Selective morality

After more than several months of military attacks, the public remains overwhelmingly supportive of the war effort in Afghanistan and is ready and willing to expand the war on terrorism to other countries that are harboring terrorists. Recent polls indicate that over 73% of the nation supports Bush and company in their “war against terrorism.” It's like asking a blind man if he likes the color of your shirt. Asking people whether they favor bombing is the same type of question.

The Pentagon is conducting coverage of the war, so as to preclude any kind of independent reporting. So response in these polls doesn't reflect an actual awareness—noone knows what?s going on. Not to mention the government continues to use the flag to shrink wrap people's minds and suffocate real thought. Is it not the rich who contribute to patriotism? As Eugene Debs once said in a famous speech:

“The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose ? especially their lives.”

So whenever I hear the government says “we are winning the war” or “we have won the war.” I ask who is we? Who is winning and who has won? What have the people ever gained from war? Is it not the government's who win and the people who always end up losing. Was there ever a winner in the Iran-Iraq war? (which may I add was fought for the agenda of the west) Did we Iranians not learn any lesson from that war? The only thing we gained was more funerals and graves. War is a costly institution; do you want to invest your child?

Furthermore, bombing of Afghanistan was not revenge for 9/11, but rather another act of terror against the people of the world. The United States also helped “PUT” in a representative government in Afghanistan. I ask myself, how does one “put” in a representative government. That has to be the most stupefying notion a person can accept. The only interests that will be represented are the interests of the international oil companies and their future pipeline projects.

Bush's “war” is another aspect of multifaceted demon of “selective morality”. We have terrorists present in our own country, performing acts of terror against underdeveloped, third world countries, who go unpunished. So my advice is for us as Americans to be very cautious in whom we deem our “enemies.” For one country's terrorist is too often another country's freedom fighter. Nelson Mandela was a terrorist to Apartheid South Africa, but he was a freedom fighter for his people.

In Afghanistan as well as America, civilians are now hostage to the actions of their own government. The Patriot Bill has given the government power to invade people's privacy and imprison them without meaningful due process and punish dissent. None of the recent measures are getting us closer to finding the callous perpetrators of the heinous attacks of 9/11.

The United States does not have a humanitarian aim in this situation. U.S. foreign policy has never been guided by such concerns, but by political power and economic interests. Thus, my proposition is hindering the United States ability to intervene in the affair of other nations. The bombings in Kosovo in 1999 should teach us that when the United States intervenes abroad it is only creating a more violent and unstable world.

We cannot pretend that the answer to terrorism is simply a matter of military or law enforcement measures. We live in a world organized so that the greatest benefits go to a small fraction of the world's population while the vast majority experiences injustice, poverty, and often, hopelessness. Only by eliminating the political, social and economic conditions that lead people to these small extremist groups can we be truly secure.

So let our enthusiasm not directed towards war aims, but towards building a more stable and safer environment for our children, who will inherit the world after we have perished. I always wonder why there's never any money for education, but always one for war? So I beg and plea, Money for education, Not for war.

So next time you decide to rally behind the government in their war efforts examine their language:

— We cannot confirm the report…

— Civilian casualties are inevitable…

— We don't know if they were our weapons…

— It was an accident…

— Incorrect coordinates had been entered…

— They are deliberately putting civilians in our bombing targets…

— The village was a legitimate military target…

— It just didn't happen…

— We regret any loss of civilian life…

With such rhetoric my convictions tell me, that “Operation Anaconda” will soon acquire the title “Operation Collateral Damage.” I also wonder if it would make it ok if Bin Laden and company employed such rhetoric. Would we excuse them? Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, terror is terror. Historian Howard Zinn best defined a terrorist by saying, “a terrorist is a person with a bomb but without an Air Force.” So you see terrorism has two names, world-wide. One is Bin Laden. The other is Bush. I will end with a quote by Thomas Carlye, which wraps up war in a nutshell:

“War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle: therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.”

Author

Lawrence Reza Ershaghi, B.A. Political Science, University of California, Irvine.

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