The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

interesting articles on the attacks of 11/9.

here are some more (very very) interesting articles on the events of 11/9 in the USA. Source:

The End of the "End of History"

Jean Bricmont

Everything was going smoothly. Serbia, on its knees, had just sold Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribune for a fistful of dollars (most of which turned out to be earmarked to pay debts going back to Tito's time). NATO was expanding eastwards toward a powerless Russia. Saddam Hussein could be safely bombed whenever one felt like it. Invaded by UCK, Macedonia was obliged to accept the farce of a disarmament of that same UCK by the very ones who armed it in the first place. The Palestinian territories were under tight control while their leaders were assassinated by smart bombs. For the past few years, stockholders had been making record profits. The political left had died out and all political parties had rallied to neoliberalism and "humanitarian" interventionism. In short, as certain commentators put it, we were living in peace.

Then suddenly shock, surprise, horror: the greatest power of all times, the only truly universal empire struck in its very heart, at the center of its wealth and power. A unique and all-powerful electronic spying network, unparalleled security measures, a staggering defense budget -- none of this was of any use in preventing the catastrophe.

Let us be perfectly clear. We do not share the attitude expressed by Madeleine Albright when she was asked whether pursuing the embargo against Iraq was worth the price of half a million Iraqi children who have died: "this is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it", she replied. The massacre of innocent civilians is never acceptable. But this does not mean we should not try to understand the underlying meaning of that incredible attack.

The American pacifist A. J. Muste once remarked that the problem in every war was posed by the winning side: the victor had learned that violence succeeded. The whole of postwar history illustrates the pertinence of that observation. In the United States, the War Department was renamed Defense Department, precisely when there was no direct danger threatening the country, and one government after the other launched campaigns of military intervention and political destabilisation in the guise of containing communism -- against moderately nationalist governments such as that of Goulart in Brazil, Mossadegh in Iran or Arbenz in Guatemala. To limit ourselves to the present, let us examine a few questions rarely raised concerning Western, especially American, policy.

- The Kyoto protocol: the principal United States objection is not on scientific grounds, but merely that "it is bad for our economy". What are people who work 12 hours a day for slave wages to make of such a reaction?

- The Durban conference. The West rejects the slightest thought of reparations for slavery and colonialism. But isn't it clear that the State of Israel functions as a form of reparations for anti-Semitic persecutions, except that in this case the price is paid by the Palestinian Arabs for the crimes committed by Europeans? And isn't it obvious that this shift of responsibility must be felt as a sort of racism by the victims of colonialism?

- Macedonia: here is a country that the West pushed into independence in order to weaken Serbia and whose government has always faithfully followed Western orders. As a result it has been subjected to attacks by terrorists armed by NATO and coming from territory under NATO control. How does this look to Slavic Orthodox peoples, especially after the expulsion, as NATO looks on, of the Serbian population of Kosovo and the eradication of a large part of its cultural heritage?

- Afghanistan: it is too quickly forgotten that Osama Bin Laden was trained and armed by the Americans, who openly admit that they were using Afghanistan to destabilize the USSR even before the Soviet intervention. How many people have died in the game that former President Carter's adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, calls "the great chessboard"? And how many terrorists, in Asia, in Central America, in the Balkans, or in the Middle East, are left to run loose after having been used by the "Free World"?

- Iraq: for ten years the population has been strangled by an embargo that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths -- of civilian victims. All because Iraq tried to recover the oil wells that were de facto confiscated from them by the British. Let us just compare the treatment given Israel for its totally illegal occupation of territories conquered in 1967. Is it really likely that the notion, generally accepted in the West, that Saddam Hussein is to blame for everything, makes much sense in the Arab-Muslim world?

By pure coincidence, the September 11 attacks took place on the anniversary of the overthrow of Allende, which not only marked (a fact easily forgotten) the installation of the first neoliberal government, that of General Pinochet, but also the start of a broad movement against national and independent movements in the Third World which was to lead those countries to bow to the dictates of the IMF.

This is why we suspect that in Latin America, in Indonesia, in Iran, in ruined and humiliated Russia, in China where nobody is fooled by attempts to destabilize this emerging giant, as well as in the Muslim world, the September 11 tragedy will cause people to shed little more than crocodile tears.

Of course there will be shouts of indignation and messages of sympathy. There will be applause for "firm responses" when they occur (will they destroy a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan or bomb the civilian population of an Arab country?). Large numbers of intellectuals will be found to produce clever analyses full of false analogies connecting these attacks to whatever it is they are against: Saddam Hussein, Kadhafi, Western pacifists and anti-imperialists, the Palestinian liberation movement or even China, Russia or North Korea. It will be repeated that such barbarism is totally alien to us: after all, we prefer to bomb from high altitude and kill gradually by means of embargos. But none of that will solve any basic problem. There is no use attacking revolt itself. What must be attacked is the suffering that produces revolt.     Those attacks will have at least two negative political consequences. For one, the American population, already disturbingly nationalist, will "rally round the flag", as they put it, supporting their government however barbaric its policy. Americans will be more than ever determined to "protect our way of life" without asking the price to be paid by the rest of the planet. The timid movements of dissent that have emerged since Seattle will be marginalized if not criminalized.

