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The 9-11 bombings Are Not Acts of War

The 9-11 bombings Are Crimes Against Humanity

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  1. We did not anticipate anything like what has now happened. We did not foresee that all our sequence of innovations might be at once overridden by a greater one: the invention of a new kind of war that would turn our previous innovations against us, discovering and exploiting the debits and the dangers that we had ignored. We never considered the possibility that we might be trapped in the webwork of communication and transport that was supposed to make us free.
  2. Nor did we foresee that the weaponry and the war science that we marketed and taught to the world would become available, not just to recognized national governments, which possess so uncannily the power to legitimate large-scale violence, but also to "rogue nations," dissident or fanatical groups and individuals whose violence, though never worse than that of nations, is judged by the nations to be illegitimate. . . .
  1. National self-righteousness, like personal self-righteousness, is a mistake. It is misleading. It is a sign of weakness. Any war that we may make now against terrorism will come as a new installment in a history of war in which we have fully participated. We are not innocent of making war against civilian populations. The modern doctrine of such warfare was set forth and enacted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who held that a civilian population could be declared guilty and rightly subjected to military punishment. We have never repudiated that doctrine.
  2. It is a mistake also -- as events since September 11 have shown -- to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a global economy and at the same time act exclusively in its own interest by abrogating its international treaties and standing apart from international cooperation on moral issues.
  3. And surely, in our country, under our Constitution, it is a fundamental error to suppose that any crisis or emergency can justify any form of political oppression. Since September 11, far too many public voices have presumed to "speak for us" in saying that Americans will gladly accept a reduction of freedom in exchange for greater "security." Some would, maybe. But some others would accept a reduction in security (and in global trade) far more willingly than they would accept any abridgement of our Constitutional rights.
--Wendell Berry, "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear," 26 Sep 2001

"The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

--U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling, "Letter of Resignation, 27 Feb 2003

"What I saw there changed my life for ever. I had been a very privileged, blessed American who had only ever seen war on TV. And then I went to Afghanistan and saw the devastation and horror of what happens to innocent people when bombs fall -- anyone's bombs, anywhere in the world. That my brother's name had been used to justify attacks on the people I met, became family with, cried and grieved with, brought it to a point where it was emotional and real. I found nothing but understanding, warmth, hugs -- they knew all about 9/11 and they grieved for us and apologised to us. Every American should go there -- because, if they did, they would stop the plans for war on Iraq immediately. . . .
        "My brother is dead. I privately mourn for him every moment. But I am not looking to atone for his death. I'm looking to prevent the death of others. I don't want to see other people die to amend a ghastly, unbelievable death. The world is larger than just me. Things don't have to be done to make up for things that have happened to me. Things have to be done to make things better in the world. I draw from my love of human beings that everyone is the same as I am. That it is possible -- not in a dream, but someday -- for this to be a peaceful planet. I'll fight to the day I die against this war on terror. I don't want my granddaughter to be sitting here at my age, facing the same world that I'm facing now: a world of starvation, war and inequity. Surely we can do better than this.

--Rita Lasar, "`I'm not going to respond to terrorism by becoming a terrorist', The Guardian, 22 Feb 2003

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"Analyze the issues -- the history, the karma (cause & effect) -- that has lead to such resentment and hatred of the USA (its power, hegemony, cultural imperialism, exploitation of other peoples & resources, environmental degradation etc). See the webs of suffering that cause such catastrophic events.
        "Consider who will gain most from a War. Think of the agenda of the current USA political administration and how a War promotes this agenda. Consider that the USA already spends more on military arms & other forms of "national security" than the rest of the world combined (although, as we see, this security is not infallible or ironclad). We have over half a million troops world wide in several hundred countries, scores of military bases & installations . . . A fleet larger in tonnage & firepower than all the navies of the world combined -- missile cruisers, nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, destroyers, spy ships that sail every ocean. US bomber squadrons & long range missiles that can reach any target . . . heat-seeking missiles with million dollar computers, "monster bombs", armour-piercing antitank projectiles made from radioactive nuclear waste (thousands were used in the Gulf War which contaminated ground water & soil in Iraq & Kuwait with uranium depletion that caused cancer in civilians) . . . We can wreak terrible destruction if our military power is unleashed.

--Anne Waldman, "Statement & Petition, 18 Sep 2001

"The protesters responded by hammering on the hoods of police cars and screaming, `We are not the enemy!' . . . The streets of Portland were filled on August 22nd by average American citizens seeking to inform the President of their disfavor regarding the manner in which he is governing their country. They were rewarded with the business end of a billy club, a face-full of pepper spray, and the jarring impact of a rubber bullet.
        "If America needed one more example of the cancer that has been chewing through the guts of our most basic freedoms since Mr. Bush assumed office, they can look to Portland. The right to freely assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances has been rescinded at the point of a gun.
        "The imperative is clear. Such violence by the authorities cannot go unchallenged. The next time Mr. Bush appears in public, there must be even more concerned Americans to greet him. They must face the baton and the pepper spray, they must stare into the shielded faces of the police, and they must stand in non-violent disobedience of the idea that they are not allowed to be there. The men and women who faced the brunt of police fury in Portland are to be lauded as American patriots, and their actions must be duplicated by us all. The groups which organized this protest, and the ones to come, deserve our praise."

--William Rivers Pitt "`We Are Not The Enemy!' - The Battle of Portland, truthout, 24 Aug 2002

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