act now, while the future is
still fluid, and set the pattern ourselves.
Since 911, I've been to more rallies and marches than I can count.
I've marched with Gandhian pacifists and white-haired women in
wheelchairs. I've marched with dancing, drumming Pagans. I've
marched with Socialists and militants screaming about imperialism.
I've marched with black masked anarchists surrounded by riot cops.
And you know what? It's been okay. The police have behaved like
police behave, sometimes restrained, sometimes provocative,
occasionally vicious-but that's not new. At times we met counter
demonstrators, but never been more than a handful. And we often
received unexpected support. I've seen construction workers flash
peace signs at the Black Bloc.
Of course, our fears aren't just based on fictions. The authorities
command real force, real tear gas, real clubs, real guns, real jails.
Real people do die, go to prison, suffer. So might we.
But fear makes things worse than they are. Fear limits our vision
and our ability to take in information, makes the power holders seem
omnipotent, and leads to our suppressing ourselves, saving the
authorities the cost and trouble of doing it. And despair leads to
The counterspell for fear is courage: facing the possibility
of the worst and then going ahead with what you know is right. The
counterspell for despair is action in service of a vision. The
counterspell for paralysis is stubborn, persistent passion.
Even if we're wrong, if nothing we do does makes a difference,
courage and passion are a better place to be than hopelessness,
cynicism and fear. If the authorities repress us, that's better than
becoming people who repress ourselves. If we see our dreams ripped
out of our hands, that's better than never daring to dream at all.
And if we tell our own stories with enough intensity and
focus, we'll start to believe them, and so will others. We'll break
the spells that bind us. We'll start to want that other world we
say is possible with such intensity that nothing can stop us or deny
us. All it takes is our willingness to act from vision, not from
fear, to risk hoping, to dare to act for what we love.
Why They Hate America---in Britain
by Jonathan David Farley, D.Phil.
As I write this, I sit only one mile from a people who are at war
with America. They are not poor, illiterate, or Muslim. In fact, they
are mostly white, Christian, and middle-class. They are students at
Oxford University, in England.
Wadham College (which is part of Oxford University) declared war
with the United States when America started carpet-bombing Vietnam. The
stately, ancient Oxford hall boasts a well-kept, manicured lawn, which
the students still call Ho Chi Minh Quad.
Of course, the state of hostilities is mostly facetious (Oxford's
Trinity College and Balliol College have also declared war---against each
other), but not entirely. The English philosopher and mathematician
Bertrand Russell, one of the most renowned thinkers of the twentieth
century, convened a war crimes tribunal in the 1960's, in which he accused
the United States of crimes against humanity. They may not be shouting,
"Death to America," but Brits have long scoffed at American imperiousness.
Since September 11, Americans have asked, "How could anybody hate
us so much?" And we've mostly been coming to the wrong conclusions.
(Novelist Salman Rushdie recently wrote that Muslim extremists hate
America because we eat bacon sandwiches!)
I'm not an eloquent writer like Mr. Rushdie; nor am I a vegetarian
extremist. But as a mathematician, I can put two and two together; and,
at the risk of inflaming American opinion, I'd like to opine why the
British feel "they" hate "us." That reason is state-sponsored terrorism.
America has long accused nations like Iraq, Sudan, and Cuba of
sponsoring terrorism. But, according to ABC News, it was the Joint Chiefs
of Staff of the U.S. military who, in the 1960's, drafted plans to commit
terrorist attacks. "We could blow up
a U.S. ship in [Cuba's] Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," read one report,
code named Operation Northwoods. The American people would then demand
that Castro be deposed. Cold "Worriers" still believe Castro wants to
bring Americans to our knees. (I say, Bill Clinton did enough of that
During the 1980's, the U.S. fought a secret war in Central
America, supporting murderous regimes in El Salvador and Honduras that
used death squads to terrorize civilians, murder priests and rape nuns.
Many of the generalissimos who conducted this reign of terror were
trained in the School of the Americas---in Georgia. Their training
manuals included instructions on how to torture.
Chile's dictator, Pinochet, who specialized in dropping his
political opponents out of airplanes, came to power after a
CIA-orchestrated coup, during which the democratically elected president,
Salvador Allende, was murdered. The Congo was plunged into forty years of
chaos after the U.S.-backed dictator, Mobutu, seized power,
following the murder of the democratically elected prime minister Patrice
The U.S. government occupied Haiti for decades and, later,
supported that country's brutal dictators, the Duvaliers. It sustained
the dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, even after his people
overthrew him. The Shah of Iran persecuted his own people with our tax
dollars; yet we pretend that Iranian anti-Americanism is unprovoked.
(I do recognize that, despite America's faults, at least we have
the freedom to criticize the government. In Iran, peace activists---like
my hero Martin Luther King---would be shot.)
When the U.S. stops sponsoring terrorism, and starts cracking down
on terrorism at home (the KKK and the LAPD), the English may start
respecting our moral leadership. As things stand, British newspapers are
as likely to call George Bush "the mad bomber" as they are Osama bin
Laden. Despite British involvement in the war, 54% of Britons think the
bombing should be suspended.
It's easy to dismiss anti-American mobs in brown countries. But
we'd be fools to dismiss the English, our closest allies; and a significant
number of them are saying, America's not at war with terrorism: It's in
bed with it.
Dr. Jonathan David Farley is a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at Oxford
University and a Green Party candidate for Congress in Tennessee
I Dreamed I Was Walking Into World War Three
by ron jacobs
I don't want to be writing this. I'd rather be chilling out with a book or
hanging out with the kids, but if we don't oppose this war in greater and
greater numbers, who will? I was honestly hoping that the crime of 911
would be handled like other crimes of that nature. You know, like the
Oklahoma City bombing where the perpetrators (at least some of them) were
brought to justice and faced their maker. Unfortunately, that was never on
the agenda of the warmakers. They saw the opportunity to put the falling
economy on a war footing without any debate in Congress and they took
advantage of the moment-manipulating our emotions towards a campaign of
endless war and authoritarian rule -rule that could make rallies against
their plans illegal and potentially put those of us who organize them in
Authoritarian rule that will affect every single one of us-in our travel,
our internet use, our ability to say what we think, and our ability to
oppose acts of our government we consider wrong. While some of these
so-called precautions might make sense to a lot of people right now, they
won't once they are used against those of us who take the Bill of Rights
What do I mean by endless war? Already the US has notified the UN that
they may attack other countries. This could mean Iraq, it could even mean
Cuba--two governments the US has yet to convince to go along with its way
of thinking. It could mean Palestine, where Israel has set up an
apartheid-like regime which, among other totalitarian practices against
Palestinians, locks up Palestinians at will, knocks down their homes and
forbids them from entering many areas unless they have the right kind of
pass-and that's during times of relative peace in the country. As we know,
the resistance to Israeli military occupation and settlements has
intensified since the election of Ariel Sharon in Israel, as have the
bombings and other attacks from both sides in the conflict. Or it could
mean Colombia, where a civil war has been going on for thirty years and
where the notoriously brutal Colombian military receives millions of
dollars in aid every month from the US to fight those who oppose the US
plans for the region.
