Tuesday, October 19, 2004

We Cannot Bomb the World Into Peace

On 9-11, we were attacked by a relatively small group of terrorists. Their organization was Al Qaeda, and they were based in Afghanistan. We had the leader of Al Qaeda virtually surrounded in Tora Bora, but relied on local war lords to catch him. They didn’t.

The reason we relied on the war lords was because President Bush was focused on invading Iraq, a country which had not attacked us. In the Spring of 2001, both Condi Rice and Colin Powell had acknowledged that Iraq, decimated by the `1991 war and sanctions that followed, did not have a strong army and did not present a threat to us.

But Bush had come in to office already committed to regime change in Iraq, by which he meant effecting U.S. control over Iraqi oil fields and the planting of America military bases there.

Saddam ran a secular dictatorship, he was named as an enemy by Bin Laden, he was not allied with him nor likely to give Bin Laden weapons of mass destructions, even if Saddam had them, which he didn’t. Saddam had actively suppressed the religious fundamentalists like Bin Laden in Iraq. (The now famed terrorist, Zarquawi, had a base in Iraq, but it was in the Kurdish area, outside of Saddam's control. The U.S. had at least three opportunities to bomb that base, but Bush refused to allow our military to do so because he wanted to be able to point to Zarquawi's presence "in Iraq" as a justification for invading it.)

Determined to carry out the long laid plans of the neoconservatives, impelled by the interests of his energy company donors, Bush diverted the majority of our resources from Afghanistan into Iraq. The billions of dollars which were allocated to no bid contracts for Halliburton for Iraq were thus diverted from the fight against Al Qaeda and, even worse, diverted from use to strengthen our anti-terrorist defenses within the United States.

That is why 95 per cent of the cargo coming into the U.S. is uninspected, that is why our chemical and nuclear plants remain unsecured, that is why our first responders do not have radio communication systems capable of handling a major attack, that is why thousands of our first responders are not here protecting us, but off killing and being killed in Iraq.

The billions that were spent bombing Iraq could have been used to defuse the causes of terrorism – by bringing jobs, international educational exchange programs, medical care, working electricity, water and sewage plants to the poor in the Middle East. That money could have been used to assist the democratic movements in the Middle East against the dictatorships we have so often supported, if not put into power in the first place.

The best way to fight terrorism is to stop carrying out policies which cause terrorism, to fight it on the level of ideas and true democratic assistance. The more people we bomb in Iraq, the more Moslems throughout the Middle East will choose to become terrorists.

If we want peace, we must work for justice. It is impossible to bomb the world into peace. I have a 19 year old son, I certainly would not send him to fight in the Middle East when all of his fighting would only raise the level of terrorism for all peoples throughout the world.

Bush and the neo-conservatives who have hi-jacked our government and who are wrecking death and destruction on Iraq, and hoping to carry it on into Iran and Syria, must be stopped. Sanity and democracy must be restored in the United States. For that, I am willing to let my son fight.

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