Thursday, February 6
Robert Fisk: Don't mention the war in Afghanistan
The near collapse of peace in this savage land is a narrative erased from the mind of Americans
Robert Fisk, The Independent, 05 February 2003
There's one sure bet about the statement to be made to the UN Security Council today by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell – or by General Colin Powell as he has now been mysteriously reassigned by the American press: he won't be talking about Afghanistan [...]So let's break through the curtain for a while and peer into the fastness of the land that both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair promised not to forget. Hands up those who know that al-Qa'ida has a radio station operating inside Afghanistan which calls for a holy war against America? It's true. Hands up again anyone who can guess how many of the daily weapons caches discovered by US troops in the country have been brought into Afghanistan since America's "successful" war? Answer: up to 25 per cent.
Have any US troops retreated from their positions along the Afghan-Pakistan border? None, you may say. And you would be wrong. At least five positions, according to Pakistani sources on the other side of the frontier, only one of which has been admitted by US forces. On 11 December, US troops abandoned their military outpost at Lwara after nightly rocket attacks which destroyed several American military vehicles. Their Afghan allies were driven out only days later and al-Qa'ida fighters then stormed the US compound and burnt it to the ground.
It's a sign of just how seriously America's mission in Afghanistan is collapsing that the majestically conservative Wall Street Journal – normally a beacon of imperial and Israeli policy in the Middle East and South-west Asia – has devoted a long and intriguing article to the American retreat, though of course that's not what the paper calls it. [...]
Get Up, Stand Up
Robert Jensen, ZNet, February 3, 2003
Last week at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, I talked with dozens of people from around the world. I learned a lot about the struggles for justice in their countries, but the most important lesson I brought home was about my own country.
The question I thought people at the Forum would ask me is, "Why does the U.S. government follow such brutal policies of economic and military domination around the world?" I thought they would want me to explain the United States to them. But they didn't -- because, I came to realize, they already knew the answer to the question.
The question that people in Porto Alegre did ask me was simple: What are people of conscience in the United States -- what am I -- doing to stop the U.S. government, especially in its mad drive to war in Iraq?
Those of us organizing in the United States are in a strange situation. Our task is to work to educate the people of our own privileged and affluent culture about what the rest of the world already knows: The United States is an empire,
and -- as has been the case throughout history -- empires are a threat to peace and life and justice in the world. There is no such thing as a benevolent empire. ....
.... There is much work to be done on many fronts.
One thing we can all do is come out on Saturday, Feb. 15, --when people in New York City, Austin and around the world will rally to oppose the U.S. drive to war.
Information is available at http://www.unitedforpeace.org/