I'd like to say a few words to the folks who aren't sure if they are
against the war, but aren't really for it either. I'm talking about those
people who know something doesn't feel exactly right or make sense about
killing Afghanis but feel something must be done to respond to the killings
of 911. For those of us who are certain about our opposition, read on
anyhow. The following couple of paragraphs can be like a quick review-a
renewal of our determination to end this murderous nonsense masquerading as
justice and goodness.
To start, we are told that this war is against terrorism. Let's look at
In the 1950s and 1960s any movement or government that opposed the US was
labeled communist by the US propaganda machine. Today, the new label is to
be terrorist. While it is very, very important to acknowledge that the
acts of 911 were terrorist acts, it is equally important to acknowledge
that struggles like that of the Palestinians are legitimate struggles for
self-determination. In Washington's new war, it is the intention of the US
government and its cohorts to confuse these definitions to serve their own
ends. Of course, though, they will tell us that any expansion of their war
will be in self-defense.
This is a lie! Bombing a country to smithereens is not self-defense.
Attacking and invading a country that did not attack us is not
self-defense. Forcing hundreds of thousands of already desperate people
from their homes and into camps is not self-defense. Destabilizing an
already tenuous world is not self-defense. It is nothing other than
unabashed aggression in the name of US hegemony and the war machine.
Especially when we are told by those very same folks ordering the
bombardment of Afghanistan that after they finish their destruction and
whatever comes next, there is a very good chance that the very men we are
told organized the 911 attacks will still be on the loose and that the
military must go into other countries and kill some more. When I hear that
I find it hard to believe that capturing those guys was ever the main
priority in this campaign.
Let me digress for a moment: when I was a kid I lived in Pakistan as a
USAF military dependent. My parents hired a man to watch us kids when they
were busy. He also cleaned the house and cooked occasionally. As an
adult, I look back on those days and realize how colonialist that set-up
was, but at the time I saw it differently. We called the man who worked
for us Sharif. He spoke three languages--English, Urdu, and Pushtu-and
enjoined me in many conversations about his life, his religion and his
culture. Sometimes I would go to his village with him and play with the
boys my age and then eat dinner. He even invited me to his wedding. I
often wonder what happened to him and his loved ones or the boys I used to
play with. Because of my personal connection to this land through those
memories I die a little bit each time those bombers kill another human in
that land. In truth, though we all die a little bit each time this occurs.
We must bring it home--it is human lives our government is taking, not
some numbers on a scoresheet that will be filled only after the Pentagon's
goals are achieved.
We can not let them expand their war. It must end in Afghanistan and it
must end NOW! No more cluster bombs. No more laser-guided bombs. No more
cruise missiles. No more B-52 carpet-bombing. No more gatling guns on
gunships raking death across the mountains and plains. No more death in
our name. If the masters of war try to expand this war, (and they will) it
will become very obvious that this is not a war against terrorism as much
as it is a campaign of terror against those who would thwart corporate
America's desire for global rule-something it was having a hard time doing
by using more conventional means like trade agreements and such, although
Bush and friends insist, in their greed-driven blindness, that free trade
agreements thwart terrorism, when in reality not only do they increase the
disparities in the world that drive desperate people to commit desperate
acts of terror, the agreements themselves are acts of terror in that their
very nature ensures the suffering of millions by denying them essential
human needs. This is not to say that terrorism isn't a threat, nor that
those who perpetrated the crimes of 911 should not be brought to justice^
it is saying that a war against all of Washington's enemies is an even
greater threat to all of humanity.
But what about the Taliban? Aren't they oppressive and against women?
Yes, they are. But, you know what, war is not going to solve that. Even
if the Taliban are destroyed and a new government is put into place in
Afghanistan, there will be grave problems with regards to the rights of
women and those the Afghani population who are left out of any new
government. However, no matter what, the current killing going on will not
alleviate this situation either. Indeed, war and its aftermath usually
tends to pave the way for even greater violation of human rights -of which
women's rights are one of the most important aspects. It is my hope that a
fairer regime will rule Afghanistan in the future, but this war must end in
order for any meaningful changes in that arena to occur. As for the rest
of the world, what has this war done in terms of freedom? Not a damn
thing! Indeed, like I said earlier, here in the US we see more
restrictions on our freedom to travel, our freedom to converse on the
telephone and via email, and there are now laws on the books that would
allow the government, should it so desire, to prosecute me and everyone
else here as domestic terrorists. Not that that's likely to happen, but it
could. GW may call this war Operation Enduring Freedom, but I've begun
calling it Operation Ending Freedom.
You know, when I listen to the words of bin Laden and his organization or
the words of GW and the organization he currently runs, they sound
frightfully similar. Both of these organizations-Al Queda and the US
government-believe they are absolutely correct and both are willing to do
whatever it takes to impose their plans for the world on the rest of us, no
matter what that involves-mass murder via bombing, war, and starvation, or
political, business and trade practices that deny the humanity of a large
percentage of the world's population. Neither organization has the best
interests of humanity in mind. Bin Laden and his organization use
religion to gain supporters. GW and friends use patriotism, although, like
American warmakers throughout our history, they'll play the religion card
too. While both religion and patriotism are legitimate expressions of the
human approach to life, the manipulation of either to condone killing is
not only wrong, it is perverse. Unfortunately for the human race, it is
all too common. Neither of these men and the organizations they lead care
as much about humanity as they do about their political agenda and neither
of them deserve our allegiance. Of course, we can't ignore them because
their battle won't go away and the planet is in the middle.
I want to take a moment to mourn those who have died in this battle between
these two organizations of terror-here and overseas. I also want to talk
about the service women and men (and those who are considering joining)
involved in this war. These folks are honorable folks. They are not the
enemy. It is they and their families who will suffer more than other
Americans in this war. If history is any indication, many of the men and
women in uniform will return from battle bearing its scars-physical and
emotional. They will discover that there is no glory in killing and dying,
and that the patriotism they were sold was little more than a cynical lie
used by those in power to convince them to leave their families and kill
other human beings who fell for another version of that same lie. We can
support them best by ending this war, bringing all of the soldiers over
there home, and by speaking with those whom we know in the service -family
and friends-about what the historical role of the US military has been-not
freedom, but oppression. Not defense, but intrusion.
One more thing, it's important to address what lies ahead for those of us
who oppose the killing going on in our name. It is not going to be easy,
especially right now. People will harass us. At times, we will want to
quit. At times we will question the point of our resistance. But we must
never quit. No! We must raise our level of opposition to a greater level
then. Sometimes we will offend some folks, maybe even our family or
friends. Sometimes we will be verbally abused or physically assaulted. We
must not, no, cannot, give in. Like the great fighter for the liberation
of black people in this country from slavery , Frederick Douglas, said:
If there is no struggle, there is not progress. Those who profess to
favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground. They want rain without the thunder and lightning.
They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This
struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both
mental and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing
without a demand.