On the other hand, millions of people who have been defeated, humiliated and crushed by the United States and the world it dominates will be tempted to see terrorism as the only weapon really capable of striking the Empire. This is why a truly political struggle -- not violence -- against the cultural, economic and above all military domination by a small minority over the vast majority of humanity is more necessary than ever before.


Terror Attacks of September 11, 2001
The Black Radical Congress

During this extremely sad and traumatic time, we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who lost their life on September 11th. We also wish for the speedy and full recovery of those who were injured, and we hope and pray that in the aftermath of the attacks, rescue crews can find as many people still alive as possible.

The Black Radical Congress (BRC) strongly condemns the horrific terror attacks which occurred on September 11th, 2001. The brazen murder of countless thousands of civilians cannot be supported or condoned.

It is without question that US imperialism has brought genocidal levels of death and destruction to people around the world. Whether one looks at the situation in Iraq with the continual blockade and air bombardments, the situation in Palestine where the US continues to give virtually uncritical support to the Israelis in their national oppression of the Palestinians, the economic blockade against Cuba which aims to undermine its economy and weaken its population, or any number of other places, one clearly sees the callousness and evil intent with which US imperialism treats the lives and property of others, especially non-white peoples around the globe.

Yet, even with a firm understanding of the causes of the desperation, fury, and hatred of US imperialism, turning to terrorism to fight global oppression and exploitation is not an acceptable strategy. A clear and unambiguous distinction must be made between radical/revolutionary political action on the one hand, and terrorism on the other, regardless of whether the causes that *appeared* to inspire the terrorist action(s) are just. Open and unmitigated attacks on civilian targets do not advance radical/revolutionary causes and must be repudiated. Rather, such attacks inevitably antagonize the populace, weaken any existing popular support, and help legitimize heightened levels of repression by the imperialist state against *all* progressive/radical/revolutionary political activity, including increased restrictions on the civil rights of the people.

We already hear, in the voices of those in power, calls for war and vengeance. War and vengeance without a precise target, but striking out blindly, is nothing more than self-serving jingoism. Given the track record of the US, this could include indiscriminate bombings or missile attacks, such as the attack against the Sudanese pharmaceutical laboratory two years ago, which was later found *not* to have been connected with any sort of terrorist activity.

The dangers presented by the September 11th terrorist acts do not restrict themselves to the external threat. We hear on television and radio calls for changing the laws and regulations in order to make it easier to conduct surveillance and to carry-out covert operations against potential opponents of the US. Rather than accomplishing anything in terms of reducing the threat of terrorism, such steps will eliminate basic civil liberties and strengthen the existing tendency toward a racist and classist police state. The police are already out of control and on the rampage in communities across the country. We cannot afford to further unleash their undemocratic and frequently murderous behavior in the name of national security.


We should add here that the terrorist attacks have also brought potential damage to the growing anti-capitalist globalization movement. The ruling class has been making noise for months about the demonstrations that accompany the gatherings of capitalist globalizers. They have inferred that these demonstrations will get increasingly out of control. There is no question that the events of September 11th will be used as a pretext to both discourage activity, as well as to clamp down on any and all popular outrage with neo-liberal globalization.


It is also critical in moments such as these that we as human beings fight and resist popular impulses toward scape-goating and racism. From almost the moment of the first attack on the World Trade Center, there has been an assumption floated within the media that Arabs or Muslim fundamentalists were behind the attacks. The reaction to the attacks is reminiscent of what we witnessed immediately after the Oklahoma City bombings. There was a widespread assumption that Arabs or Muslims were behind the attack on the Federal Office building. Few establishment observers expected, or led any of the public to expect, that the terrorist could be -- and was -- a homegrown, white American right-winger.


Therefore, it is important to reserve judgment until a more thorough investigation is conducted. This is particularly important given the anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab/anti-Muslim bias of the media. The automatic assumption of the US media is that Palestinians specifically, and Arabs generally, are animals, or at best, fanatics with no concern for human life. The just and righteous Palestinian cause is rarely given credible time, and when offered, generally dismissed by allegedly objective (but really pro-Israeli) commentators. Therefore, in the current situation of horror following these criminal acts, we must actively oppose any and all witch- hunting and stereotyping which is bound to emerge.


