Breaking the Spirals of Violence!
By Mani Stenner
[This article originally published in: FriedensForum, August 28, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www.friedenskooperative.de/themen/aktztg11.htm.]
On September 11, we will remember the terrorist attacks a year ago with great memorial events, special sections and special broadcasts. US President Bush emphasizes his determination to wage a continuing war in the struggle against evil and to bomb a regime change in Iraq. For a year, the US and its allies have reacted to the challenge of an inconceivable kind of terrorism with perilous methods turning the spirals of violence.
Groups of the peace movement - also in the US - warned of military escalation directly after the attacks and emphasized together with initiatives of globalization critics that the deeper causes for such terrorism lie in the increasing division of the world in poor and rich, in feelings of humiliation and hatred toward "the West" and especially the US among many people in countries of the South. A turn in global policy to new cooperation instead of the arrogant policy of strength, readiness for sharing and genuine chances for economic development could be impulses or antidotes against hatred and stereotypes.
War is not a Solution
All actual trouble spots and regional wars demonstrate that no security and no peace can be gained with violence.
Western governments have given the wrong answer with war deployments and massive dismantling of domestic freedom rights. The US in particular ignores all standards of international law. This is true for the war against Afghanistan that violates international law and the treatment of prisoners of war in military prisons. Over 1200 persons have been in custody in the US for a year without charge. Democratic rights including the right to strike were restricted. The rigid opposition to the International Criminal Court in The Haag where crimes against humanity like September 11 could be charged goes along with this highhandedness. The announcement of the Bush administration that forced appearance of US citizens before this Criminal Court would be prevented with military force if necessary suggests that the US plans itsx own war crimes in its "war against terrorism".
World Domination as the Goal of War
For a long time, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have been a pretext for the military enforcement of power- and economic interests in the framework of "globalization".
Since January 2002, the US has opened up the "second front" in the Philippines in the battle against international terrorism unnoticed by the world public. The Star-spangled Banner was brought back...
As a result of the Afghanistan war, the US could permanently station troops in the southern states of the former Soviet Union. The US will control future important oil and petroleum routes from the Caspian sea - a strategic power position about which they could hardly dream a year ago.
Access to the energy reserves of the earth, especially oil, is always the key for worldwide power (and nation power, a considerable part of US election campaign funds come from the oil industry).
For the goal of absolute dominance, the US boycotts important international agreements like the Kyoto protocol on climate protection and shakes off the fetters of international arms control policy. The ABM treaty is cancelled. Militarization of outer space is resolved. Resumption of nuclear tests threatens. The new US military doctrine even earmarks the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
In a barely concealed competition with the last remaining superpower, European states seek "their" share of the worldwide economic cake through their own military intervention capacity. With a heavy $400 billion arms budget and technological superiority, the US decides the race and isn't ready to share the most modern weapons with its allies. The better way for all of us is strengthening civil conflict resolution and Europe's possibilities for political action.
The Iraq war can still be prevented
Iraq's Arab neighbors and the election campaigning red-green German government are not alone in warning of an Iraq war as a military "adventure". Skepticism grown in the US. Even hardliners like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and ex-security advisor Brent Snowcraft see the danger that the "coalition against terrorism" could break apart and no "stable" post-war order is in sight. The Iraq war could escalate to an uncontrollable conflagration with Islamic rebellions against pro-western feudal regimes in the Gulf region and Israel's participation.
For peaceful conflict resolution and global justice
The US government is increasingly isolated with its Iraq war plans. Bush can hardly venture a single-handed effort without Nato states and without Arab allies.
Thus the attitude of the Federal republic of Germany and the EU (European Union) is relevant. A large majority of the population is against this war. In the election campaign, red-green politicians and others echo this skepticism. But will this still be true after September 22?
All of us come into play here. With concrete engagement against war and for civil conflict resolution, we have the change that politicians in the Bundestag will not "faint" again but will contribute to peace in Germany.