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Emil Guillermo, Special to SF Gate
In this new and different kind of war, official leaks to various news
agencies tell us President Bush has authorized the CIA to go after a
very specific target -- Osama bin Laden.
The CIA now has a license to kill the big O.
No surprise there.
At the same time, Vice President Dick Cheney prepares us for the long
grind when he says, "I think it's fair to say you can't predict a
straight line to victory. You know, there'll be good days and bad
days along the way."
Again, no surprise.
The real surprise is how much this new war is sounding less like the
video game we call the Gulf War and more like that old '60s TV
staple, "Mission: Impossible."
On the other hand, the peace movement seems to be developing quite differently.
Quite by accident, I stumbled onto a protest this past weekend in San
Francisco. Normally, I don't do protests. I'm a journalist. I write
columns, not protest signs. Besides, you can fit more words here than
you can on a piece of poster board.
But I was walking to another engagement when I happened on the rally
and was struck by its size and scope.
On the late TV news, you may have seen about 30 seconds' worth of
coverage of this event. But there were more than 5,000 people
gathered -- and there was a real newsworthy difference in the kind of
people speaking out for a little sanity in the world.
It wasn't like the demonstrations I'd seen, heard or read about
during the only other big war whose protests made an impression on me
-- the Vietnam War.
But what do you expect from this thing we call the "new war" but a
totally new and different kind of peace movement?
In the Vietnam era, age and generation were the dividing lines here
at home. Trust no one over 30, right? Good thing I was 13. I had a
lot of upside.
At the time, young people formed a counterculture whose values were
different from their "establishment" parents. People wore different
things than their parents. Most smoked different things. Most wanted
to do different things with their lives. It was logical that if we
had different record albums than our parents, we should have a
different foreign policy.
And then came the matter of fighting their war. The personal
connection to protest was different then. It was middle class. It was
white. That was America then. In hindsight, it often seems as if the
war just coincided with a major disconnect at the time between young
Of course, I saw some of the remnants of that era on Saturday, all
older and grayer, more mature -- though some of them would still have
fit perfectly into a vintage time-warped photograph in a tie-dyed
But mostly I saw a lot of new energy from young Asians, African
Americans and Latinos.
This isn't Vietnam's generational war. If anything, race and
ethnicity have emerged as the prime coalescing agent in the movement.
Maybe that's why I heard a lot of rap music emanating from the stage.
I didn't see Jane Fonda up there.
I didn't hear Country Joe, either.
No one said, "Give me an F!"
Unless the "F" was for Farishta.
Twenty-one-year-old Farishta Amani, a freshman at Chabot College, was
up in front. "I have family in south Afghanistan who are getting
bombed -- and I can't believe the US government would bomb starving
people," she told the Chronicle. "This will not stop terrorism and
will only make people more angry."
After decades of immigration and the biggest boom in ethnic Americans
ever, there are new truths that emerge in this war that we may not
have factored in to our thinking.
In this day and age, the US can't bomb a country without impacting
some American's ancestral home. The link between homelands there and
neighborhoods here is so much stronger than it's ever been. Yet few
stop to understand that when we bomb there, Americans grieve here.
When young Afghan-Americans speak, there is no lack of patriotism for
their country, America. But there is genuine compassion for the whole
situation, not just for a selective part of it.
People who have family in other places around the globe understand this.
Other Americans who, because of their origins, have been subjected to
racial profiling in this county understand this too.
They can relate to Moslems and Arabs and South Asians and Central
Asians in America rounded up and held for questioning for days and
weeks at a time. Many of them are merely innocent people caught in
the middle of America's war on terrorism.
They were all in the crowd on Saturday.
If you need a coalition of countries to wage war, it figures you need
a coalition of issues and communities to wage peace. So the protest
signs were mixed and varied. One read, "Stop the War in Afghanistan."
But another read, "Stop Racial Scapegoating." And another, "Defend
Through all these messages runs a racial thread that marks what makes
this movement for peace different from others in the past. It's
broader and more diverse than you can imagine. It's a peace movement
that looks like America.
Emil Guillermo's book, "Amok" won an American Book Award 2000. He
hosts "NCM-TV: New California Media," seen on PBS stations in San
Francisco and Los Angeles. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whispers of Vietnam haunt US war on terror
October 30, 2001
By Jim Lobe
Washington - President George W Bush's six-week-old "war" against terrorism,
launched hurriedly after the September 11 attacks on New York and the
Pentagon, appears to be foundering on multiple fronts.
CNN still carries the slogan "America Strikes Back" on its Headline News
Channel but Washington now seems much more preoccupied with biological
warfare - in the form of letter-borne anthrax spores - at home than it is
with the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The war there
is not going particularly well, according to virtually all accounts. While
the head of the US armed forces bragged 10 days ago that a week of bombing
had "eviscerated" the combat capacity of the Taliban, his operations
director admitted this week that the military was "surprised" at their
Others, including Afghanistan experts and leaders of the Northern Alliance,
which is allied with Washington in its campaign, say that if anything, the
regime probably has gained confidence since US warplanes launched their
campaign three weeks ago. Even before the bombing began, senior US officials
predicted that Taliban commanders would defect once they were exposed to
Washington's military might as well as US intelligence agents bearing
promises of power and money. This was to have led to the regime's collapse,
if not by the end of October, then by the onset of Ramadan in mid-November.
There have been no defections over the past three weeks. This is a major
reason why the Northern Alliance has not been able to capture
Mazar-i-Sharif, the strategic northern city that US war planners had thought
would fall in the operation's early days.
"The more these attacks continue, the more you'll find people siding with
the Taliban to defend the country," said Barnet Rubin, an Afghanistan
scholar at New York University.
Most analysts here now believe that the Taliban will be able to hang on at
least until the month-long Ramadan holidays. At that point, bombing should
cease lest it feed growing outrage and destabilize friendly governments, say
leaders of Muslim states allied with Washington - among them Presidents
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.
The US effort already seems to be losing the battle for hearts and minds as
more bombs go astray, hitting residential areas or Red Cross warehouses,
despite initial denials and belated expressions of "regrets" by Pentagon
spokespersons. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Friday that at least 23
civilians, most of them young children, were killed when US bombs hit the
village of Thori, near a Taliban military base. Amnesty International called
on Washington to stop using cluster bombs.
As a result of US bombing, the searing images of the destruction of the
World Trade Center, in which some 5,000 people died September 11, rapidly
are giving way to new pictures of daily bombing runs, devastated villages,
and grieving parents. These scenes make it much harder for Bush to persuade
Muslims in particular that this war is being waged against a small group of
terrorists, rather than Islam and its believers.
"How much longer does the bombing continue?" Senate Foreign Relations
Committee Chairman Joseph Biden asked this week. "Because we're going to pay
every single hour, every single day it continues. We're going to pay an
escalating price in the Muslim world."
Three weeks into the military campaign, it is clear that this war is not
going like those in Panama, Iraq, and Serbia/Kosovo over the past 12 years
that helped Washington forget its humiliation in Vietnam a generation ago.