Yet another danger we currently face will be xenophobia and, general anti-immigrant sentiment. This will almost inevitably be directed at immigrants of color and particularly those who "look" like they might be of Middle Eastern (North African) origin. The attacks on immigrants and the condemnation of entire communities must be stopped before they escalate out of control. We already see some of this happening with numerous reports of anonymous death threats sent to Arab and Muslim institutions, as well as the spray painting of racist slogans and direct, personal threats and attacks on individuals who are assumed to be from the Middle East (North Africa). We call on all clear-thinking people to be especially vigilant at this time in making sure that in the aftermath of this tragedy, another tragedy born of pain, anger, and hatred does not occur. True anti-racism may require us to put ourselves at risk physically in order to defend Arabs and Muslims from unwarranted attacks.


Lastly, Black America must not condone or be indifferent to the horrendous loss of human life resulting from this tragedy, nor can we allow these horrific acts to be used as an excuse to further repress Arab-Americans, Muslims, or those perceived to be opponents of capitalist globalization. As a people that has survived over 400 years of genocidal oppression on these shores, we are all too familiar with the human suffering caused by both terrorism and racial hatred. >From the amputations, beatings, and rapes of Chattel Slavery, to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863, to the post- Reconstruction terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan, to the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, to the government sponsored Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the 1960s, to the contemporary state-sanctioned police murder and brutality we are fighting today, we as Black people have lots of experience with the horrors of terrorism in the US, as it has too frequently been directed against us. That is why we must show our full and unqualified support and compassion for all those suffering as a result of this horrible tragedy, most of whom have come to experience terrorism for the first time, as we continue our 400+ year struggle to rid ourselves of this evil, both domestically and around the world.


Terror Attacks:
New to Us, Not to Afghans

James Ingalls



Like a subliminal "Wanted" poster, TV newscasts flash images of the destroyed Twin Towers, followed at longer intervals by the face of Osama bin Laden. The disclaimer that we still have no idea who is responsible for the brutal attacks in Manhattan, Washington, and Pittsburgh seems weak in comparison with this visual "evidence". Unlikely to be accorded anything approaching due process, the suspect of the decade will probably find his interests under violent attack by the US and NATO within the next few days. It is too much to hope for no civilian casualties, as GW Bush fulfils his promise to "make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbored them," implying that the people of Afghanistan will soon be subjected to aerial bombardment. The US will likely "validate...the logic of terrorism" (Human Rights Watch), following the dictum that violence and terror are the proper responses to violence and terror.


Michael Sheehan, the State Department's Counterterrorism Coordinator, has made a big deal about a "geographic shift" in terrorist activity from the Middle East to South Asia. Sheehan attributes the shift to the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s: "This war destroyed the government and civil society of Afghanistan, at the same time bringing arms, fighters from around the world, and narcotics traffickers to the region." Sheehan eliminates any trace of human involvement--"this war" brought arms, fighters, and narco-traffickers to Afghanistan, destroying civil society. What Washington tends to conveniently ignore is that bin Laden and the rest of the extremist terrorists empowered to fight in Afghanistan were taught "the logic of terrorism" by our own Central Intelligence Agency.


The CIA assembled a terror network that remains a cause of misery worldwide. CIA Director William Casey called it "the kind of thing we should be doing." According to standard sources, aid to extremist groups in Afghanistan was a response to the Soviet invasion. The truth is that President Carter gave the green light for covert support to the Mujaheddin six months _before_ the December 1979 invasion. In the words of then National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, a major architect of Carter's policy, they were "drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap." The US supported seven fundamentalist extremist groups throughout the 1980s and into the early 90s with cash, sophisticated weapons, and training to the tune of $5 billion--according to official figures. The secret Black Budget of the CIA reportedly quadrupled to $36 billion per year when Reagan became president in 1980, and some of this money went to support secret operations in Afghanistan. Some of the earliest training exercises took place inside the US, including rifle shooting at the High Rock gun club in Naugtuck, Connecticut. More technical training took place at the CIA's Camp Peary, nicknamed "The Farm," northeast of Williamsburg, Virginia. Among the topics covered by training sessions were surveillance and countersurveillance, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and paramilitary operations.


Around the same time, a source of private funding was sought for the war. Osama bin Laden, a man with "impeccable Saudi credentials" (his father's construction company had just been awarded a contract to rebuild and restore the holy sites in Mecca and Medina) was given "free rein in Afghanistan" by the CIA. Using his share of his family's business empire, he built training camps and airplane landing strips, and carved underground bunkers in the mountains of Afghanistan, all with Washington's approval. Just across the border, bin Laden's base in Pakistan was the Binoori mosque in Karachi. The prayer leader at this mosque was one Mullah Mohammed Omar, now "supreme leader" of the Taliban.


