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Re: WHAT ELSE COULD HE HAVE DONE?
- Subject: Re: WHAT ELSE COULD HE HAVE DONE?
- From: Art Burke <aburke@VANSD.ORG>
- Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 14:20:18 -0800
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
How many members do you have? Just curious. Art
>>> Newdem@AOL.COM 02/21 2:08 PM >>>
The much-delayed Double Issue of New Democracy is at the printer and should
be available in a few days.I have printed an editorial and also the table of
I hope you will want a subscription for yourself and extra copies to share
with friends and co-workers to help build spread the message. Extra copies
are 50 cents each. If you do, just let me know how many you would like.
If you are already a member of New Democracy, then you receive ND as part of
your annual dues ($25). If you are not a member and would like to join, or if
you would like to subscribe (only $7/yr for six issues), or if you would just
like to see a sample copy, please send me your postal address.
Editor, New Democracy
5 Burr Street
Boston, MA 02130
Dear Friends 2
IS IT REALLY A WAR AGAINST TERRORISM? 3
WHAT ELSE COULD HE HAVE DONE? 6
USEFUL ENEMIES 8
HEROES, PHONY AND TRUE 10
ANOTHER PEARL HARBOR? 11
WAR OR WAR? 13
SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE CHANGES WORLD! 15
WE NEED A WHOLE NEW APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE 18
NEW DEMOCRACY CONFERENCE
REJECTS STANDARDS, CALLS FOR MASSREFUSAL 22
U.S., ISRAELI, ARAB ELITES FOMENT STRIFE
TO CONTROL THE PEOPLE -- (PART II) 25
THE STATEMENT OF YAIR KHILOU 31
Editor, New Democracy
5 Burr Street
Boston, MA 02130
WHAT ELSE COULD HE HAVE DONE?
A New Democracy Editorial
Many Americans supported the bombing of Afghanistan because there simply
didn't seem to be any other course our government could pursue after the
terrorist attacks. But another course did lie open to the US, one that would
have expressed our very best values, that would have been more effective in
eliminating terrorism, strengthened support for the US around the globe, and
would not have caused the deaths of any innocent people.
Assuming that bin Laden is guilty as charged (and the government still
hasn't presented proof beyond the questionable "confession video"), what our
government should have done and still should do is to isolate bin Laden as a
criminal guilty of crimes against humanity and then bring him to justice. How
would it isolate him? By removing the real injustices caused or supported by
the US which bin Laden uses to rally support for himself.
When Bush made his address to the nation shortly after September 11,
after accusing bin Laden of the crime (and offering hard evidence), he should
have said something like this:
"The terrible attacks of Sept. 11 are crimes against humanity, and we are
determined to bring the criminals to justice. We know, however, that these
crimes had roots in other crimes that have been visited upon people in the
Middle East and in Afghanistan. Therefore, I have ordered that this
government will begin immediately to do the following things:
"1. Rebuild Afghanistan, a country that has been devastated by years of war
funded largely by the CIA. We will begin this effort by bringing sufficient
food aid to the 5 to 7 million Afghans now reported to be near starvation.
"2. Order Israel to abandon its illegal settlements on the West Bank and
Gaza, with a timetable fixed for rapid and orderly withdrawal, and order
Israel to dismantle the cruel apartheid regime that it has established over
Palestinians. Since the US finances the Israeli government to the tune of
$3.5 billion per year, we are confident that it will accede to our demands.
"3. Stop the sanctions against Iraq that have resulted in the deaths of over
500,000 children while doing nothing to dislodge Saddam Hussein. Offer food
and medical aid to the people of Iraq.
"4. Withdraw from the 'temporary' US military bases in Saudi Arabia
established during the Gulf War."
What would have been the effects of such a pronouncement by Bush? Billions of
people the world over, including most Muslims, felt shock and revulsion at
the September 11 terrorist attacks. If Bush had taken steps to alter U.S.
policies in this way, bin Laden would have been thoroughly isolated and
political support for terrorism*support without which terrorism cannot
exist*would have dried up. Our chances of actually capturing bin Laden, which
seem now to be slim, would have risen astronomically. Such steps undertaken
by the US government would have changed the character of our relationship to
1.2 billion Muslims and would have won the respect and admiration of people
the world over*without the loss of a single human life or the dropping of a
Unfortunately Bush chose a very different course. The massive bombing of
Afghanistan has already resulted in nearly 5,000 civilian deaths―more than
the number of innocents murdered on September 11―and the numbers continue to
mount. Rather than isolating bin Laden, the US has made him a hero to many
Muslims, symbol of all the outrage felt at the injustices the US continues to
support. It remains to be seen whether bin Laden was killed in the massive
bombing of Afghanistan or, as the US military believes, he escaped. But it
was clear from the start that whatever terrorist network exists, it is not a
centralized, hierarchical structure which bin Laden somehow directed from
deep in a cave. It is a widely dispersed group of small cells and networks
acting largely independently of one another. It cannot be bombed out of
As in so many other things, you have to wonder why the US government
chose a course that seems counterproductive to its declared goals. The answer
is that the government's goals are not what the politicians claim:
1. Rather than destroy him, US leaders wanted to build bin Laden as the
leader of the Muslim resistance to the US, because he is the perfect enemy*a
Saudi millionaire and religious fanatic with very reactionary political ideas
who has long worked with the CIA (and, according to foreign news reports, met
with the CIA as recently as this July, two months before Sept. 11). The US
wants as leader someone who can be depended upon not to build a democratic
movement. From this point of view, bin Laden is our government's man.
2. The US government wants Israel to continue its seizure of Palestinian
lands and its vicious apartheid regime, because the ethnic hatred that
Israeli and Arab elites foment is crucial to controlling Jews and Arabs.
3. The US government wants Saddam Hussein to remain in power, to control Iraq
and to be another reactionary "enemy." This is why US forces did not go all
the way to Baghdad in the Gulf War, and why Bush the Elder abandoned the
Kurds and Iraqi opposition when they followed his encouragement and tried to
overthrow Hussein. Saddam Hussein was a loyal US lackey for many years,
funded, armed, and supported by the US. He still serves US interests well,
being another unsavory "leader" of the opposition to US policies in the
4. Establishing permanent "temporary" bases in Saudi Arabia was one of the
goals of the Gulf War to begin with. The Gulf War was a phony war, like this
one*phony in the sense that it was deliberately triggered by the US. The US
gave an apparent green light to Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. When he fell
for the bait, the US used the invasion as a pretext to attack Iraq and
achieve its policy goals in the region*cut Hussein down to size while
building him as a leader of Arab popular opposition to the US and Israel;
establish a greater US military presence in the oil-rich Middle East;
overcome the "Vietnam syndrome" at home, trying to win a new generation of
Americans to support war for America's self-interests.
A humane, pro-people, common-sense course did lay open to our
government*if the politicians were actually trying to do what they claim. But
they aren't. A truly democratic government in a democratic society could
easily choose a humane and popular path and easily achieve all the goals that
ordinary decent people agree upon. The solutions to these problems are not so
hard. The difficulty is that the problems themselves serve elite power.
That's why they exist and why the ruling elites will never solve them.
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