That dreaded memory has not yet forced its way into general public debate,
but in some ways this war is beginning to resemble Vietnam. Like
Afghanistan, Vietnam was primarily agrarian, dirt-poor, highly
decentralized, and anything but a "target-rich environment", in the
Pentagon's felicitous jargon.
There are major differences between the two situations: Washington has yet
to introduce ground troops in Afghanistan and will almost certainly avoid
any long-term deployment of ground forces. Nor has Washington yet brought
anything like the full weight of its airborne military power to bear on
Taliban troops. Nevertheless, as right-wing politicians already have begun
complaining, the situation is like Vietnam in that the military is
constrained by a political strategy: first constructing a broad-based
post-Taliban coalition capable of restoring stability.
This strategy precisely prevents the military from using its full power to
annihilate Taliban forces in a way that permits the Northern Alliance, which
represents the Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, to
roll into Kabul and set up a new government at the expense of the much
larger Pashtun population.
"Ultimately, the first priority is getting rid of Osama bin Laden and the
Taliban, so you can't let your fastidiousness over what the next government
in Kabul is going to be overwhelm your first priorities," complained Gary
Schmitt, director of the right-wing Project for a New American Century, many
of whose founders now occupy top posts in the Pentagon and National Security
Like Vietnam-era hawks, people like Schmitt - both inside the administration
and out - argue for a much more aggressive campaign aimed at achieving
Washington's military aims as quickly as possible, regardless of diplomatic
considerations such as reconciling the competing and often contradictory
interests of nearby countries like Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and India, not to
mention Afghanistan's internal factions.
While hawks fret about political and diplomatic constraints on the military,
doves also are taking flight. Biden's remarks last week were particularly
significant both because of his position as Foreign Relations Committee
chairman and because he generally has been seen as a foreign policy hawk. If
Washington continues bombing much longer, said Biden, it risks being
perceived in the region and the world as "this high-tech bully that thinks
from the air we can do whatever we want to do", a warning which, in an echo
of the harsh debates over Vietnam, spurred charges from Republicans that he
was "bring[ing] comfort to our enemies".
An even more damaging factor that carries a whiff of old battles is the
speed with which a "credibility gap" also is growing up around this war. The
early assertions about credible threats to Air Force One; the unprecedented
secrecy surrounding military deployments, let alone operations; the initial
denials of civilian deaths; conflicting official statements about the
anthrax scare; the abrupt disappearance of government websites without
notice or explanation; and the contrast between the early confidence and the
lack of any tangible progress all recall an earlier time when the public's
trust in the competence and honesty of the government eroded steadily.
There is no war on terrorism
If there was, the SAS would be storming the beaches of Florida
By John Pilger
New Statesman (London)
29 October 2001
If people were not being killed and beginning to starve, the American
attack on Afghanistan might seem farcical. But there is a logic to
what they are doing. Read between the lines and it is clear that they
are not bombing large numbers of the Taliban's front-line troops.
Why? Because they want to preserve what the US secretary of state,
Colin Powell, calls the "moderate" Taliban, who will join a "loose
federation" of "nation builders" once the war is over. The moderate
Taliban will unite with "elements of the resistance" in the Northern
Alliance, the bomb-planters, rapists and heroin dealers, who were
trained by the SAS and paid by Washington.
This is known as divide and rule, a strategy as old as imperialism.
It will allow the Americans - they hope - to reassert control over a
region they "lost". Other countries, such as Pakistan and the
neighboring former Soviet republics, are being bribed into
submission. The "war on terrorism", with its Rambo raids, is merely a
circus for the folks back home and the media.
It takes me back to the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher announced there
were "reasonable" Khmer Rouge. The aim was to bolster a Khmer
Rouge-led coalition, in exile, which Washington wanted to run
Cambodia and so keep out its recent humiliator, Vietnam, and the
influence of the Soviet Union. The SAS were sent to train Pol Pot's
killers in Thailand, teaching them how more effectively to blow
people up with landmines. They got on so well together that when the
United Nations finally turned up, the Khmer Rouge asked for their old
British comrades to join them in the zones they controlled. The same
thing may happen in Afghanistan when the UN turns up as the
facilitator for America "building" an obedient regime.
Among the international relations academics who provide the jargon
and apologetics for Anglo-American foreign policy, divide and rule is
known as "containment". The aim is to destroy the capacity of nations
to challenge US dominance while allowing their regimes to maintain
internal order. The nature of the regime is irrelevant. Thus, people
all over the world have been divided, ruled and "contained", often
violently: the destruction of Yugoslavia is a recent example; the
territory administered by the Palestinian Authority is another.
Real reasons for the actions of great power are seldom reported. A
morality play is preferred. When George Bush Senior attacked Panama
in 1990, he was reportedly "smoking out" General Noriega, "a drug
runner and a child pornographer". The real reason was not news. The
Panama Canal was about to revert to the government of Panama, and the
US wanted a less uppity, more compliant thug than Noriega to look
after its interests once the canal was no longer officially theirs.
Likewise, the real reason for attacking Iraq in 1991 had little to do
with defending the territorial sanctity of the Kuwaiti sheikhs and
everything to do with crippling, or "containing", increasingly
powerful, modern Iraq. The Americans had no intention of allowing
Saddam Hussein, a former "friend" who had developed ideas above his
imperial station, to get in the way of their plans for a vast oil
protectorate stretching from Turkey to the Caucasus.
Undoubtedly, a primary reason for the attack on Afghanistan is the
installation of a regime that will oversee an American-owned pipeline
bringing oil and gas from the Caspian Basin, the greatest source of
untapped fossil fuel on earth and enough, according to one estimate,
to meet America's voracious energy needs for 30 years. Such a
pipeline can run through Russia, Iran, or Afghanistan. Only in
Afghanistan can the Americans control it.
Also, stricken Afghanistan is an easy target, an ideal place for a
"demonstration war" - a show of what America is prepared to do "where
required", as the US ambassador to the United Nations said recently.
The racism is implicit. Who cares about Afghan peasants? No Paul
McCartney concert for them. Moreover, people can be sprayed with
bomblets that blow the heads off children, and we in the west are
spared, or denied, the evidence. It is clear that most of the media
are suppressing horrific images, as was done in the Gulf slaughter.
With honorable exceptions, the coverage is, as ever, the opposite of
Claud Cockburn's truism: "Never believe anything until it is
officially denied." The Sunday papers carry little more than fables
straight from the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence. Talking up a
land invasion is an important media task, as it was in the Gulf and
Yugoslavia. Talking up Iraq as a source of the anthrax scare, and the
next target, is another. Mark Urban, Newsnight's diplomatic
correspondent, told Jeremy Paxman recently that the Americans were
studying "secret information" that Saddam Hussein was about to "fire
off a missile". Evidence? Urban said nothing; Paxman did not press
There is no "war on terrorism". If there was, the SAS would be
storming the beaches of Florida, where more terrorists, tyrants and
torturers are given refuge than anywhere in the world. If the
precocious Blair was really hostile to terrorism, he would do
everything in his power to pursue policies that lifted the threat of
violent death from people in his own country and third world
countries alike, instead of escalating terrorism, as he and Bush are
doing. But these are violent men, regardless of their distance from
the mayhem they initiate. Blair's enthusiastic part in the cluster
bombing of civilians in Iraq and Serbia, and the killing of tens of
thousands of children in Iraq, is documented. The Bush family's
violence, from Nicaragua to Panama, the Gulf to the death rows of
Texas, is a matter of record. Their war on terrorism is no more than
the continuing war of the powerful against the powerless, with new
excuses, new hidden imperatives, new lies.