After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the Mujaheddin groups began turning their US-supplied weapons on each other, and on the civilian population of Afghanistan. In 1990, the CIA began supplying the Mujaheddin directly, rather than using Pakistan's ISI intelligence service as a conduit. According to then chief of ISI's Afghanistan branch, Mohammad Youssaf, the CIA's aim was to "play on differences between the various factions and their commanders," in an effort to "curb the power" of the factions and make way for an unknown "Transition Regime," perhaps the Taliban.

The CIA's propping up of the fundamentalist terrorists in Afghanistan began to show its consequences during this period. The first victims were the people of Afghanistan. The group getting the most US aid, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, began rocket shelling Kabul. A close friend of bin Laden, Hekmatyar was understood by his benefactors to be "a nut, an extremist, and a very violent man" (US ambassador to Afghanistan Robert Neumann). In the 1970s he gained notoriety for throwing acid on the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Journalist Michael Griffin writes of Kabul under Hekmatyar's onslaught: "no city since the end of the Second World War - except Sarajevo - had suffered the same ferocity of jugular violence as Kabul from 1992 to 1996. Sarajevo was almost a side-show by comparison and, at least, it wasn't forgotten." From 1990-1994 45,000 civilians were killed, 300,000 had fled to Pakistan, and Kabul was "turned into a rubble resembling Dresden after the fire-bombing." Most Afghans are now without livelihood, reduced to begging from international aid agencies. They currently live under the fascistic Taliban, who keep bin Laden safe.


Terrorists trained and armed by the CIA to fight in Afghanistan have since been implicated in attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, and in US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed hundreds of people. These efforts pale in comparison to the recent destruction in Manhattan, Washington, and Pittsburgh. If proven guilty in fair trial, bin Laden should certainly be held accountable. But the Afghan people, no strangers to the terrorism of bin Laden and his friends, should not be made to pay further for the consequences of our actions. It was our officials who originally unleashed these forces of destruction on Afghanistan. Perhaps the faces of Zbigniew Brzezinski, William Casey, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan should be on the TV screen too, next to Osama bin Laden's and the empty holes in the ground where twin towers stood.

The author is on the Board of Directors of the Afghan Women's Mission, and is a Staff Scientist at the California Institute of Technology.

The awesome cruelty
of a doomed people

 By Robert Fisk


So it has come to this. The entire modern history of the Middle East - the collapse of the Ottoman empire, the Balfour declaration, Lawrence of Arabia's lies, the Arab revolt, the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and the 34 years of Israel's brutal occupation of Arab land - all erased within hours as those who claim to represent a crushed, humiliated population struck back with the wickedness and awesome cruelty of a doomed people. Is it fair - is it moral - to write this so soon, without proof, without a shred of evidence, when the last act of barbarism in Oklahoma turned out to be the work of home-grown Americans? I fear it is. America is at war and, unless I am grotesquely mistaken, many thousands more are now scheduled to die in the Middle East, perhaps in America too. Some of us warned of "the explosion to come''. But we never dreamed this nightmare.


And yes, Osama bin Laden comes to mind, his money, his theology, his frightening dedication to destroy American power. I have sat in front of bin Laden as he described how his men helped to destroy the Russian army in Afghanistan and thus the Soviet Union. Their boundless confidence allowed them to declare war on America. But this is not the war of democracy vs terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming hours and days. It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana a few days later and about a Lebanese militia - paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally - hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps.


No, there is no doubting the utter, indescribable evil of what has happened in the United States. That Palestinians could celebrate the massacre of 20,000, perhaps 35,000 innocent people is not only a symbol of their despair but of their political immaturity, of their failure to grasp what they had always been accusing their Israeli enemies of doing: acting disproportionately. But we were warned. All the years of rhetoric, all the promises to strike at the heart of America, to cut off the head of "the American snake'' we took for empty threats. How could a backward, conservative, undemocratic and corrupt group of regimes and small, violent organizations fulfil such preposterous promises? Now we know.


And in the hours that followed yesterday's annihilation, I began to remember those other extraordinary, unbelievable assaults upon the US and its allies, miniature now by comparison with yesterdays' casualties. Did not the suicide bombers who killed 241 American servicemen and almost 100 french paratroops in Beirut on 23 October 1983, time their attacks with unthinkable precision?


It was just 7 seconds between the Marine bombing and the destruction of the French three miles away. Then there were the attacks on US bases in Saudi Arabia, and last year's attempt - almost successful it now turns out - to sink the USS Cole in Aiden. And then how easy was our failure to recognize the new weapon of the Middle East which neither Americans or any other Westerners could equal: the despair-driven, desperate suicide bomber.


All America's power, wealth - and arrogance, the Arabs will be saying - could not defend the greatest power the world has ever known from this destruction.


For journalists, even those who have literally walked through the blood of the Middle East, words dry up here. Awesome, terrible, unspeakable, unforgivable; in the coming days, these words will become water in the desert. And there will be, naturally and inevitably, and quite immorally, an attempt to obscure the historical wrongs and the blood and the injustices that lie behind yesterday's firestorms. We will be told about "mindless terrorism'', the "mindless" bit being essential if we are not to realise how hated America has become in the land of the birth of three great religions.


