I Dreamed I Was Walking Into World War THree
I Dreamed I Was Walking Into World War Three
I don't want to be writing this. I'd rather be chilling out with a book or hanging out with the kids, but if we don't oppose this war in greater and greater numbers, who will? I was honestly hoping that the crime of 911 would be handled like other crimes of that nature. You know, like the Oklahoma City bombing where the perpetrators (at least some of them) were brought to justice and faced their maker. Unfortunately, that was never on the agenda of the warmakers. They saw the opportunity to put the falling economy on a war footing without any debate in Congress and they took advantage of the moment-manipulating our emotions towards a campaign of endless war and authoritarian rule -rule that could make rallies opposed to their plans illegal and potentially put those of us who organize them in detention. Authoritarian rule that will affect every single one of us-in our travel, our internet use, our ability to say what we think, and our ability to oppose acts of our government we consider wrong. While some of these so-called precautions might make sense to a lot of people right now, they won't once they are used against those of us who take the Bill of Rights seriously.
What do I mean by endless war? Already the US has notified the UN that they may attack other countries. This could mean Iraq, it could even mean Cuba--two governments the US has yet to convince to go along with its way of thinking. It could mean Palestine, where Israel has set up an apartheid-like regime which, among other totalitarian practices against Palestinians, locks up Palestinians at will, knocks down their homes and forbids them from entering many areas unless they have the right kind of pass-and that's during times of relative peace in the country. As we know, the resistance to Israeli military occupation and settlements has intensified since the election of Ariel Sharon in Israel, as have the bombings and other attacks from both sides in the conflict. Or it could mean Colombia, where a civil war has been going on for thirty years and where the notoriously brutal Colombian military receives millions of dollars in aid every month from the US to fight those who oppose the US plans for the region.
I'd like to say a few words to the folks who aren't sure if they are against the war, but aren't really for it either. I'm talking about those people who know something doesn't feel exactly right or make sense about killing Afghanis but feel something must be done to respond to the killings of 911. For those of us who are certain about our opposition, read on anyhow. The following couple of paragraphs can be like a quick review-a renewal of our determination to end this murderous nonsense masquerading as justice and goodness.
To start, we are told that this war is against terrorism. Let's look at this--
In the 1950s and 1960s any movement or government that opposed the US was labeled communist by the US propaganda machine. Today, the new label is to be terrorist. While it is very, very important to acknowledge that the acts of 911 were terrorist acts, it is equally important to acknowledge that struggles like that of the Palestinians are legitimate struggles for self-determination. In Washington's new war, it is the intention of the US government and its cohorts to confuse these definitions to serve their own ends. Of course, though, they will tell us that any expansion of their war will be in self-defense.
This is a lie! Bombing a country to smithereens is not self-defense. Attacking and invading a country that did not attack us is not self-defense. Forcing hundreds of thousands of already desperate people from their homes and into camps is not self-defense. Destabilizing an already tenuous world is not self-defense. It is nothing other than unabashed aggression in the name of US hegemony and the war machine. Especially when we are told by those very same folks ordering the bombardment of Afghanistan that after they finish their destruction and whatever comes next, there is a very good chance that the very men we are told organized the 911 attacks will still be on the loose and that the military must go into other countries and kill some more. When I hear that I find it hard to believe that capturing those guys was ever the main priority in this campaign.
Let me digress for a moment: when I was a kid I lived in Pakistan as a USAF military dependent. My parents hired a man to watch us kids when they were busy. He also cleaned the house and cooked occasionally. As an adult, I look back on those days and realize how colonialist that set-up was, but at the time I saw it differently. We called the man who worked for us Sharif. He spoke three languages--English, Urdu, and Pushtu-and enjoined me in many conversations about his life, his religion and his culture. Sometimes I would go to his village with him and play with the boys my age and then eat dinner. He even invited me to his wedding. I often wonder what happened to him and his loved ones or the boys I used to play with. Because of my personal connection to this land through those memories I die a little bit each time those bombers kill another human in that land. In truth, though we all die a little bit each time this occurs. We must bring it home--it is human lives our government is taking, not some numbers on a scoresheet that will be filled only after the Pentagon's goals are achieved.
