Chomsky on 9-11
Q: After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going to be. Are you afraid, too?
Chomsky: Every sane person should be afraid of the likely reaction — the one that has already been announced, the one that probably answers Bin Laden’s prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the cycle of violence, in the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater scale.
The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than that. The significance is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned in passing, with no comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can learn a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of the West by observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It would be instructive to seek historical precedents.
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I am almost positive that we will send in troops- Bush can’t respond like Clinton did. That is not going to cut it. US soldiers will die.
This Guardian UK article interviews Tom Carew, a British SAS soldier who fought alongside the Afghans against the Soviets in the late ’70s. This is important to read so we understand exactly how difficult an assault on bin Laden’s organization will be. Let’s not kid ourselves when we say that Afghanistan may likely be one of the most deadly places for Americans to fight a war in.
…they have it all organised, moving from one village to the next, where they have bases stocked with food. This is how they have fought and won wars for the past 200 years, with little bases all over the place and holes in the ground where everything is buried. This allows them to carry as little as possible and to cover ground much faster than a western force could. We didn’t use tents. We lived in caves or slept rough. There were guys in the army just carrying a weapon, three magazines and some naan bread, wrapped in a shawl on their back. There is no way a western soldier could carry heavy equipment and keep up with them.
Because of the doctrine that it’s a great honour to die in a holy war, they were fearless and took risks that western soldiers perhaps would not. This is not the point of a military exercise, which is to defeat the enemy and live to fight another day. If you are reckless with your life, you risk depleting the army before it has won. But it was almost impossible to raise this issue with them; it would have invited a lot of trouble.
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Excellent Feb 1999 Esquire interview with bin Laden.
“We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwa.” Bin Laden argued that American outrage at attacks on American civilians constitutes a great double standard. Bin Laden believes that what we consider to be terrorism is just the amount of violence required to get the attention of the American people. His aim is to get Americans to consider whether continued support of Israel is worth the bloodshed he promises.
“So we tell the Americans as people,” bin Laden said softly, “and we tell the mothers of soldiers and American mothers in general that if they value their lives and the lives of their children, to find a nationalistic government that will look after their interests and not the interests of the Jews. The continuation of tyranny will bring the fight to America, as Ramzi Yousef and others did. This is my message to the American people: to look for a serious government that looks out for their interests and does not attack others, their lands, or their honor. And my word to American journalists is not to ask why we did that but ask what their government has done that forced us to defend ourselves.”
His last words to the camera were, “It is our duty to lead people to the light.”
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NYTimes article on Japan changing it’s international stance wrt the 9/11 terrorist attack. Let’s hope Koizumi can hold the nation together.
Mr. Koizumi’s decision came amid strongly mounting pressure from both inside Japan and abroad to avoid the embarrassment that the country suffered in the Persian Gulf war, in which all the Unites States’ major allies except Japan took part directly in one form or another. Japan, instead, provided as much as $13 billion in financial help.
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Great interview with Jason Elliot, a British journalist who has traveled to Afghanistan multiple times for extended periods.
Despite not being fond of bin Laden, Afghans don’t take well to being invaded, as both the British and the Soviets learned to their chagrin. These are people with nothing left to lose. It would be the ultimate humiliation. And it would not be lost on Muslims around the world, either. This is one of the poorest countries in the world, and it has had to fight off one of the great colonial superpowers, Britain, then one of the modern superpowers, the Soviet Union, only to now be attacked by the last remaining superpower. And the irony is that Afghans would be fighting with U.S. taxpayers’ money and with weapons bought with that money.
I can’t think of a more freedom-loving country than Afghanistan. That may sound strange to Americans right now, but these people gave everything they had in the fight with the Soviets. That left their country destroyed. In the absence of any help afterward, the country fell apart and became a haven for terrorist groups. Afghans are deeply disappointed that they didn’t get much help in rebuilding.