WSWS on NY Bombings

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Wed Sep 12 17:08:54 MDT 2001


This is on the World Socialist site.

Paul F

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally condemns the terrorist attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Those responsible for the hijacking
of four commercial passenger aircraft and their conversion into flying bombs
are guilty of mass murder. Nothing of a socially progressive character will
be achieved on the basis of such an indiscriminate and callous destruction
of human life.

These acts of homicidal terrorism manifest a toxic combination of
demoralized pessimism, religious and ultra-nationalist obscurantism, and, it
must be added, political opportunism of the vilest character. Terrorist
organizations-notwithstanding their anti-American rhetoric-base their
tactics on the illusion that random acts of horrific violence will compel
the US ruling class to shift its policies. Thus, in the final analysis, they
hope to make a deal with Washington.

However it seeks to justify itself, the terrorist method is fundamentally
reactionary. Far from dealing a powerful blow against imperialist
militarism, terrorism plays into the hands of those elements within the US
establishment who seize on such events to justify and legitimize the resort
to war in pursuit of the geopolitical and economic interests of the ruling
elite. The murder of innocent civilians enrages, disorients and confuses the
public. It undermines the struggle for the international unity of the
working class, and counteracts all efforts to educate the American people on
the history and politics that form the background to contemporary events in
the Middle East.

Nevertheless, our condemnation of Tuesday's terrorist outrages does not in
the slightest imply any lessening of our principled and irreconcilable
opposition to the policies of the US government. Anyone who wishes to
understand the why and wherefore of yesterday's events must study the
historical and political record of the US in the Middle East, especially
over the last 30 years. The unrelenting efforts of American imperialism to
secure its domination over the oil resources of the region, which has
entailed, among other things, unstinting support for the Israeli state's
oppression of the Palestinian people, has placed the United States in
violent opposition to the legitimate and irrepressible democratic, national
and social aspirations of the Arab masses.

In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's events, politicians, editorialists
and media pundits have declared over and over that Americans must recognize
that the destruction of the World Trade Center means the United States is at
war and must act accordingly. But the fact of the matter is that the US
government has been engaged in direct warfare in the Middle East, in one
form or another, for the better part of two decades.

Putting aside the massive material aid that it provides for Israeli military
operations, the United States has been bombing one or another Middle Eastern
country almost continuously since 1983. US bombers and/or battleships have
attacked Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Iran, the Sudan and Afghanistan. Without
actually declaring war, the United States has conducted military operations
against Iraq for nearly 12 years. The ongoing daily bombings of Iraq are
barely mentioned in the American media, which has made no attempt to
ascertain the total number of Iraqis killed by US bombs since 1991.

Given this bloody record, why should anyone be surprised that those who have
been targeted by the United States have sought to strike back?

The same media that is now screaming for blood has routinely applauded the
use of violence against whatever country or people are deemed to be
obstacles to US interests. Let us recall the words of New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman, who had this to say to the Serbian people during
the US bombing campaign in 1999: "It should be lights out in Belgrade: every
power grid, water pipe, road and war-related factory has to be hit.... [W]e
will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do
1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389."

The foreign policy of the US is a mixture of cynicism, brutality and
irresponsibility. Washington has pursued a course that has inflamed the
hatred of large sections of the world's population, creating an environment
in which recruits can be found for bloody terrorist operations. In rare
moments of candor, foreign policy specialists have acknowledged that the
actions of the United States provoke hatred and the desire for retribution.
During the Balkan War, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger
stated: "We've presented to the rest of the world a vision of the bully on
the block who pushes a button, people out there die, we don't pay anything
except the cost of a missile ... that's going to haunt us in terms of trying
to deal with the rest of the world in the years ahead."

This insight has not prevented the same Eagleburger from declaring Tuesday
night that the United States should respond to the destruction of the World
Trade Center by dropping bombs immediately on any country that might have
been involved.

George W. Bush's address to the nation Tuesday evening epitomized the
arrogance and blindness of the American ruling class. Far from America being
"the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world," the US is
seen by tens of millions as the main enemy of their human and democratic
rights, and the main source of their oppression. The American ruling elite,
in its insolence and cynicism, acts as if it can carry out its violent
enterprises around the world without creating the political conditions for
violent acts of retribution.

In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's attacks, US authorities and the
media are once again declaring that Osama bin Laden is responsible. This is
possible, although, as always, they present no evidence to back up their
claim.

But the charge that bin Laden is the culprit raises a host of troubling
questions. Given the fact that the US has declared this individual to be the
world's most deadly terrorist, whose every move is tracked with the aid of
the most technologically sophisticated and massive intelligence apparatus,
how could bin Laden organize such an elaborate attack without being
detected? An attack, moreover, against the same New York skyscraper that was
hit in 1993?

The devastating success of his assault would indicate that, from the
standpoint of the American government, the crusade against terrorism has
been far more a campaign of propaganda to justify US military violence
around the world than a conscientious effort to protect the American people.

Moreover, both bin Laden and the Taliban mullahs, whom the US accuses of
harboring him, were financed and armed by the Reagan-Bush administration to
fight pro-Soviet regimes in Afghanistan in the 1980s. If they are involved
in Tuesday's operations, then the American CIA and political establishment
are guilty of having nurtured the very forces that carried out the bloodiest
attack on American civilians in US history.

The escalation of US militarism abroad will inevitably be accompanied by
intensified attacks on democratic rights at home. The first victims of the
war fever being whipped up are Arab-Americans, who are already being
subjected to death threats and other forms of harassment as a result of the
media hysteria.

The calls from both Republican and Democratic politicians for a declaration
of war foreshadow a more general crackdown on opponents of American foreign
policy. General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded American troops in the
1991 invasion of Iraq, spoke for much of the political and military elite
when he declared on television that the war on alleged terrorist supporters
should be conducted inside as well as outside the borders of the US.

It is the policies pursued by the United States, driven by the strategic and
financial interests of the ruling elite, which laid the foundations for the
nightmare that unfolded on Tuesday. The actions now being contemplated by
the Bush administration-indicated by the president's threat to make "no
distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who
harbor them"-will only set the stage for further catastrophes.



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