Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|America’s ill-conceived war on terror|
|10/25/01 at 15:27:12|
|Insult and injury in Afghanistan |
America’s ill-conceived war on terror
by Arundhati Roy
NEW DELHI, Oct. 20 — As darkness deepened over Afghanistan on Oct. 7, the U.S. government, backed by the International Coalition Against Terror (the new, amenable surrogate for the United Nations), launched air strikes against Afghanistan. TV channels lingered on computer-animated images of cruise missiles, stealth bombers, tomahawks, ‘bunker-busting’ missiles and Mark 82 high-drag bombs.
THE UN, REDUCED now to an ineffective acronym, wasn’t even asked to mandate the air strikes. (As Madeleine Albright once said, “The U.S. acts multilaterally when it can, and unilaterally when it must.”) The “evidence” against the terrorists was shared among friends in the “Coalition.” After conferring, they announced that it didn’t matter whether or not the “evidence” would stand up in a court of law. Thus, in an instant, were centuries of jurisprudence carelessly trashed.
Nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism, whether it is committed by religious fundamentalists, private militia, people’s resistance movements — or whether it’s dressed up as a war of retribution by a recognized government. The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world. Each innocent person that is killed must be added to, not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who died in New York and Washington.
People rarely win wars, governments rarely lose them. People get killed. Governments molt and regroup, hydra-headed. They first use flags to shrink-wrap peoples’ minds and suffocate real thought, and then as ceremonial shrouds to cloak the mangled corpses of the willing dead. On both sides, in Afghanistan as well as America, civilians are now hostage to the actions of their own governments. Unknowingly, ordinary people in both countries share a common bond — they have to live with the phenomenon of blind, unpredictable terror. Each batch of bombs that is dropped on Afghanistan is matched by a corresponding escalation of mass hysteria in America about anthrax, more hijackings and other terrorist acts.
There is no easy way out of the spiraling morass of terror and brutality that confronts the world today. It is time now for the human race to hold still, to delve into its wells of collective wisdom, both ancient and modern. What happened on Sept. 11th changed the world forever. Freedom, progress, wealth, technology, war — these words have taken on new meaning. Governments have to acknowledge this transformation, and approach their new tasks with a modicum of honesty and humility. Unfortunately, up to now, there has been no sign of any introspection from the leaders of the International Coalition. Or the Taliban.
When he announced the air strikes, President George Bush said, “We’re a peaceful nation.” America’s favorite Ambassador, Tony Blair, (who also holds the portfolio of Prime Minister of the UK), echoed him: “We’re a peaceful people.”
So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace.
THEORY AND PRACTICE
Speaking at the FBI headquarters a few days later, President Bush said, “This is our calling. This is the calling of the United States of America. The most free nation in the world. A nation built on fundamental values that reject hate, reject violence, rejects murderers and rejects evil. We will not tire.”
Here is a list of the countries that America has been at war with — and bombed — since World War II: China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the Belgian Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan.
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