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November 13, 2001

Who's Victory?

By A. H. Hotep

So many rumors and suspicious news reports about Bin Laden claiming responsibility for the attacks in America but this has nothing to do with the legality or illegality of the present U.S. actions in Afghanistan. Even if Bin Laden admits guilt, there can be no justification for the destruction of a country that did not wage war on America.

The attacks on America were serious crimes and there are legal ways to address such crimes no matter how grave. America's President and spokesmen were saying that no excuses can be made for the attacks on their country and in like manner there can be no excuses for the present attacks on Afghanistan.

This has nothing to do with how many persons were killed in America or the fears of other nations. This is about misleading nations not addressing past and present injustices committed for which many people are aggrieved. Full Article

What is terrorism?

By Hani Shukrallah

Ask yourself such apparently outlandish questions as, for instance: why are the groups of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan not terrorists? They are non-state armed groups; some of them, indeed, are backed by Iran (a notable member of the US list of terrorism- sponsoring states); they are engaged in armed violence against the government (abhorrent as it may be -- but there are plenty of despicable regimes); and, if it is atrocities against civilians you're looking for, they've committed their fair share (both during the anti-Soviet "Jihad" and after) -- as recently underlined in a statement issued by Human Rights Watch. Why was Bin Laden a mujahid when he was fighting the government- supported Soviet military presence in Afghanistan and a terrorist when he was fighting the government-supported US military presence in Saudi Arabia? Who decides which governments are "puppets" and which are not -- which are legitimate and which are not?

And what of atrocities? The capacity of states to commit atrocities is invariably much greater than that of non-state groups. Why are state-committed atrocities less morally reprehensible? Recall such US-backed monsters as Indonesia's Suharto, Zaire's Mobutu, Cambodia's Pol Pot, Israel's Sharon... And, if you insist on non-state groups -- what of the Contras in Honduras, the Israeli settlers in Palestine? Why are the Kurds terrorists in Turkey and freedom fighters in Iraq? Full Article

Propaganda: Then and Now

By Gilles d'Aymery

In January 1916, President Woodrow Wilson stated, "So far as I can remember, this is a government of the people, and this people is not going to choose war." (2) Later in the year, Wilson campaigned and won his re-election on a platform stressing a policy of neutrality, if not antiwar pacifism, toward the raging conflict on the old continent. The slogan used by his team, "He kept us out of the war," was factual though from 1914 to 1916 the US exports to Britain and France increased from $825 million to $3.2 billion. Months later, Wilson's request to declare war against the German government was approved in the Senate by 82 votes to 6 (April 4, 1917), and in the House of Representatives by 373 to 50 (April 6, 1917).

If "people [were] not going to choose war" then war would choose people, as Wilson's rhetoric drastically changed: "Lead this people into war, and they'll forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance. To fight, you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fibre of national life, infecting the Congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street." Full Article

Hypocrisy, Hatred and the War on Terror

By Robert Fisk

"Air campaign"? "Coalition forces"? "War on terror"? How much longer must we go on enduring these lies? There is no "campaign" merely an air bombardment of the poorest and most broken country in the world by the world's richest and most sophisticated nation. No MIGs have taken to the skies to do battle with the American B-52s or F-18s. The only ammunition soaring into the air over Kabul comes from Russian anti-aircraft guns manufactured around 1943.

Coalition? Hands up who's seen the Luftwaffe in the skies over Kandahar, or the Italian air force or the French air force over Herat. Or even the Pakistani air force. The Americans are bombing Afghanistan with a few British missiles thrown in. "Coalition" indeed.

Then there's the "war on terror". When are we moving on to bomb the Jaffna peninsula? Or Chechnya which we have already left in Vladimir Putin's bloody hands? I even seem to recall a massive terrorist car bomb that exploded in Beirut in 1985 targeting Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the spiritual inspiration to the Hezbollah, who now appears to be back on Washington's hit list and which missed Nasrallah but slaughtered 85 innocent Lebanese civilians. Years later, Carl Bernstein revealed in his book, Veil, that the CIA was behind the bomb after the Saudis agreed to fund the operation. So will the US President George Bush be hunting down the CIA murderers involved? The hell he will. Full Article

The Printing Press Pays for War

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

In a little-noticed announcement, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has made a stab at estimating the direct costs of this splendid little war against Afghanistan. In the past this group has provided a very useful service in telling us exactly what the Pentagon is loath to talk about: how many taxpayer dollars our military central planners are plowing through on any given day. The Center has an excellent track record. This time they have come up with a pretty scary figure: $1 billion per month.

That number is based on past costs of deployments of warships, aircraft, and special forces in the Gulf War and the War in Kosovo, relative to the number of sorties flown and the number of troops actively deployed. They cross-checked their estimates with a bottom-up and a top-down method of calculation, while freely admitting that the estimate could be off by a few hundred billion here and there (and government is always more expensive now than in the past). Full Article