Ask an Arab how he responds to 20 or 30 thousand innocent deaths and he or she will respond as good and decent people should, that it is an unspeakable crime. But they will ask why we did not use such words about the sanctions that have destroyed the lives of perhaps half a million children in Iraq, why we did not rage about the 17,500 civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, why we allowed one nation in the Middle East to ignore UN Security Council resolutions but bombed and sanctioned all others who did. And those basic reasons why the Middle East caught fire last September - the Israeli occupation of Arab land, the dispossession of Palestinians, the bombardments and state sponsored executions, the Israeli tortures ... all these must be obscured lest they provide the smallest fractional reason for yesterday's mass savagery.


No, Israel was not to blame - that we can be sure that Saddam Hussein and the other grotesque dictators will claim so - but the malign influence of history and our share in its burden must surely stand in the dark with the suicide bombers. Our broken promises, perhaps even our destruction of the Ottoman Empire, led inevitably to this tragedy. America has bankrolled Israel's wars for so many years that it believed this would be cost-free. No longer so. It would be an act of extraordinary courage and wisdom if the United States was to pause for a moment and reflect upon its role in the world, the indifference of its government to the suffering of Arabs, the indolence of its current president.


But of course, the United States will want to strike back against "world terror'', who can blame them? Indeed, who could ever point the finger at Americans now for using that pejorative and sometimes racist word "terrorism''? There will be those swift to condemn any suggestion that we should look for real historical reasons for an act of violence on this world-war scale. But unless we do so, then we are facing a conflict the like of which we have not seen since Hitler's death and the surrender of Japan. Korea, Vietnam, is beginning to fade away in comparison.


Eight years ago, I helped to make a television series that tried to explain why so many Muslims had come to hate the West. Last night, I remembered some of those Muslims in that film, their families burnt by American-made bombs and weapons. They talked about how no one would help them but God. Theology vs technology, the suicide bomber against the nuclear power. Now we have learnt what this means. 


By Doug Morris



Good evening, my fellow Americans.


St. Augustine said that “hope has two beautiful daughters: anger and courage. Anger at the way things are, and courage to struggle to create things as they should be.” These acts perpetrated against humanity today were acts of anger at the way things are. They were not courageous acts, but horrendous atrocities, acts of anger laced with hate. Our first response must be support and compassion for the victims, and families and friends of the victims. But, in addition, we should ask ourselves “what conditions led these fellow humans to develop such anger and hatred, led them to commit such abominably inhumane acts, and why was it directed at these particular targets in the United States?”


We should not repress our anger and indignation at these hateful and callous acts, or our anger and indignation at all hateful and callous acts, but our anger must be accompanied not by hate, but with love, and by the courage to struggle to create a more just world, and THAT my fellow Americans will require a major effort to question, understand, challenge, change and raise OUR national consciousness. Please, my fellow Americans, listen with open ears, open minds and open hearts.


While no loving and decent human will tolerate acts of terror, we must try to understand the extremely difficult question: why? For example, what is the symbolic significance of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in the eyes of the world? And here, my fellow Americans we must search deep into our own history, our own policies, our own pursuits, our own impositions, and, our own hearts. It is painful, but, let us be blunt: the war against terrorism has begun, violently. The two most potent symbols of global military and economic violence, global military and economic terrorism, have been struck. These were cowardly and unconscionable acts, to be sure, and, as in most acts of terror, the innocent suffer most, the working class, the toiling class. We must launch a war against terrorism, non-violently. A.J. Muste, committed pacifist, advised us that in a world built on violence “we must be revolutionaries before we are pacifists.” That is, we must work to abolish the institutions of violence, non-violently.


However, make no mistake, my fellow Americans, the Pentagon IS the center of world military violence and terrorism. The US is the world’s leading exporter of tools of death and destruction. Let us be honest, we have been committed to violence as a way to address international conflicts for many, many years. And a PARTIAL list of the results of our commitment to violence includes: Korea – millions killed. Vietnam – millions killed. Cambodia – hundreds of thousands killed. Laos – hundreds of thousands killed. Iraq – hundreds of thousands killed. Guatemala – hundreds of thousands killed. Hiroshima and Nagasaki – hundreds of thousands killed. East Timor – hundreds of thousands killed. Nicaragua – tens of thousands killed. El Salvador – tens of thousands killed.  Colombia – tens of thousands killed. Dominican Republic – thousands killed. Somalia – thousands killed. Haiti – thousands killed. Yugoslavia – thousands killed. Panama – hundreds killed. And let us not forget the ways in which we have mistreated the Cuban people for over 40 years now with our embargo and repeated acts of terrorism. Let us remember my father’s words during the buildup to the US attack on Iraq: “there will be no negotiations…what we say goes.” “No negotiations” simply means we prefer violence. “What we say goes” expresses the arrogance, chauvinism and mystique of invincibility that has separated the US from the world. Both views express the notion that the US is above international law and the UN Charter, outside the family of nations. Is it any wonder that Harvard professor Samuel Huntington said that in the eyes of most of the world the US is seen as “THE rogue superpower,” considered “THE single greatest external threat to their societies”? The world quakes in its boots wondering when we will attack, and what form of violence will ensue: cruise missiles, helicopter gunships, chemical or biological agents, nuclear bombs, F18’s, F22’s, B52’s, fumigation campaigns, IMF/World Bank “Structural Adjustment Programs,” or “Austerity Programs,” embargoes, sanctions, disappearances, assassinations, massacres, tortures, cultural cooptation or erasure, etc., etc., etc.


