Socialist Worker

An alternative to warmongers

Issue No. 1772

THE DEAD bodies are mounting in Afghanistan, but this horror has almost become routine in Bush and Blair's war. The civilians slaughtered by US bombs do not make headline news in most of the media. The warmongers dismiss it with the announcement days later of a 'stray' bomb.

The warmongers, and their backers in the media, respond to every voice raised against the war by claiming there is 'no other choice'. But whatever motivates Osama Bin Laden's al-Quaida group, it can only draw support because of the misery and suffering inflicted by US imperialism on the Middle East.

The Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy detailed the list of US wars and bombings across the world over the last 50 years in the Guardian this week. Tony Benn read out a similar list on Question Time last week. Bush and Blair, and their pro-war backers, say that al-Quaida are crazy psychopaths.

These are the same people who for years used exactly the same language about the IRA. Now there is the prospect of a peace settlement in Northern Ireland. This could only come about because the British government was forced to make at least some concessions to the justifiable grievances of Catholics in Northern Ireland.

The terrorism of al-Quaida is much worse than anything we saw from the IRA. But there needs to be a political solution other than US bombs and troops. There are three running sores in the region-the West's sanctions on Iraq, how the Palestinians are denied justice while the US backs Israel, and the US bases in Saudi Arabia.

But far from delivering on these issues, Bush and Blair are prosecuting a war which is creating even more of the anger which lay behind the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

We have to build a movement that demands an end to the war and an end to US imperialist intervention in the region.

Scapegoating victims of war

THERE WAS universal outrage when border guards in Pakistan opened fire on hundreds of refugees fleeing the US air strikes in Afghanistan earlier this week.

But the policies of Britain and other Western governments are creating similar horror for refugees fleeing repression and poverty. More than 350 refugees drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Indonesia this week.

The refugees were mostly from Iraq, another part of the world which has suffered US and British bombing. Others were Afghani, Palestinian and Iranian. Many of the boats from Indonesia head for Australia. Alongside Britain the Australian Liberal (Tory) government is standing 'shoulder to shoulder' with Bush, but has cracked down on any refugees who try to get to its shores.

British home secretary David Blunkett has toughened rules against refugees coming to Britain. The 'humanitarian' cover for the war does not stretch to welcoming the victims of war, poverty or persecution onto the West's shores.

Anthrax scare

THE SCARES over anthrax were heightened this week after two postal workers in the US died after coming into fatal contact with its spores. No one knows who is behind the anthrax scare.

Right wing militia groups in the US, for example, have used biological weapons including anthrax and botulism in their 'patriotic' war. The FBI admits the current anthrax scares don't automatically trace back to the Middle East: 'Our own militia may also have a hand in some or all of the incidents.'

But what is true is that the longer the war against Afghanistan goes on, the more likely it is there will be more scares. As Arundhati Roy put it, 'Far from stamping it out, igniting this kind of rage is what creates terrorism.'



Assemble 12 noon Hyde Park, London

Called by the Stop the War Coalition Phone 07951 235 915

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Sat 27 Oct 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1772
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.