The problem for people in the west who do not see the violence of
Bush and Blair and their predecessors is that they cannot appreciate
the reaction. "We have sown the wind; he is the whirlwind," wrote
Jean-Paul Sartre in his preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the
Earth, "and all that is stirred up in them is a volcanic fury whose
force is equal to that of the pressure upon them [and] the same
violence is thrown back upon us as when our reflection comes forward
to meet us when we go towards a mirror."
The great people's historian Howard Zinn, Boston University professor
and former Second World War bomber pilot, helps us to understand this
in his new book, Howard Zinn on War. The attack on the twin towers in
New York, he writes, has a moral relation to American and Israeli
attacks on the Arab Middle East. If the actions of the west's
official enemies receive enormous attention as terrorist atrocities
while the terrorist atrocities of the US and its allies and clients
are starved of political and press attention, "it is impossible to
make a balanced moral judgement", to find solutions to the cycle of
revenge and reprisal and to address the underlying issue of global
economic inequality and oppression.
Propaganda is the enemy within. "By volume and repetition", a barrage
of selective, limited information is turned out by tame media,
information isolated from political context (such as the bloody
record of the superpower throughout the world). In the absence of
alternative views, it is no surprise that people's "reasonable
reaction" is that "we must do something". This leads to the quick
conclusion that "we" must bomb "them". And when it is over, and the
corpses are piled high, "only Milosevic stands in the dock, not
Clinton. Only Saddam Hussein is outlawed, not Bush Senior. Only Bin
Laden has a $50m price on his head, not Bush Junior and his
predecessors." It is, says Zinn, "a tribute to the humanity of
ordinary people that horrible acts must be camouflaged [with words]
like security, peace, freedom, democracy, the 'national interest'."
One of Bush and Blair's oft-repeated lies is that "world opinion is
with us". No, it is not. Out of 30 countries surveyed by Gallup
International, only in Israel and the United States does a majority
of people agree that military attacks are preferable to pursuing
justice non-violently through international law, however long it
takes. That is the good news.
An errant bomb, a mother's life
The Globe and Mail
October 29, 2001
By Geoffrey York
Ghanikhil, Afghanistan -- It was a peaceful Saturday afternoon, disturbed
only by the distant drone of U.S. jets. An Afghan woman named Kokugul was
sewing a wedding dress for a relative.
Then, from out of the blue skies, a U.S. bomb plunged toward her mud-brick
house. There was a huge explosion, and the house disappeared in a cloud of
smoke and dust. Kokugul was killed instantly.
The 25-year-old refugee and mother of two, who had sought safety in this
remote farming settlement, was buried in a mud-walled village cemetery on a
bright sunny morning yesterday. The village men placed a layer of logs over
her shrouded body, covered it with damp soil, and recited a Muslim prayer
above her grave.
The U.S. F-18 Hornet had scored a direct hit on her two-storey house, which
was several kilometres away from any possible target of the U.S. campaign
against the Taliban. Her village was in opposition-controlled territory,
about three kilometres from the front.
It was the first fatal U.S. bombing in opposition territory, and the
villagers were shocked.
"There were American airplanes flying around here all day, from the morning
to the night, but we never believed they would bomb us," said Farhad
Bashardoost, who lived next door to Kokugul. Most of Kokugul's bombed house
was a heap of rubble yesterday. Two large scraps of what appeared to be a
bomb, including a navigational fin, were visible in the debris.
In the room where she was killed, only three walls were still standing. The
room was pathetically barren, except for a few photos of her relatives,
posters of Mecca and Kabul and a clock with the hands stopped at 4:24 p.m.
-- the time of the bombing. The rubble-strewn floor was littered with
cushions, blankets and lamps.
Nine other civilians, including several children, were badly injured in
Ghanikhil on Saturday afternoon. A bleeding man was carted away in a
The bombing raids were part of the heaviest day of U.S. attacks on Taliban
front lines near Kabul since Washington's military action began Oct. 7.
The bombing of Ghanikhil may not have been the only disastrous error of the
weekend. As many as three other U.S. bombs killed and injured civilians near
the front lines around Kabul yesterday morning, according to witnesses.
It was 5:30 on Saturday afternoon when the first victim of the bombing raids
was brought to the emergency hospital in the Panjshir Valley, one of the
main strongholds of the anti-Taliban forces.
Kate Rowlands, the hospital director, suspected that would be first of many
casualties. She was right. Within a few hours, a total of 14 patients from
four different locations had been brought to the hospital or its affiliated
first-aid posts near the front lines. Seven seriously wounded people needed
The patients reported that six civilians in their four villages had been
killed by U.S. bombs, although their claims were difficult to verify because
most of the villages were dangerously close to the Taliban front lines.
One of the bombed villages was actually inside the Taliban lines, about a
10-minute walk from the front. In the confusion of the bombing, the injured
victims were able to cross the front and reach the opposition side. Three
wounded people from the village, brought to the emergency hospital for
treatment, reported that two civilians had been killed by the U.S. bombing.
"It was a big shock to all of the hospital staff to receive civilian
casualties from the bombing," said Ms. Rowlands, whose hospital was founded
by an Italian organization known as Emergency.
"The U.S. government had said it was going to hit purely military targets,
but Saturday showed this is clearly not the case," she said in an interview
She noted the widespread reports of other U.S. bombs that have killed
civilians or caused extensive damage to humanitarian supplies and relief
agencies across Afghanistan.
Opposition commanders, too, were angered by the bombing error at Ghanikhil.
U.S. spotters are believed to be hidden on a nearby hill, where they provide
detailed information on Taliban targets. English-speaking voices, presumably
those of the spotters, could be heard on military radios near the hill last
week. Yet despite this detailed targeting information, the error still
When journalists first reached the village Saturday night, the villagers
were in a fury. Some threw stones at a Russian photographer and manhandled a
British television crew.
"Why has America done this to us?" an elderly man asked. "We thought they
were our friends. We are all civilians here. Tell them to stop bombing us."
Local authorities were so alarmed by the furious reaction that they assigned
armed guards to the journalists who visited the isolated village, two
kilometres from the nearest road.
Much of the anger had subsided by yesterday. Many villagers said they were
willing to forgive the Americans, as long as they avoided similar mistakes
in the future. Many still supported the U.S. bombing raids, which they
believe have deterred Taliban rocket attacks.
But others remained upset.
"I am very angry," said Noor Said, a farmer. "Now the Americans are
attacking my village. Why are all these foreigners coming to Afghanistan?