The Bible warns us: “what ye sew, ye shall reap.”  Today, sadly, we have experienced what we have sewn on much of the world. Today, as a country, we have learned that raining death and destruction on another country creates a toll far higher than simply destroyed buildings and dead bodies. Today our freedom came under attack. We thought we were free to impose military and economic violence anywhere we chose, with impunity. The freedom from impunity appears to no longer exist. The World Court attempted to sanction the US for our commitment to violence but the Reagan Administration claimed that the World Court had no jurisdiction over our actions. Yes, we have been, and we are a rogue state, and, my fellow Americans, it must stop!


Tonight, my fellow Americans we must raise a call of humility, a humility that does not in any way diminish humanity, but a humility that raises the respect for, and dignity of, all people, a humility that allows us to celebrate all human life. It is time that we joined the world, not as its major purveyor of violence and destruction, but as a peaceful participant who will work to end violence, end racism, end classism, end sexism, rather than increase them.  The proposed Pentagon budget, the “violence” budget, for next year is $330 billion dollars. I am tonight proposing an immediate 50% decrease in this spending that promotes violence, and calling for a redistribution those funds to help ameliorate problems of hunger, poverty and poor-health around the world.  It is a call to reach out with love, and a call to find the courage to struggle to create a more just, peaceful, healthful and equitable world, a world in which human creativity is celebrated rather than the human capacity for great violence.


Tonight we must call on the world to forgive us OUR sins, forgive us OUR sordid and calamitous acts of violence that we have pursued without pause for over 50 years. Let this be the beginning of our reconciliation with the world. We now, to some degree, understand the pain, misery and suffering we have caused, the turmoil we have perpetrated, the hate we have elicited, the destruction we have imparted, the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual scars and unconscionable hurt we have created and that much of the world has endured because of our rapacious and destructive pursuit of wealth, power and privilege at the expense of human concerns and human lives. We humbly beg the forgiveness of all humanity, as we pray that you will offer your support, your compassion, your understanding, and your love in our time of suffering, mourning and loss.


This is not a time, as it is never a time, to seek vengeance, but a time to seek the courage to forgive, to harbor the power of anger to be used in acts of love, and to uncover insights that will allow us to direct our indignation at the institutions of power, violence and greed, many of which, sadly, are centered in the US, and begin to transform them in order to increase our love for the victims of that power, violence and greed, including those who died and were injured in the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.


When I attended the G8 meetings in Genoa recently I saw a banner in the street that said “you are 8, we are 6 billion,” and it struck me deeply. We have pursued for too long the interests of the few at the expense of the many. Wealth, privilege and power inequalities exacerbate every day. We have created, protected, endorsed and now imposed on the rest of the world an economic system, symbolized by the World Trade Center, and protected by the Pentagon, that must produce and expand in order to profit and survive, an economic system that treats everything as a commodity to be exploited whether it is water, food, air, soil, the rest of the environment, animals, fish, or our fellow humans, a system that puts corporate profit interests above human interests. This must stop. We, who represent and serve power, should have listened sooner. Let this horrible tragedy serve as our wake up call. Let us begin tonight to transform this monster before it is too late. This act of terror, infamous and abominable, will pale in comparison to the growing terrors of increasing global militarism of which we are the primary cause, increased global warming of which we are the primary cause, and intensifying environmental destruction of which we are the primary cause and which may soon make much of the world uninhabitable for humans, and surely increase human suffering, misery and death.


If we are to overcome these acts of terror, and more importantly prevent future acts of terror against humanity, we must act out of a sense of hope and faith that the future is unfinished, that it is there to be created; and, we must be driven by a judicious anger at the way things are, anger at the monster we have created, anger that can be harbored in momentous acts of love, and the courage to struggle in cooperation, understanding, support and solidarity with the rest of humanity to create a world in which all will be happy to live.


