As the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the people of Afghanistan continues and civilian casualties mount, the International Action Center condemns in the strongest terms this latest terror bombing of a civilian population.
From the first hour of the bombing campaign, the International Action Center (IAC) worked with a broad layer of anti-war forces to mobilize an emergency response. Statements by the right-wing Bush administration — of widening the war to other countries; that the war will last for years; that every weapon will be used — make it plain that the movement must continue to mobilize every resource against this imperialist war. Washington is preparing the Pentagon's vast network in the region — bases and floating bases in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean that have been war-ready for years — for strikes against any country it chooses.
It is past U.S. war policies that have created the chaos, poverty and rage throughout this whole region. This anger has now endangered working people right here in the U.S. More of the same U.S. military terror will not create security. War is not the answer.
Ten years of war and sanctions against Iraq that continue to this day have given the U.S. an occupying force in the Gulf Region, including aircraft carriers, bases and 30,000 U.S. troops. The bombing of Yugoslavia anchored a similar occupying force in the Balkans — the largest U.S. base since the Viet Nam war is being built today in Kosovo.
This latest war campaign is a first step in securing a permanent U.S. military presence in Central Asia — completing an new, armed ring of bases stretching from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, and designed to give U.S. companies the upper hand. As of this week, thousands of U.S. troops and equipment have been stationed in Uzbekistan.
As in past wars, the Pentagon claims to bomb only military installations. But those wars always targeted civilian areas and infrastructure, and this time is no different. Using a heavily racist campaign focused on demonizing one person, Osama Bin Laden, Washington's warplanes are dropping bombs on thousands. The results of this campaign will range from outright murders to the dislocation of millions of Afghanis, suffering now from extreme malnutrition after years of drought and war. Afghanistan is a country already reduced to rubble by 20 years of continuous warfare, fed incessantly by U.S.-supplied weaponry.
Air-dropping 37,000 meals per day can't begin to replace the interrupted food relief efforts, which had been feeding up to 5 million people per day. Aid organizations like Doctors Without Borders, GOAL, Concern and Trócaire have issued statements criticizing U.S. actions as crippling the already overburdened food relief efforts: "This situation is in breach of international conventions governing the position of refugees and of civilians in times of warfare," said Trócaire's statement. Doctors Without Borders directly attacked the Pentagon's food-drop publicity stunt, saying the operation "isn't in any way a humanitarian aid operation, but more a military propaganda operation, destined to make international opinion accept the U.S.-led military operation."
Against steady hype and massive propaganda, protests joined by tens of thousands of U.S. citizens proved that the war lacks the unanimous support claimed by the corporate media. Before the bombs fell, 20,000 people in Washington D.C. and San Francisco each, as well as thousands in Los Angeles, rallied on September 29 under the slogan Act Now To Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).
On October 7, the first day of the bombing, 10,000 New Yorkers marched from Union Square some 30 blocks to Times Square, stopping traffic and shouting "U.S. Hands Off Afghanistan!" Five thousand jammed San Francisco's central cable car stop, and over the next 48 hours, thousands more collectively rallied again in New York, Buffalo, Washington, D.C., Boston, Princeton, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Boulder, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Oakland, San Diego; and dozens of other cities, including students from American University, Princeton University, MIT, Harvard, Vassar College, the University of Michigan, Wesleyan University, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State, Mission High School, and others.
It is becoming rapidly clear that workers here can't benefit from supporting the war plans of the Bush administration and the Pentagon, who are trying to organize support for a war that could go on for years. Funds needed here at home for jobs, education, healthcare and social security are being sucked into the vortex of Washington's huge military campaign. The civil liberties of immigrants and activists are being sacrificed on the altar of "homeland security." Racist profiling has become the law of the land.
A wide-ranging bombing spree will not bring security to the people of the U.S., who are still reeling from the after-affects of the horrendous loss of life on September 11. This war can only be seen by the hundreds of millions of oppressed people of the world as an act of aggression, arousing far greater anger and stimulating the broad anti-U.S. protests raging from Palestine to Pakistan to Egypt.
October 27 is the day called by activists to continue this anti-war momentum on an worldwide scale. The International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition — Act Now To Stop War and End Racism — has set this date for internationally coordinated local and regional marches, rallies, and teach-ins against war and racism.
Please see the website for more info on organizing efforts, or sign up to become an organizer in your area.
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