By Juergen Nieth
[This press review published toward the end of 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.iwif.de/wf404-81.htm. Juergen Nieth is editor of "Wissenschaft und Frieda" (Science and Peace).]
President Bush took September 11 as the occasion to declare war on terrorists, a war of indefinite duration, joined with the promise of destroying terrorism once and for all. Three years later - and after two wars - the balance sheet is rather depressing.
AL QAIDA ON 9/11
Right on the anniversary, Bin Laden's representative, Aimann al-Savahri in a video message predicted the defeat of the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US only has the choice of "being bled white" or withdrawing and "losing everything" ("Spiegel" 9/13/2004).
Neither the occupying group nor the installed governments in Kabul and Baghdad has the country under control.
KARZAI NEGOTIATES WITH THE DEVIL
"Der Spiegel" examined the situation in Afghanistan before the election (9/13/2004) and described how ex-terrorists and cruel despots were washed up to the top in the election. "The Americans hunt... the Hish-i Islamic fighters as members of a terrorist organization and sends them to the US prison in Guantanamo Bay. However their top man Farnki does not look like a loser. He stands under the personal protection of president Karzai. Therefore the Americans will not arrest him... To win the current election, Karzai negotiates with the devil so to speak, with the Taliban, concretely with Mullah Omar's former foreign minister Ahmed Muttawakil. "They are sons of this earth and most welcome to us except for a very few," president Karzai told Koran students in a recent visit to Pakistan.
GENERALS WARN AGAINST AN EXPANDED AFGHAN OPERATION
18,000 soldiers of the US and its allies are presently in Afghanistan. The German army is in Kabul and Kundus. The shift of 85 soldiers to Faisabad - for election security - ordered by German defense minister Struck - encountered the resistance of the generals according to a report of "Rheinzeitung" (9/13/2004). Struck is reproached for making a decision without concept. The Dutch who originally wanted to join with the Germans are "distancing themselves from the course to Faisabad like several other nations including Scandanavia and Spain." The Rheinzeitung points out that the German soldiers "in Faisabad cannot protect the civilian relief projects promoted by the German government... and the soldiers are delivered up... to possible battles of the Afghani warlords over drug income. The province belongs to the most important opium growers."
OVER 1000 DEAD U.S. SOLDIERS
Iraq is far from peace. Three times more U.S. soldiers have fallen since the official end of the war than in the war. The number of dead U.S. soldiers surpassed 1000 at the beginning of September with more than 7000 wounded. Amnesty International estimates the number of dead Iraqis at over 10,000 (FR 9/9/2004). U.S. soldiers do not control vast parts of Iraq.
LATE WAR CRITICISM
The Iraq war violates the UN Charter, declared UN General Secretary Kofi Annan in an interview with the British BBC (9/15/2004). For him the invasion of the US and its allies is an "illegal act."
The U.S. war is also criticized internally. The "Frankfurter Rundschau" (9/12/2004) quotes from the final report of the US investigative committee on 9/11, a group composed of five Republicans and five Democrats. "The sweeping definition of `terrorism' is too `vague and diffuse.'" According to the view of the commission, "the threat consists in new possible attacks by Al-Qaeda and in the radical ideological movement behind the terror network... No answer has been found (to that). Rather this movement gains in strength in the Islamic world while the U.S. loses respect."
The Frankfurter Rundschau quotes the U.S. magazine "Atlantic Monthly" that interviewed many terrorism experts and summarized their opinion: "They tend to see America's reaction to September 11 as a catastrophe... Instead of opposing Al Qaeda's ideological challenge, a gift was given to the terrorists with the Iraq war. The (terrorist) threat to the U.S. increased with the war and the military, financial and diplomatic means for reacting are simultaneously reduced."
Appealing to U.S. government representatives, the "New York Times" on 9/16/2004 reported about a paper of secret service experts that the Bush administration released at the end of July. The FR (9/17/2004) reports: "Three developments up to the end of 2005 are possible. In the worst case, a civil war threatens; in the best case, a state develops whose security situation and political and economic stability are very endangered. The secret service analysis is the first analysis about Iraq since October 2002. "A considerable amount of pessimism is found there," the newspaper quotes one government researcher.
REFLECTING ON THE CAUSES OF TERROR
Asked about the significance of economic aid to developing countries in view of terrorism, the president of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, replied in Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung (9/9/2004): "The development question cannot be deferred whether we are dealing with terrorism or not. The money for development isn't anywhere near the $800 billion that the world will spend for defense... People must be given hope. It is hard to convince a young Muslim in the Palestinian areas who has never had work to agree to a peace treaty. Combating poverty alone will not end terrorism. But it removes instabilities and wars in many parts of the world."