Tonight, and in the days and weeks to come, we must find the courage to not only reach out with love and understanding, but to find the courage to self-reflect honestly about what WE have done to the world so that we can understand why things are the way they are, and what we can and will do to struggle to create things as they should be – a world of less violence and greater peace; a world of diminished arrogance and greater humility; a world where more people do not die of hunger every two years than were killed in both World Wars combined, but a world in which all people have access to the great and nourishing bounties of the earth; a world of less disease and greater health; a world of less hate and greater love; a world of less vengeance and greater understanding; a world of less greed and greater sharing; a world of less destruction and greater creativity; a world of less disparity and greater equality; a world of less fundamentalism and more progressivism; a world of less mysticism and more humanism; a world of less criminality and greater justice; a world of less separatism and more solidarity; a world in which we live both an examined life and a committed life; a world of less militarism and more artistry; a world of less vilification and more celebration; a world in which life is worth living; a world in which we understand well the lesson of Rousseau who said “the fruits of our labor belong to us; the fruits of the earth belong to everyone; and, the world itself belongs to no one.”


So, in closing, my fellow Americans, allow us to support one another in our quest through hope, and anger, and courage, to make love our aim during this time of crisis, and in the future. And, let us remember and reflect upon the words stated in Corinthians 13:1-3: “though I may speak with the voice of angels; though I may understand all the mysteries; though I may have all the knowledge; though I may give all to feed the poor; though I may give my body to be burned…if I have not love, I have nothing at all.”


Thank you. Good night, and blessings, peace, justice, solidarity and love for all humanity.


And now, my fellow Americans, in order to assist us in developing a much deeper understanding of all of these issues, I have invited MIT professor Noam Chomsky to share his views. Professor Chomsky will have unlimited time. Thank you. Professor Chomsky, welcome…

America Under Attack":
Guilty Or Not, Here We Come


By Danny Schechter


Walking home through empty streets, as New York shut down early on the day of the World Trade Towers apocalypse, one was struck at how dazed and stunned people seemed. There was an eerie silence punctuated by ambulances and police cars racing from place to place. Cops guarded post offices, police stations and the bus terminal, as if the terrorists would be back. The mayor gave press conferences from "a secret location" as if the Osama Bin Laden brigade had targeted him, clearly a conceit wrapped up as a security consideration.


I had spent the morning following events on the web and the radio. At home, I was finally able to experience the day's turmoil that many media outlets were saying had "changed America forever" the way most Americans were--on TV. I watched for five hours, jumping from channel to channel, network to network. It was, of course, wall to wall catastrophe, with each outlet featuring its own "exclusive coverage.” Some credited to others but each with somewhat distinctive angles of the same scene--that jet plane tearing through the World Trade Center. And when we weren't seeing that horrendous image being recycled endlessly, used as what we in the TV business used to call "wallpaper" or B-roll, other equally compelling images were on the screen: the Pentagon on fire, huge clouds of smoke coming out of the buildings, buildings collapsing, people jumping from high floors and running in the streets. It was on for hours, over and over again, awakening outrage and then, oddly numbing it by overexposure.


The reporting focused first on the facts, the chronology of planes hijacked and national symbols attacked. And then the parade of "expert" interviews began, featuring virtually the same group of former government officials and terrorism specialists on each show. Even Ronald Reagan's favorite novelist Tom Clancy was given airtime to bang the drum for giving the military and CIA everything it says it will need to strike back. He was on no doubt because for many, these events seemed like a case of reality catching up with fiction.


You could imagine the show bookers all working overtime from the same Roladex, shuttling these pundits-for-all-seasons from studio to studio, from CNN to Jim Lehrer's News Hour to CBS and back again. How many times have we seen these soundalike soundbite artists like former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and generals like Norman Schwartzkopf waxing tough for the cameras? They were itching for "action."


I heard no one saying that violence breeds violence or that a massive retaliation may only invite more of the same. The only critical edge to the coverage involved raising the question about why so many official predictions about imminent terrorist threats went unresponded to for so long. These concerns were raised, but quickly sidelined by discussions of national complacency and/or naïveté about the world. How the U.S. intelligence apparatus could have missed this was taken only as evidence that it needs more money, not a different policy. No mention was made of the cutbacks in international news coverage that keeps so many Americans so out of touch with global events.


Suddenly, we had moved from the stage of facts to the realm of opinion and endless speculation about what America would do and, then, what America MUST do. The anchors were touched when members of Congress spontaneously erupted into a bipartisan rendition of "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps. They paused reverentially to go live to the White House for a presidential address that turned out to be five minutes of banalities and rally-round-the-flag reassurances. Who was it that called patriotism the last refuge of scoundrels? The news anchors certainly never used that line.


