Pre-War Time - The Turning of World Politics to More Violence
By Tobias Pflueger
[Tobias Pflueger won a decision in March 2000 in a Tiergarten court reversing a desertion conviction. The court declared that the US/NATO war against Yugoslavia was against international law and the German constitution. This article originally published on September 18, 2001 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www.imi-online.de.]
1. The mega-attacks and the victims
The brutal airplane attacks or mega-assassinations (none of these terms express the enormous tragedy) on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon etc. in the US on September 11, 2001 should be condemned most sharply. Thousands died. It was terrible. In these days and hours, our thoughts and sympathies are with the dead, the murdered, the wounded and their relatives and friends. The attacks and their aftermath leave people in shock, bewilderment, helplessness and speechlessness. Whoever imagines that such mega-murders can be justified politically is totally wrong. All justification, satisfaction or joy is completely out of place. Such attacks are humanly contemptuous and barbaric.
2. The possible perpetrators
Vast know-how (as pilots, technicians etc), precise coordination, logistics and total unscrupulousness were necessary for carrying out these unimaginable attacks. Who was capable of that? Speculation in the media over the "usual suspects" occurred directly after the attacks. "The Palestinians" were mentioned first of all. Suspecting or making whole groups of people of a certain descent responsible is disastrous. The form of speculation in some media was and is very problematic. Pre-judgments should be resisted. US information agencies put Osama bin Laden behind these mega-attacks on symbols of US power. Unlike the US government and the US police, the German investigating agency sees "no unequivocal connection to the main suspect Osama bin Laden". Additional facts and backgrounds are obviously necessary to identify those behind the terror attacks. Other evidence, for example in rightwing extremist circles was apparently never considered.
The question what brings someone or a group to carry out such mega-attacks must be raised. Why was the US (and the World Trade Center and the Pentagon) the target of these mega-attacks? If Osama bin Laden was behind these attacks, it must be critically noted that the US government for years financed and trained him and his accomplices when it seemed useful to them to fight in Afghanistan against the invasion of the Soviet Union. This was similarly true for the support of Saddam Hussein by the US and for other groups who once appeared "useful". Now the sorcerers' apprentices cannot be controlled any more and turn against their former foster fathers. Let us finally do away with the double standards in international politics which ascribe the attributes "good" and "evil" according to the current state of the world or opportunity.
3. The possible reaction of the US government
The worldwide political situation has now basically changed. September 11, 2001 is the turning point of world politics to more violence. One central question is: How will the US government react? That it will exercise the most vehement vengeance or revenge is feared. The foreign policy and peace policy implications of these mega-attacks could be dreadful. The foreign- and economic policy and particularly the military policy of the George W. Bush administration seldom worried about their consequences for people outside the US especially in areas outside western states. The threshold for the use of (military) force was always very low for this US government. US military policy could become more critical. Further and more direct wars of the US government against supposed or actual opponents whether governmental or non-governmental have unfortunately become more likely after the brutal mega-attacks.
4. Terror attacks and the NATO alliance situation
NATO interprets the attacks as "a case of joint defense according to Art 5 of the NATO statutes if it can be "shown that the attacks were directed at the US from a foreign country". However the emphasis in Article 5 of the NATO treaty is on an "armed attack". Article 5 refers to attacks from outside by other states.
We now fear an even greater danger of escalation in Germany. With the invocation of an Article 5 situation of NATO, a whole series of domestic regulations and foreign policy obligations of assistance become effective. Germany is drawn into a retaliation campaign with a military reprisal or retaliatory strike, direct or indirect German assistance. Revenge and retaliation are completely wrong responses to terror attacks. The reaction of the US and NATO will show whether the governments of western states are really "civil" or "civilized".
5. The vulnerability of the technological world
The mega-attacks show the vulnerability of the high-tech world. Civilian and military air traffic cannot be carried out after September 11, 2001 as before. Communication, mobility and the finance business - three central moments of the western world - were and are clearly affected by these mega-attacks (telephone service and the Internet were and are brought to a standstill on account of overburden, the financial markets are driven mad or follow their own imminent macabre logic: the stocks of armaments firms and oil multinationals soar!).
6. The domestic implications of the attacks
The domestic situation in the US has intensely deteriorated. In Germany, the domestic climate is enormously tightened. Repressions against people of a certain origin and against all legitimate criticism of the policy of the US government are feared. The first incursions on persons of Arabian descent are reported in the US and Germany. Many of these attacks are now instrumentalized for the policy of intensified domestic and international armament. Militarization, the further strengthening of the police and the military, advances further.
Military reactions are not necessary. Remedying economic inequalities in the world is necessary. Changing political structures is imperative, not repressive military reactions.
The great freedom, globalization, is mostly only a freedom and globalization of trade, not people. This trade or globalization has its victims.
Gerhard Schroder and Joschka Fischer should be decisively opposed. What is central is not solidarity with the state US, the government of the US or solidarity of the "civilized world". What is crucial is solidarity with the people affected by the attacks.