How are they helping us? We are fighting terrorism, so why do you bomb our
Another villager, 48-year-old Didar, said the Americans should switch to a
ground campaign and send in infantry instead of airplanes.
"Using bombs might be a mistake if they cannot hit targets accurately from
such a height," he said. "Either they made a mistake on Saturday or they
want to kill all of us."
The Northern Alliance, the opposition coalition, confirmed the bombing of
Ghanikhil and said two villagers had been killed.
"There was a big mistake," said Abdullah Abdullah, the alliance's foreign
minister. "It was a tragic mistake. Of course we know it wasn't deliberate
U.S. denies war effort failing
Afghan operation 'not a quagmire at all,' Rumsfeld says, despite
growing criticism and mounting number of civilian casualties
By John Ibbitson
The Globe and Mail
October 29, 2001
Washington -- U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the progress
of the U.S. war against Afghanistan's Taliban regime yesterday amid growing
criticism that the mostly air-based offensive is proving ineffective.
"I hear some impatience from the people who have to produce news every 15
minutes, but not from the American people," he said yesterday in an
interview on CNN's Late Edition.
"I have said repeatedly that this will be a long, long effort," he later
told reporters. "It's not a quagmire at all. It's been three weeks that
we've been engaged in this."
But amid the growing numbers of civilian casualties, Washington's
difficulties in dealing with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and the lack
of measurable progress toward capturing accused terrorist Osama bin Laden,
some have been suggesting the campaign is not going as well as expected.
Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, asserted
yesterday that "in the early phase, the bombing was not intensive enough, it
didn't hurt them hard enough." James Woolsey, former director of the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency, said it was time "to take the gloves off with
the air campaign."
Republican Senator John McCain, who challenged George W. Bush for the
Republican presidential nomination last year, warned that "we may have to
put large numbers of troops into Afghanistan for a period of time . . . to
wipe out these terrorist networks."
And Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf urged that the U.S. strikes "be
brought to an end as soon as possible," saying that if the United States is
"unable to achieve its military goals in a certain time, we need to switch
to a political strategy."
Mr. Rumsfeld, though, said the U.S.-led campaign is proceeding as expected.
Echoing other U.S. officials, he conceded to CNN that Afghanistan's rulers
"have a lot of very seasoned, tough people." But he denied speculation that
the bombing has hardened Afghan support for the Taliban, and refused to rule
out bombing during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card also appeared on television
yesterday, telling NBC that "this is a long war that will be fought through
many different battles. It could take years, but we're going to do
everything we can to rout terrorists out of Afghanistan and then get them in
the rest of the world."
Military leaders of the Northern Alliance, fighting the Taliban in the
northern reaches of Afghanistan, have bitterly complained that U.S. and
British forces are not hitting entrenched Taliban positions hard enough.
But Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that the United States is being "very energetic"
in supporting the Northern Alliance. There were reports over the weekend of
more intensive air attacks against those positions, suggesting that
Washington is attempting to soften Taliban defences in preparation for a
push by Alliance forces.
The Defence Secretary said he is confident that conventional weapons will
help Washington undermine and ultimately overthrow the Taliban regime. But
he also refused to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons. "The
United States has historically refused to rule out the use of weapons like
that," he said.
That position is consistent with U.S. military policy since the dawn of the
nuclear age. During the Cold War, Washington reserved the right to employ
nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union in the event of a conventional
attack against North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Europe. During
the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf, then president George Bush reserved the
right to use weapons of mass destruction against Iraq if it employed similar
The next year, however, Washington and Moscow agreed to eliminate all
ground-launched, short-range tactical nuclear weapons, which are generally
defined as having an explosive capacity of less than 100 kilotons.
Another challenge to the U.S. campaign emerged last night in Pakistan, where
a group of armed pro-Taliban Pakistani tribesmen took over the isolated
Chilas military airstrip in the North West Frontier province, aviation
"I heard an armed group was there since evening," an aviation official in
nearby Gilgit told Reuters. A military spokesman was not immediately
available to comment.
General Musharraf has been struggling to contain opposition from militant
Pakistani Muslims against the bombing. Last week, one hard-line group vowed
to send thousands of armed Pakistanis to fight alongside the Taliban.
On the ground in Afghanistan yesterday, stepped-up air attacks left at least
13 civilians dead, according to witnesses. In northern Kabul's Qali Hotair
neighbourhood, an Associated Press reporter saw the bodies of four children
and two adults. Neighbours said 10 people were killed in total.
The Pentagon had no immediate comment. But Mr. Rumsfeld did concur with
press reports that said the CIA is prepared to assassinate terrorist leaders
identified with the Sept. 11 attacks, or who may be planning future attacks.
The September 11 Declaration
[This is an unsigned declaration for use in whole, in part, or in spirit,
by anyone working for peace.]
The shock of September 11, and the speed with which it has led
our already precarious world to the very edge of ruin, is absolutely
terrifying. We should be terrified. But we must not be defined by
our fear. We must meet fear with courage. We live in cynical times,
so we must sustain hope. We live in dangerous times, so we must
demand peace. We live in unmerciful times, and so we must
inculcate and awaken love. The problem of the 21st Century
remains the crisis of hatred and the catastrophe of war, and in the
aftermath of September 11 the one truth that remains absolutely
clear is that the only alternative to Nonviolence is death.
If ever there was the possibility of fighting a "just" war, the 20th
Century proved that this possibility no longer exists. The wars of
the last hundred years, large and small, hot and cold, devastated
much of our world - physically, economically, politically, and
spiritually - and directly led to the deaths of tens of millions of
human beings. Even the most "just" of these wars, World War II
and the struggle against Fascism, ended with the firebombing of
Dresden and the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The
terror of war, like the war of terror, serves only chaos.
Casual platitudes about so-called "collateral damage" are as
infuriating coming from Presidents as they are coming from
terrorists. We cannot bear the loss of even one more person. All of
us would like to believe that we are fair and generous within our
common family of Humankind. But the truth remains that men,
women, and children everywhere cry out for justice and peace,
families - and even whole nations - are everywhere decimated, and
countless innocents are destroyed because of the prejudice, greed
and indifference that we continue to let continue. We must begin to
see that while any of us are not safe, all of us are not safe.
Terrorism is not a country or an ideology, nor are human beings
anywhere in this world born subject to it. Terrorism is the delusion
that no one in the world is innocent, and it is trained by the
injustice of a world that recognizes innocence only in its rhetoric.
Peace is not simply the absence of conflict: It is the living
presence of justice. Our world should be a beloved community.
Where are the best minds of our generation? We fear they are
stagnating in the neglected poverty of all our Detroits and Los
Angeleses; dying in the forced ruins of all our Iraqs and
Afghanistans. Our struggle must be guided by the sense that war
and its injustices cannot be allowed to continue, or we may be the
last generation in the experiment of living.
We can no longer afford to allow rape to remain the organizing
philosophy of our world. We must begin to allocate our world's
resources based on our world's needs. The people of the West and
North are befuddled with the haze of the manifest fantasy of
modernity through materialism, and democratization through
corporate rule. For the majority of people in the world, reality is
quite different. Instead of trying to create a world that is corporately
responsible, our corporations must be made publicly responsible.