Missing was any discussion of possible motives by the alleged terrorists, why would they do it and why now? What was their political agenda? There was no mention of September 11th as the anniversary of the failed Camp David accords. There was certainly no mention of the fact that State terrorism by countries be they the U.S., Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan or Israel often trigger and harden counterterrorism by guerrilla forces. There was virtually no international angle offered in most of the coverage except a few snatches of file footage of Osama Bin Laden fondling an AK47. Bin Laden looked like a cartoon figure, like Ali Baba in cartoons from my youth, not the insane militant terrorist that he is. It must be said that most of the journalists I saw were cautious about attributing this to him, perhaps because of early blame to Arabs of the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building, which turned out to be the work of an American.


NBC carried the only substantive report I saw on why Palestinians consider America complicit in the attacks against them. It did mention that Hamas and Bin Laden denied involvement and even featuring a condemnation of the violence by Arafat. That was reported by the always excellent Martin Fletcher, a Brit who is as informed about what is happening on the ground there as most of the anchors and reporters here seem not to be. I saw one other soundbite from a Middle Eastern politician, one call to arms from Ariel Sharon and one message of resolve from Tony Blair. That was it for foreign response. CNN carried eerie videophone footage of an attack on an arms depot in Kabul, Afghanistan but it turned out not to be connected. Some on-air reporter explained that it may have been part of that country’s ongoing civil war. Another replied, "Oh, are they having one?"


As the coverage wore on, George Stephanopoulos, ex-President Clinton's former boy wonder, now an ABC commentator, popped up with Peter Jennings to explain, on the basis of his experience on the inside, that in situations like this, governments, need a scapegoat and someone to demonize, and predicted they'd find one, fast! Jennings to his credit reminded viewers that in the past, our counterattacks against terrorist incidents were hardly triumphant. He and the other national anchors were far more restrained and cautious than the local stations. I was impressed by the flashes of responsibility that seeped though the appeals to national resolve.


Also missing was much discussion of the economic consequences, although on ABC there was the suggestion that this event might send the world economy into a recession, as if we don't already have one. (Oil prices went up today and the exchanges were closed.) Later, on the same network, Diane Sawyer brought this aspect home by holding up financial documents that littered the streets. You got a sense of how serious this is by a constant replay of a phone number for employees of Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that was the largest tenant in the World Trade Center. If they lost top managers and key employes, as is likely, this will have an economic impact.


It was only back on PBS, in one of Jim Lehrer's interminable beltway blather sessions, that one got an inkling of what the Bush administration may actually be planning to do, once the final fatality count sinks in and the sadness of the funerals and mourning begins. Then, as everyone expects, Americans will go from shock to outrage. One of Lehrer's mostly conservative experts, Bill Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, passed on a high-level leak. Namely, that the U.S. will link Bin Laden to Sadam Hussein.


Recall that Dubya said he would "punish" states harboring terrorists. No one really spent much time discussing what that meant. Now Rupert's emissary was predicting that the game plan might be to ask for a declaration of war against Iraq to "finish the job." (The next morning, the demagogic face of Murdochworld summed up its feelings with this headline on a New York Post column by Steve Dunleavy calling for bombing Kabul and legalizing

assassinations: "SIMPLY KILL THESE BASTARDS!") There was no discussion of any evidence implicating Iraq, or explanation of the economics of the oil situation there, which U.S. companies currently tap in abundance. You can bet that as this terrible tragedy is formally cranked up into an ongoing national crisis, there will be even more calls for war. Failing economies often need rely on a good one to get back on track.


So, is another Gulf War in the offing? Will Son of Bush "finish" his father's failed Desert Storm? That is a real possibility, suggesting also that more media manipulation is on the way. The coverage on Tuesday night was tilting in the direction of whipping up the outrage with no alternatives to war even discussed.


This possible “Let’s Get Iraq” scenario wasn't discussed in any depth, perhaps because there is no footage to show yet. But you heard it here first: the road to revenge may just take us back to Baghdad, guilty or not. Will international terrorism be wiped out then? Will we then get the faceless "them"? It was a bit frightening to hear many of the on-air wiseman speak of the next steps as a long difficult struggle that will take national resolve and may lead to restrictions on the freedoms we have long prized. This line of thinking could well lead to an antiterrorist campaign targeting domestic protesters as well. Historians will recall that the mysterious fire in Germany's Reichstag set the stage for the rationalizations used inthe Nazi terror.


Will God then bless America only when the cruise missiles start flying? I thought only the bad guys spoke in terms of holy war.


Stay tuned.


P.S.: I must admit that I share much of the popular emotional outrage at the carnage. If we could have afforded it, we might have had an office there. In fact, I used to work out of CNN's bureau when it was based at the World Trade Center and have been in and out of those towers over the years. It is terrifying and traumatizing to realize that it is gone, like one giant bloody amputation from the body of the city. This was not just an attack on symbols but real people, not just at world capitalism but at urban culture. I am, I realize, in a kind of shock, working on automatic pilot. It is at least something to do.


[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]