EMAIL PAGE EIGHT
COLUMN SIXTY-SEVEN, JANUARY 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
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WRONG OR HALF RIGHT?
Cornell Forum Statement: A Response
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 22:48:03 -0800 (PST)
From: portsideMod firstname.lastname@example.org
To: ps email@example.com
Forum for Justice and Peace Statement
Why is this
being posted now, except to show that those who drafted it were dead wrong on
about half of their assessments?
are in parenthesis below:
Forum for Justice and Peace Official Group Statement: November 25, 2001
* * *
Forum for Justice and Peace, a group of faculty and graduate students, offers
the following statement, dated November 25, 2001, in response to the events of
September 11 and since. For further information on the CFJP, please see our
We oppose war
as a response to the events of September 11.
1. We oppose
the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. It violates basic human rights, and
has brought about and will continue to bring about grievous consequences in
Afghanistan, the United States, and throughout the world.
Taliban and al-Qaeda violated basic human rights. The US helped to overthrow
them an pull together a more representative regime where human Rights might have
1.1 We assert
our support for the prosecution of individuals responsible for the September 11
are not the main point. The organization must be destroyed)
but we insist
on due process and transparency of procedure
can't be completely transparent without giving up your sources to the enemy
who is still active)
international law and through an international body such as the International
Criminal Court, or a special tribunal set up by the U.N.
precedent for this in the ongoing trial of Slobodan Milosevic.)
international law as it stands is unable to deal with international terrorism,
then effective measures against such violence must begin with appropriate
legislation and the building of the necessary international institutions. The
principles of justice and due legal procedure do not stand abrogated because of
the international nature of this case.
1.2 If we
agree that those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks belong to an international
terrorist network, then we cannot ignore the fact that the sine qua non of such
networks is their decentralization. Such networks are global in character and
membership and do not act under the authority of any one state.
the symbiotic relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The network is
decentralized, but many resources, training facilities, funds, leadership were
centralized in Afghanistan)
prior to September 11, only three states recognized the Taliban as the lawful
government of Afghanistan; since that date, two of the three have withdrawn
conclude that the United States bombing of Afghanistan is based on a false
premise: that the Afghani state and people are reducible to the Taliban.
(You can turn
this around to be their false premise: the bombing of the Taliban and al-Qaeda
is reducible to bombing the entire people of Afghanistan)
The death of
innocent Afghanis, many of them women and children, who have nothing to do with
Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda and who may in fact be themselves critical of the
Taliban regime, is thus ethically unacceptable.
on intention and measure taken to restrict harm to noncombatants, which the
authors have just ignored above)
facts, the unremitting bombing of Afghanistan by the U.S., the deaths of
civilians through its admitted use of cluster bombs, and the simultaneous use of
inadequate and dangerous food drops as a propaganda weapon will only serve to
increase anger against the United States,
(Can this be
shown in Afghanistan? Seems people are relatively friendly To the US and quite
hostile to bin Laden's people)
among Muslims, but throughout the world. No degree of media censorship and
number of public relations exercises can mask these facts.
seem to be turning out that way, especially given the latest video footage of
Osama's bragging to his buddies)
of Afghanistan have, without a doubt, suffered tremendously under the Taliban
regime. They have in fact been suffering ever since the proxy war between the
U.S. and Soviet Union was launched on their soil, and through the many years of
civil war since. Women in particular have suffered under the Taliban, and yet it
is ostensibly in their interest, largely, that this war has been justified.
of women, children and men in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban under no
circumstances justifies the sort of vigilante military campaign that the U.S. is
Give me a break. Plus the suffering
of women seems to have eased a bit by most accounts)
deaths are increasing as a direct result of bombing, but owing to the U.S.
demand that Pakistan close its borders with Afghanistan, the keeping back of aid
convoys, and the approach of winter, the number of people at risk of death by
starvation has increased from 3 million to 7.5 million. Prior to the "war on
terrorism? international relief agencies were capable of keeping the
humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan at a level of stasis. Particularly since the
U.S. military action, under orders from the U.S. government, these agencies and
their aid convoys have been kept back from the border from Pakistan into
convoys are flowing now; it was the Taliban that sabotaged the UN Programs, not
only recently, but for years)
inevitable civilian casualties mount, the United States squanders the good will
and sympathy that the world extended in the wake of 9/11, which is so vital to
the international diplomatic cooperation needed to fight terrorism.
2. We find
the curtailment of civil rights and the checks on government guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights in the name of national security unacceptable. We note that the
U.S. has launched a military campaign in the name of freedom and democracy while
undermining these at home. Patriotism, redefined as the unquestioning acceptance
and support of the government's every action, is assuming the status of a
denounce the "USA PATRIOT Act of 2001? H.R. 3162 and all similar attempts to
limit our democratic freedoms. A democracy rests on checks and balances, such as
the Bill of Rights, which are built into the system. These ensure that the state
will not overstep its bounds and become authoritarian or totalitarian. The right
to information regarding the government's actions is crucial in a democratic
state. The right to express dissent from the official or majority position is
the sine qua non of a democratic polity and not a mark of treason or sedition.
extremely concerned by the far-reaching nature of the most recent anti-terrorist
bill (H.R. 3162), and George W. Bush's decree of November 13 instituting secret
military tribunals. Provisions that widen the power of intelligence agencies,
institute detention without charge or trial, and increase surveillance of
ordinary citizens smack of totalitarianism and we oppose them in the name of
(I agree on
defending liberties, but isn't it also true that the government has to make a
determined, escalated effort to uncover and stop terrorist Cells in the U.S.