Democracy and social justice cannot exist when a minority
completely controls such enormous wealth, and wields such
enormous power. The people of the Global South suffer the ravages
of environmental destruction, dictatorial governments, massive
poverty and indebtedness, and war. If all of these problems cannot
be blamed on the West, then at the very least the profits all of
these problems generate for Western governments and
corporations should make us all shake with shame. Instead of
addressing these injustices, the so-called War on Terrorism
promises to compound them with more environmental destruction,
more support for dictators, more trade that impoverishes rather
than enriches, and - worst of all - more, and more destructive,
Nor are the children of the West immune from the impoverishment
of militarism and materialism. Too often we are told to confuse the
blessings of life that come from hard and honest work with the
illusion of a so-called productivity defined only through enslaving
our social and family structures to the false gods of unreasonable,
corporate profits and massive, individual indebtedness which only
serves to make the already rich even richer. The military might
needed to defend the superfluous abundance of the world's elites
from the rest of us impoverishes all of us. The $345 billion the
United States will spend on its military in 2001 - without even
counting how much the War on Terrorism will begin to cost - is the
largest, single expenditure of any country on any item in the entire
world. This military budget is larger than most nations' entire
economies, but despite its enormity it failed to prevent September
11. Is there any greater, wasteful extravagance than a military that
impoverishes its own people and cannot even protect them from
The answers to these problems do not rest in a greater militarism
or a greater materialism. It is justice and peace that are inexorably
linked, not justice and war. The idea of justice through war is a self-
apparent absurdity that satisfies only the most superficial need for
vengeance, and leads further and further down the spiral of racial
death. We demand an end to the wars of militarism and
materialism that elites from every nation wage against we the
peoples of our world. We demand an end to the hatreds and
violence that this violence itself breeds. We demand an end to
these things because if we do not end them they will end us.
To prevent our own destruction, we demand:
1) An immediate end to all hostilities and military activities in
Afghanistan, and the immediate funding and implementation of a
realistic and effective program of emergency assistance aimed at
preventing the deaths of the over 7 million Afghanis in immediate
danger of starvation. Is war so precious that we can face the very
real possibility of the mass destruction of Afghani civilians with so
little concern? Have we forgotten the words of President Reagan,
who told us that "a hungry child knows no politics?" Or the words of
President Kennedy, who told us that we should "never negotiate
out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate?" It may be that
negotiations will not work, but it is certainly true that they have not
even been attempted. And the difference between turning terrorists
over to the international community rather than to the U.S. is not
so substantive as to demand the destruction of Afghanistan;
2) The immediate creation of a permanent International Criminal
Court with jurisdiction over War Crimes and Crimes Against
Humanity, including the crimes of International Terrorism. In order
to be effective, this court must have the police powers necessary to
enforce its indictments and rulings on paramilitary groups, such as
terrorists, as well as on abusive governments, such as the Taliban.
We must not allow ourselves to fall into the hypocrisy of pursuing
terrorists who target civilians while allowing governmental leaders
who target them to operate freely. The creation of this court is a
necessary requirement to sustaining a war against terrorism that
does not itself create more terrorists. We must not allow the
pursuit of terror to be committed outside of the civil and civilizing
force of Law. Unlike the rule of force, the law protects civilians, as it
protects civility. Bringing criminals to justice through the law
educates and informs our lives, and, unlike war, the law, properly
exercised, provides freedom from fear. If we would fight terror with
"Wild West Justice," with extrajudicial wars and assassinations,
then we will demonstrate that the only thing we respect is power,
thereby teaching that power is all we will respond to - planting the
seeds for future terror;
3) The creation of permanent International Weapons Inspection and
Elimination Commission aimed at reducing and eventually
eliminating destructive conventional weapons such as small arms,
landmines and cluster bombs, as well as weapons of mass
destruction, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
We must learn from both the successes and the failures of this
effort in Iraq, recognizing that some governments in some states
will likely work to impede our efforts, but also recognizing that our
efforts must be clear and achievable, and they must remain
grounded in impartial, international supervision, as well as in the
context of a regional arms control that increases international
security rather than an isolated arms control that only threatens
individual state security;
4) The immediate end to all military aid going toward paramilitary
organizations in all parts of the world, and the immediate end to all
military aid going toward any government that fails to embrace and
implement the basic rights delimited in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR). We cannot fight terrorism by funding it. The
profits made by selling arms to dictatorial and human-rights
abusing regimes and paramilitary groups are unconscionable, and
the uses of these arms against civilians is simply unacceptable.
Governments that cannot or will not protect the basic rights of their
peoples must not be provided the means for denying those rights
through violence. The side of angels is not readily apparent in
conflicts, and the line between fighting to "defend" freedom and
fighting to further terror seems often to be simply one of rhetoric;
5) Realistic, effective, and sustained efforts at poverty reduction
throughout the world, including an end to the use of broadly-
targeted economic weapons, such as "sanctions," that
disproportionately effect and forcibly impoverish civilian populations.
The end of Communism has not brought a corresponding end to
poverty in former Communist nations, or in the Global South.
Indeed, poverty, and the gaps between the most poor in our world
and the most rich, have only increased. The only non-Western
nation to fully join the developed world remains Japan, itself, like
the other "developed" nations, a former colonial power. It would
seem that white, like might, continues to make right in the world
today. Our foreign policies, economic and political, must be made
democratic and responsive to human need. Non-democratic
Capitalism, and other forms of economic warfare waged against our
battered planet, cannot be sustained in a just world;
6) The recognition that separatist movements, independence
movements, and national unity movements must remain grounded
in a mutual respect for the basic dignity of all parties to the
conflicts, and that their resolution - whether in Palestine,
Chechnya, Kashmir, Kosovo, Sudan, Tibet, Taiwan, Sri Lanka,
Indonesia, the Philippines, and other areas - must be centered in
and supported through the vigorous and impartial direction of the
international community. Because of its immediacy to September
11, and because Palestinians remain the world's oldest refugee
population, we further demand:
i) The immediate end to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian
Territories, alongside the introduction of international peacekeeping
troops directed with protecting both the Palestinian and Israeli
peoples from continuing attacks;
ii) The immediate dismantlement of all Israeli settlements in the
Occupied Territories. These settlements are illegal under
international law, and have been recognized as such by the entire
world community, including the U.S., since 1967. Far from being a
"negotiating point," they are a source of humiliation and conflict,
and their indefinite continuation represents a direct challenge to the
continuation of a Palestinian people;
iii) The immediate creation of a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, as with South Africa, aimed at bridging differences
and laying the ground for realistic and effective solutions that can
guarantee the long-term peace and security of both the Palestinian
and Israeli peoples;
7) That all the nations of the world reaffirm and immediately begin
to implement and protect the rights and ideals of international law
and human dignity delimited in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. These basic social, economic, and political rights do not
come from governments, or from economic or political ideologies
and systems. They are the inalienable birthright of all of humanity,
and they can no longer be denied to any of our family by any
government or transnational organization.
