THREE YEARS on from 11 September 2001, three years after the declaration of George Bush’s “war on terror”—and the television screens are full of the horrors of Beslan.
Bush and Blair proclaimed that war against the “terrorists” and a crackdown on civil liberties would make us all safer. They promised that “pre-emptive” strikes against “rogue states” would bring security.
There followed the assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq.
And there were hundreds of hate-filled speeches which manipulated people’s fears and used them to launch these wars for imperialist power and for oil.
The result is a world that often seems on the verge of flames, a more unsafe world, a more insecure world.
Bush, Blair, Putin and Sharon have all chosen the same policies—with the same disastrous results.
Palestine is torn apart by suffering, its people hemmed in by Israel’s “security wall”.
Iraq is in revolt and chaos. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have perished. Bombs, missile attacks and shootings are commonplace.
At the beginning of this week close to 1,000 US troops had been killed during the conflict.
Discontent—and more—is growing in the US armed forces, as more and more people realise they have been lied to and used for a rich man’s war.
And now we have witnessed the terrible events of the Beslan school siege in Russia.
The Chechen conflict, which Putin “contained” with unimaginable brutality, is threatening to spill out all over Russia.
The predictions of anti-war activists around the world have been proved correct.
Bombing Iraqis, stealing their resources and refusing genuine elections have not brought peace or freedom.
Bush’s “war on terror” serves only to fuel the tensions and injustices that breed terrorism in the first place.
The “war on terror” has also revealed the true face and values of our rulers.
The humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay show us the reality of the rhetoric about “the American way”.
The thuggery of Iyad Allawi’s puppet government in Iraq shows us how much our rulers care about democracy.
“No one has a moral right to tell us to talk to child killers,” said Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Yet he is part of an alliance of the world’s most powerful states which butchers children in Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya.
The “war on terror” is a war of terror.
But the opposition to it has also been steadily rising. Resistance groups in Iraq have become more organised and more effective.
The leaders of the US are split over how to deal with the fact that their project for expanding empire is poised to disintegrate in Iraq.
And the unprecedented global anti-war movement has also become larger, stronger and more confident, as last week’s anti-Bush protests in New York so vividly demonstrate.
The people who demonstrated outside the Republican National Convention were rejecting a future of scapegoating, intolerance and war.
They were insisting that their voices be heard, despite the attempts to intimidate them off the streets.
The global anti-war movement shows the potential to make the world a genuinely safer place. That is why we need to keep up the pressure against the occupation of Iraq, and against the warmongers who launched it.
In Britain the next big focus comes in five weeks time with the demonstration in London on 17 October.
That protest will be the culmination of the four-day European Social Forum (ESF).
It will feature the discussions and debates about how best to put forward an alternative vision to the terrifying world which Bush and Blair see as the desirable future.
Everyone who is horrfied by the bloodshed of the last three years should be at the ESF.
Another world is possible— and more necessary than ever.
Picture caption: 'Over 200 people, mostly young Muslim women, protested outside the French embassy in central London last Saturday against the French government’s ban on school students wearing the hijab.'