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COLUMN SIXTY-SIX, DECEMBER 1, 2001
(Copyright 2001 Al Aronowitz)

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HUH?

Subject: Against Terrorism, Against War
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 10:49:29 -0400
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From John Case

I am highly sympathetic to this commentary by Katha Pollitt, especially for its open appreciation of the ambiguities emerging from post-Sept 11 politics; for its forthright effort to distinguish this new and complex situation from Vietnam; for confronting directly the challenge of  "... a war can be "just" in the sense that it is a response to aggression...and also be the wrong way to solve a problem."

There are indeed "mad dogs" ready to brand discussion of these complexities as "5th columnists," in a kind of right-wing version of a 60's throwback.  But at the same time there are many Americans, I think most, who are fully open to exploring these challenges. I observe signs of this openness pervasive among co-workers, among neighbors, in well-attended public gatherings sponsored to bring more information about Islam, even in the tone of discussion within the Administration, in many remarks of Bush himself, as well as the commentaries of leading voices in Europe and Asia acting as full or part-time partners in the anti-terrorist coalition.  Even associates I had frankly discounted as blockheads, hooked on daily fixes of right-wing talk shows, are compelled to acknowledge the necessity of some measure of internationalism in defeating the terrorist threat.

Literature circulated in support of International Criminal Court ratification are gaining easy support and strong interest. Even those fully capable of knee-jerk "nuke 'em" responses in Afghanistan show awareness that the collapse of fragile Pakistani, not to mention Russian, support will doom the whole effort. Folks who fully bought into the rationale for the Gulf war now observe that military actions not accompanied by political solutions solve nothing.

I also appreciate Ms. Pollitt's observation, "If not war, what? Realistically, some of the [Left] alternatives that have been proposed would also involve military action...." If we are ever going to arrive at an international situation where an International Criminal Court can bring both bin Laden and Ariel Sharon to justice, military force supplied and funded substantially by the United States, Europe, Russia and China will be required. US soldiers, among others, will sacrifice their lives in this effort, and the people of the United States, including progressives, will have to be won to bear that cost.

Great are the dangers of this historical moment. But great are the opportunities. It is a time, perhaps, in modern parlance, to embrace complexity; or, in Lenin's---shun eclecticism, and immerse oneself in the all-sided connections of this defining historical moment.  ##

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