Socialist Worker

Retaliation will bring more horror

Issue No. 1767

'SINCE I was 12 all I have known is fighting and more fighting. So once again innocent people will be killed and nobody will care about it.'
Faiz, a 33 year old market trader in Kabul, Afghanistan

GEORGE BUSH is preparing to plunge the world into a horrific, full-scale war of revenge. He is trying to exploit the genuine anguish of ordinary people across the globe for the firefighters, office workers, cleaners and others who were killed in the destruction of the World Trade Centre.

While we were stunned and hoped for peace last week, Bush talked of war. He said killing civilians was the work of 'fanatics and barbarians'. Now he, with the support of Tony Blair and other leaders, is unleashing a war that will claim the lives of more innocent civilians in far greater numbers. The target is Afghanistan-already wrecked by two decades of wars sponsored by the superpowers.

The US State Department and British government say they 'are resigned to civilian casualties'. The US Under-Secretary of State for Defence has promised 'not one-off air strikes' but the 'destruction of states'. They are promising to blow up buildings with people inside-people who will bleed and feel pain just as people did in New York last Tuesday. Only this time the authors of the destruction will not be in the cockpit. They will be directing the deaths from plush offices and luxurious bunkers using the most lethal technology-Cruise missiles and B-2 bombers.

Three million people in Afghanistan are already on the point of starvation. Over four million are in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. People who have already suffered destruction on a scale not witnessed in Europe since the Second World War now face death on a catastrophic scale. The US and British governments dare to talk of civilisation. The 'coalition of the civilised' they are constructing includes the most repressive regimes.

Bush's war will not only bring immense suffering. It will also increase the bitterness and despair that led to such terror attacks. Working people and the poor in many parts of the world will be the victims. The arms manufacturers, who kept open their weapons fair in London all last week, will profit.

Governments and businessmen will try to use the fog of war to ram through assaults on workers as the world economy continues its slide into recession. We must stand up now and oppose this war drive.

That means building a mass anti-war movement in this country in solidarity with people across the globe who expressed a unified yearning for peace last week.

PEOPLE AT a vigil in New York last week expressed sentiments against Bush's drive for war. There have been similar vigils and rallies across the US. Over 1,000 rallied for peace in Portland, Oregon, up to 400 in Washington DC, and 200 students met in Berkeley University, California, and have formed a anti-war coalition. A day of action for peace is planned for this week


Build anti-war movement

THE MEDIA this week tried to claim that everyone in Britain supported George Bush's drive to war. An opinion poll in the Guardian showed that 66 percent of people support taking military strikes against terrorist groups responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

But the poll also showed that less than half of people support an all-out war, and nearly one in three people completely oppose any move to war. This is despite every attempt by the mainstream media to clamp down on any kind of discussion on the real issues.

Only the Guardian, the Independent and the Observer have had any serious argument in them about the opposition to revenge attacks. Disgracefully, BBC director general Greg Dyke apologised for showing a special edition of Question Time last week where the audience and panelists were highly critical of US foreign policy and opposed to US strikes.

There has even been talk of cancelling the forthcoming conferences of all three of the major political parties if war is declared. But many ordinary people are concerned about the drive to war and want to do something to stop it.

Active socialists putting an anti-war argument at work, school or college last week found that there were a substantial minority who understood the horror that revenge attacks would produce.

We are calling on all of our supporters to organise and join anti-war coalitions involving everybody who is opposed to Bush and Blair's war. These coalitions should organise discussion groups, teach-ins and debates in every school, college and workplace. They should support demonstrations and build the widest possible coalition.

We cannot let politicians and the media shut down free speech. There is a huge possibility to show Blair and the media that large numbers of people want to stand up to this war hysteria.


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What We Think
Sat 22 Sep 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1767
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