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New Political Scenery?

September 24, 2001

In Search Of Good Sense

( Bukka Rennie ) One would have thought that having experienced the horror of September 11, Americans would have awoken to a new reality about themselves in relation to the rest of the world.

In almost every instance those innocent people who were "murdered" in the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as all those on the fourth hijacked plane, had one thing on their minds in those final minutes of human existence: Concern for loved ones. Full Article

Listen America you Better Wake Up

( Thomas C. Mountain ) The American People had better wake up! The Gospels in the Bible say as ye sow, so shall ye reap. Since my teenage years the United States has bombed Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Libya, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia injuring and killing millions of civilians. Full Article

( David Comissiong ) The political leaders of the United States of America seemingly having convinced themselves that Osama bin Laden and associated extreme nationalist, fundamentalist Islamic forces carried out the recent attacks in New York and Washington, are now preparing for a fearsome military assault on Afghanistan. If the government of the United States was prepared to sacrifice the lives of thousands of totally innocent Panamanian citizens in 1989 in order to get at one man President Manuel Noreiga whom they claimed was suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, then one can well imagine the carnage they will be willing to commit in order to destroy Osama bin Laden. Full Article

How Russians View The Attacks

That mood has been reflected in all my dealings with Russians since the attack. Russians are laying wreaths at the American Embassy in Moscow. My friends and colleagues here have gone out of their way to make sure I continue to feel welcome, both in their homes and in their country. They have been extremely supportive, and even casual acquaintances offer condolences and ask about my family once they learn Im an American. While Americans back home have been reading about international support for our country, its really something to experience it in the eyes of a street vendor or the handshake of a cab driver. This has been one of those events that enables us all, at least for a time, to transcend barriers of language, ideology, and culture and touch our common humanity. Full Article

Might ... USS Kitty Hawk leaves Japan yesterday

USS KITTY HAWK THE largest air armada seen since World War Two was zeroing in on evil mastermind Osama bin Laden last night.
At least 630 US warplanes will join the battle against international terror - THREE TIMES as many as America deployed in the war against Saddam Hussein. More than a hundred jets are already in the Gulf, poised to strike at Afghanistan. Another 250 have been ordered to the region from bases around the world by President George W Bush. And 280 more are on board four US aircraft carriers which are moving into position with a 41-ship battlefleet.

The warplanes will be backed up by America's stockpile of 3,500 cruise missiles. Crack British SAS troops are ready to slip into Afghanistan to link up with anti-Taliban rebels.

And a British fleet - including an aircraft carrier, a nuclear sub, destroyers and a troop support carrying 3,000 Marines - was last night heading for the Suez Canal. The unprecedented show of strength sends a clear message to the world that the US-led war on terrorism is about to begin.

The four US carriers will be key players in any large-scale attack on Afghanistan. They have been ordered to the area from as far away as Virginia and Japan.

Composite Interview
ZMAG By Noam Chomsky

My impression is that these attacks won't offer us new political scenery, but that they rather confirm the existence of a problem inside the "Empire". The problem concerns political authority and power. What do you think?

The likely perpetrators are a category of their own, but uncontroversially, they draw support from a reservoir of bitterness and anger over US policies in the region, extending those of earlier European masters. There certainly is an issue of "political authority and power." In the wake of the attacks, the _Wall Street Journal_ surveyed opinions of "moneyed Muslims" in the region: bankers, professionals, businessmen with ties to the US. They expressed dismay and anger about US support for harsh authoritarian states and the barriers that Washington places against independent development and political democracy by its policies of "propping up oppressive regimes." Their primary concern, however, was different: Washington's policies towards Iraq and towards Israel's military occupation. Among the great mass of poor and suffering people, similar sentiments are much more bitter, and they are also hardly pleased to see the wealth of the region flow to the West and to small Western-oriented elites and corrupt and brutal rulers backed by Western power. So there definitely are problems of authority and power. The immediate US reaction is to deal with these problems by intensifying them. That is, of course, not inevitable. A good deal depends on the outcome of such considerations.

At first the US used the word "crusade," but it was quickly pointed out that if they hope to enlist their allies in the Islamic world, that is a serious mistake, for obvious reasons. The rhetoric therefore shifted to "war." The Gulf war of 1991 was called a war. The bombing of Serbia was called a "humanitarian intervention," by no means a novel usage. That was a standard description of European imperialist ventures in the 19th century. To cite some more recent examples, the major recent scholarly work on "humanitarian intervention" cites three examples of "humanitarian intervention" in the immediate pre-World War II period: Japan's invasion of Manchuria, Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, and Hitler's takeover of the Sudetenland. The author of course is not suggesting that the term is apt; rather, that the crimes were masked as "humanitarian." But the pretext of "humanitarian intervention" cannot be used in the normal way in the present case. So we are left with "war."

To call it a "war against terrorism," however, is simply more propaganda, unless the "war" really does target terrorism. But that is plainly not contemplated.

ZMAG Composite Interview / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /
By Noam Chomsky