If the moral history of the last hundred years teaches us anything,
it is that the senseless brutality of September 11, and the
senseless brutality of the world's current, unfolding response to it,
signal future crimes of still greater inhumanity. We join our mothers
and fathers who wrote a generation ago, in fear of the world that
has sadly come to pass, that if we appear to demand the
unattainable, we demand it to avoid the unimaginable. We say with
the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., that the choice before our world
today is no longer between violence and nonviolence - it is either
nonviolence or nonexistence.
The Valor of the Columnists
October 30, 2001
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
The war appears to enjoy wide support, which gives the warmongers an
opportunity to appear populist in their writing. National Review, for
example, seems to have suddenly discovered that wisdom of the common man in
contrast to the "cultural elites" who are said to have the most doubts
about the war. Completely out of character, Ramesh Ponnuru, Rich Lowry, and
the gang have risen to the defense of the workers and peasants.
What National Review doesn't mention is the absence of support among the
working class for the foreign policies that got us into this mess in the
first place. I'd venture a guess that there's less than 1 percent backing
among full-time workers who earn less than $30,000 per year for permanent
stationing of American troops in Saudi Arabia, for example.
War populism is one thing. Far more bizarre is a related phenomena: the
rise of blood-soaked rhetoric among the non-enlisted punditry class as a
substitute for the display of classical virtues. This style is called
various names, like Jacksonian or Churchillian. In this model of writing,
nothing you say is too outrageous. The stronger your rhetoric, the more
elevated the language ("we must vanquish the forces of evil"), the more
courage, valor, and moral conviction it is said to represent, even when
what you are advocating is immoral.
The idea is to appear, as you type into your word processor, to be
unflinching in the face of the enemy, to contemplate and mentally conquer
the possibility of horror. The ultimate objective is to break down the
normal sense of morality that readers have ("Isn't it wrong to punish or
kill innocent people?") and replace it with a new wartime ethic and
language ("No robust defense of national interests can rule the
possibility, however regrettable, of civilian casualties").
Another trope is the use of the first person plural. "We must send in
ground troops." "Our resolve must not lag." Never mind that the writer is
neither a decision maker nor a fighter. This by itself is strange. If I
said, "We must increase the production of Cadillacs," the normal response
would be to ask what executive position at GM I hold. The listener would be
confused to discover that I hold no position at all. Writers who use the
first person plural to discuss US foreign policy do this all this time, but
hardly anyone raises a question.
Let go on to an example. Rich Lowry has issued a call "to send U.S. troops
in on the ground to capture key cities and hold that which we consider
strategically essential.... there is no avoiding these hard decisions,
because there are no free lunches, including in Afghanistan." Thus do we
see how the courageous Rich, as a mere web journalist, has conquered the
national reluctance ("hard decision") to send young men and women into a
poor land, where there are hardly any paid lunches, to conquer and occupy
Rich is himself impressed by an even more vivid example of this style of
thinking: Senator John McCain in an article for the Wall Street Journal:
"War is a miserable business. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are
sacrificed. Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted,
economies are damaged. Strategic interests shielded by years of patient
statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict.
However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we
should still shed a tear for all that will be lost when war claims its
wages from us."
Very chilling indeed. But McCain would have us believe that his frankness
and courage have permitted him to deal with the awful realities to a
greater extent than mere mortals.
"We must expect and prepare for our enemies to strike us again.... We
cannot fight this war from the air alone. We cannot fight it without
casualties. And we cannot fight it without risking unintended damage to
humanitarian and political interests.... We must destroy them, wherever
they hide. That will surely increase the terrible danger facing
noncombatants, a regrettable but necessary fact of war.... We shouldn't
fight this war in increments.... War is a miserable business. Let's get on
Bracing stuff. We are supposed to respond with awe at his supposed
toughness of mind. And yet even McCain couches matters just a bit more
than is necessary in these times. He is still too guarded and not fully
embracing the grim reality. For example, there's no need to talk of
"unintended damage" to "humanitarian...interests" when he really means
imposing massive suffering and death on wholly innocent people.
And what's with this "unintended" qualifier? Let's say I wave a gun around
the room and shout: "When I shoot this, I may unintentionally kill you." In
court, will I be convicted of involuntary manslaughter or murder? McCain is
talking here about doing exactly what he intends. Let's not pussyfoot around.
McCain has stepped up the rhetoric, but not enough. If he and his editorial
cohorts are really serious about this war, and truly committed to appearing
brash and brawny to the readers of the world, they must move beyond
euphemism altogether. Thus do I offer my own contribution to the escalation
of courage notable among the writers of our time:
"Now is the time for us to stand up for honor and decency against vile
foreign elements that threaten our way of life. Let us murder every foreign
Muslim man, women, and child, and starve those we can't find with cruel
blockades, allowing anyone who remains to die miserable deaths from
disease, even if it means hurting our economy and sending thousands of
American men and women to their own violent deaths, leaving their own
children and spouses abandoned. Let us flatten every mud hut, kill every
goat and goatherd, blow the arms off little children with our bright yellow
cluster bomblets. Do it with strength and honor, and do it now.
"This may incite more terrorism at home. We will endure it. Our cities may
be bombed, our water poisoned, our highways wrecked, our hospitals turned
into morgues. No price is too high.
"And, friends, we may never get Bin Laden. May we never stop trying. The
Taliban may actually grow in strength, as governments attacked by
foreigners tend to do. We will not flinch. We may cause every decent person
in the entire world to despise America. But we will show the world that no
insult can break our will. Our government may never again allow a foreign
visitor or product to pass our borders. We will adjust and prevail.
"Yes, we will have to give up our liberty, property, and even family
members. The money we earn from our jobs will be taken by the government
and spent to create more weapons of mass destruction to be dropped on
foreign people's homes, hospitals, and water-treatment plants. They will
thirst but have no drink, because we paid to destroy their clean water.
They will hunger but find no food, because we made it possible to destroy
their crops and any means of transport.
"Your son, whom you have nursed from sickness to health many dozen times
from infancy through his teen years, may be slaughtered on some godforsaken
mountain between China and the Caspian sea, because that's where your
government sent him to kill or be killed. Your daughter, whom you
comforted through adolescence and later dressed so beautifully for the
prom, may be ripped to shreds. So great is your courage and determination
that this is the price you will pay.
"This war may never end. Every bomb we drop will create more enemies, and
thus more people who must be killed. We will go anywhere to do this. If we
discover that the Czech Republic or Costa Rica or even Berkeley,
California, harbors these enemies, they too will become targets of our
wrath. There is no place safe from the sword of justice!
"Your fellow citizens who have lent aid and comfort to the enemy, in
thought, word, or deed, will be humiliated, robbed, jailed without trial.
As for war supporters, we are safe so long as we never disagree with our
government's official line, which is the very definition of truth.
"To eliminate freedom and replace it with a police state is what our high
ideals require of us. For we know that no matter what happens, it is the
fault of our enemies, for they dare to believe of themselves what we
believe of ourselves. Let us get on with the war!"
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