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November 17, 2001

War On Terror: False Victory

By John Pilger

THERE is no victory in Afghanistan's tribal war, only the exchange of one group of killers for another. The difference is that President Bush calls the latest occupiers of Kabul "our friends".

However welcome the scenes of people playing music and shaving off their beards, the so-called Northern Alliance are no bringers of freedom. They are the same people welcomed by similar scenes of jubilation in 1992, who then killed an estimated 50,000 in four years of internecine feuding. The new heroes so far have tortured and executed at least 100 prisoners of war, and countless others, as well as looted food supplies and re-established their monopoly on the heroin trade. Full Article

Al-Jazeera accuses US of bombing its Kabul office

By Matt Wells

The Qatar-based satellite television channel, al-Jazeera, claimed yesterday that its Kabul office had been targeted by United States bombers. Ibrahim Hilal, the chief editor of the Arabic language network, said it had given the location of its office in Kabul to the authorities in Washington - yet on Monday night, its office was destroyed by a bomb that almost wrecked the nearby BBC bureau. Full Article

Opportunistic cronies

By Faisal Bodi

In a calamity a thief but sees an opportunity to steal. Far be it for me to accuse fellow Muslims of behaving like the fabled kleptomaniac of the Arabian Nights, but if the thief of Baghdad had a modern political equivalent he would surely be found in the pack of opportunists capitalising on the fallout from September 11.

The chasm between the community and those who claim to represent it was brought into sharp relief by a survey which found 96% of UK Muslims in favour of a halt to US bombing in Afghanistan. Even allowing for questions about the way the poll was conducted, the scale of Muslim opposition is not now an issue. Full Article

War For Nothing

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The neocons have two plumb lines on the war: one, celebration that the Taliban is overthrown, and, two, fury at the perception that the war should therefore end.

On the first plumb line, observe that the Taliban was not behind September 11, and nobody claims otherwise, so to celebrate its overthrow is to define the problem backwards in light of events. Also, remember that the Northern Alliance marched into Kabul against the demands of the Bush administration: "We will encourage our friends to head south, but not into the city of Kabul itself," said Bush on November 10. Full Article

Irrational and Violent

By Butler Shaffer

The other day, I received an alumni fund-raising letter from my old law school. It opened with a post-September 11th quote from a present faculty member who praised our current civilization, declaring that one of its most impressive accomplishments has been the development of a "legal order committed to resolving disputes between humans by reason and not by violence."

There is nothing particularly remarkable in this manís observations: one would find virtually unanimous agreement with such sentiments at any gathering of lawyers, judges, politicians, or other professional groups. What is noteworthy in his words is how far removed they are from the reality they purport to describe. Like so many of the litanies and bromides by which most people sustain their faith in systems such as the state, these words have a reassuring quality to them, at least as long as one does not examine them closely. Full Article

Never a Good War or a Bad Peace

by Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen

SINCE September 11, we have written and spoken against the United States Government's plans for war. Many responses have been positive, but there has been a variety of crude personal attacks some calling us cowards, others suggesting that we should go to Afghanistan (preferably where bombs are dropping). Some are overtly genocidal, suggesting that all Afghanistan is terrorist and safety can come only from exterminating all Afghans, if not all or most of the Islamic world.

Those responses were not surprising; we have long known of the racism that lurks beneath a polite veneer. More disturbing are responses from people who simply do not want to think. Some wish to continue in their blissful ignorance of American history and foreign policy. Others, including opponents of the war, think we should focus on good thoughts and not be so "confrontational". Full Article