We can not let them expand their war. It must end in Afghanistan and it must end NOW! No more cluster bombs. No more laser-guided bombs. No more cruise missiles. No more B-52 carpet-bombing. No more gatling guns on gunships raking death across the mountains and plains. No more death in our name. If the masters of war try to expand this war, (and they will) it will become very obvious that this is not a war against terrorism as much as it is a campaign of terror against those who would thwart corporate America's desire for global rule-something it was having a hard time doing by using more conventional means like trade agreements and such, although Bush and friends insist, in their greed-driven blindness, that free trade agreements thwart terrorism, when in reality not only do they increase the disparities in the world that drive desperate people to commit desperate acts of terror, the agreements themselves are acts of terror in that their very nature ensures the suffering of millions by denying them essential human needs. This is not to say that terrorism isn't a threat, nor that those who perpetrated the crimes of 911 should not be brought to justice... it is saying that a war against all of Washington's enemies is an even greater threat to all of humanity.
But what about the Taliban? Aren't they oppressive and against women?
Yes, they are. But, you know what, war is not going to solve that. Even if the Taliban are destroyed and a new government is put into place in Afghanistan, there will be grave problems with regards to the rights of women and those in the Afghani population who are left out of any new government. However, no matter what, the current killing going on will not alleviate this situation either. Indeed, war and its aftermath usually tends to pave the way for even greater violation of human rights -of which women's rights are one of the most important aspects. It is my hope that a fairer regime will rule Afghanistan in the future, but this war must end in order for any meaningful changes in that arena to occur. As for the rest of the world, what has this war done in terms of freedom? Not a damn thing! Indeed, like I said earlier, here in the US we see more restrictions on our freedom to travel, our freedom to converse on the telephone and via email, and there are now laws on the books that would allow the government, should it so desire, to prosecute those who organize against their plans as domestic terrorists. Not that that's likely to happen, but it could. GW may call this war Operation Enduring Freedom, but I've begun calling it Operation Ending Freedom.
You know, when I listen to the words of bin Laden and his organization or the words of GW and the organization he currently runs, they sound frightfully similar. Both of these organizations-Al Queda and the US government-believe they are absolutely correct and both are willing to do whatever it takes to impose their plans for the world on the rest of us, no matter what that involves-mass murder via bombing, war, and starvation, or political, business and trade practices that deny the humanity of a large percentage of the world's population. Neither organization has the best interests of humanity in mind. Bin Laden and his organization use religion to gain supporters. GW and friends use patriotism, although, like American warmakers throughout our history, they'll play the religion card too. While both religion and patriotism are legitimate expressions of the human approach to life, the manipulation of either to condone killing is not only wrong, it is perverse. Unfortunately for the human race, it is all too common. Neither of these men and the organizations they lead care as much about humanity as they do about their political agenda and neither of them deserve our allegiance. Of course, we can't ignore them because their battle won't go away and the planet is in the middle.
I want to take a moment to mourn those who have died in this battle between these two organizations of terror-here and overseas. I also want to talk about the service women and men (and those who are considering joining) involved in this war. These folks are honorable folks. They are not the enemy. It is they and their families who will suffer more than other Americans in this war. If history is any indication, many of the men and women in uniform will return from battle bearing its scars-physical and emotional. They will discover that there is no glory in killing and dying, and that the patriotism they were sold was little more than a cynical lie used by those in power to convince them to leave their families and kill other human beings who fell for another version of that same lie. We can support them best by ending this war, bringing all of the soldiers over there home, and by speaking with those whom we know in the service -family and friends-about what the historical role of the US military has been-not freedom, but oppression. Not defense, but intrusion.
One more thing, it's important to address what lies ahead for those of us who oppose the killing going on in our name. It is not going to be easy, especially right now. People will harass us. At times, we will want to quit. At times we will question the point of our resistance. But we must never quit. No! We must raise our level of opposition to a greater level then. Sometimes we will offend some folks, maybe even our family or friends. Sometimes we will be verbally abused or physically assaulted. We must not, no, cannot, give in. Like the great fighter for the liberation of black people in this country from slavery , Frederick Douglas, said:
If there is no struggle, there is not progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without the thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both mental and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand.
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