Should we stop the increased searches and security at airports?)
3. We view
with deep concern the current state of domestic affairs. Two matters need
immediate and sustained attention:
deplore the use of racial profiling, a highly discriminatory and racist
practice. It contravenes all standards of ethical practice, and is clearly a
violation of the Bill of Rights.
3.2 There has
to date been no coordinated, large-scale attempt to provide financial aid to the
families of the workers who died in the World Trade Center.
bizarre. Substantial checks are already being mailed)
while corporations such as Boeing and the major airlines have laid off thousands
of employees, the airline industry and insurance companies have been given
comprehensive financial aid by the federal government, and the corporate sector
in general has been given major tax breaks. It is reprehensible that American
workers should be the ones to suffer in the name of an economic crisis when
corporations are being awarded vast sums of money as bailouts and tax breaks.
cases, yes. But workers lose their jobs when airlines go bankrupt, too)
the following firm and decisive actions to stop the spread of terror:
perpetrators of the September 11th attacks must be brought to justice through
appropriate international diplomatic and legal channels.
supposed to arrest them and with what armed force? Remember, these Guys are
still out there trying to do more harm. It's not like you can sit around and
wait for some body that doesn't yet exist to come into being)
4.1 If the
U.S. has compelling evidence to support the charges against Osama bin Laden, it
should present such to an international body such as the United Nations or the
World Court, or ask for a special tribunal to be set up for this purpose and
present its case there. A request for extradition and trial should follow the
precedents established by Spain's filing regarding Augusto Pinochet, the
prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic, and indeed the Nuremberg trials.
we supposed to wait passively and suffer more attacks while this Machinery is
being oiled up? The subtext is that there is no present danger)
States is not a global vigilante, but rather a member of the world community; as
such it has an obligation to be principled in its actions.
support the creation of a standing International Criminal Court in which
criminals such as those allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks would be
end, the U.S. must immediately ratify the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court. The existence of such a standing court is the only legal and
principled solution to the imperative of bringing to justice international
criminals such as those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
here is with the word "only?)
by this body of a universally agreed-upon definition of terrorism must be a
first step, so as to preclude its ad hoc and opportunistic deployment by
particular states against opposition party members, movements for national
self-determination, and other legitimate dissenters.
Meanwhile, the U.S. must make every attempt to adhere to the rules and covenants
of international law and the treaties to which it is party. We urge that the
U.S. follow the recommendations of such non-partisan groups as Human Rights
Watch and Amnesty International.
counters to terrorism require patience, long-term planning, and
institution-building. Any such program has to be, by definition, international,
and will require the support and cooperation of a majority of states in the
world community. Broad-based legitimacy, achieved through consensual, open, and
transparent processes of diplomacy, is crucial to halting terrorism.
5. In light
of current events, the U.S. government and citizenry must re-examine the
nation's foreign policy, particularly its history in the last half-century of
intervention in the affairs of sovereign states everywhere in the world.
Palestinians have suffered great injustice over
return, Palestinians must accept and diplomatically recognize the state of
Israel, and both states must accept United Nations peacekeeping troops both on
the border, and in an internationalized Jerusalem, indefinitely. Justice demands
an end to imperialism, colonialism, and oppression, and a just peace would do
much to rehabilitate the reputation of the United States in the Middle East.
Afghanistan, the best course of action is that proposed by groups such as the
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA): the
demilitarization of Afghan society by the actual disarming of all warring
factions, and the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force for some years until a
semblance of normalcy returns to the life of ordinary people.
(And just who
is going to disarm all the warring factions? RAWA? As for the UN force, it's
already on the way)
6.1 The U.S.
must not under any circumstances repeat its mistake, in Afghanistan or
elsewhere, of playing the role of king-maker. Orchestrating a coup by throwing
its weight behind any particular faction, be it the Northern Alliance or any
other which does not have the support of the Afghan people, is a prescription
for continued violence and injustice.
(This is what
is already going on, or it begs the question)
Afghan refugees relegated for years to camps across Pakistan and Iran can be
rehabilitated in Afghanistan. Humanitarian organizations and relief agencies can
continue their commendable work, and other non-governmental organizations can be
encouraged to provide free education to all children, as well as vocational
training and further schooling for all young adults.
6.3 It is
imperative that the Afghani people be allowed to rebuild their shattered economy
and society; only then can they begin the crucial work of nation-building that
includes choosing their own representative government, perhaps under the
protection of a U.N. peacekeeping force. There is no alternative to this in
Afghanistan or elsewhere; as a democratic country we cannot deprive other
peoples of the right to govern themselves as they choose.
the United States domestic situation and policies, we urge a rapid, equitable,
and effective response to racism and to the suspension of civil liberties.
liberties have been threatened, but not suspended)
7.1 The U.S.
must immediately stop the use of racial profiling by its various agencies, and
by private actors (e.g. airlines, either of their own accord or at the behest of
other passengers, off-loading or denying boarding privileges to passengers
because they look "Arab? or "Muslim?). There have already been far too
many incidents of hate crimes and harassment directed against U.S. citizens of
Arab or South Asian descent, as well as against persons mistaken for such. A
democratic state has an obligation to protect all its citizens equally, as well
as prevent and punish unlawful behavior. Prosecution and deterrence are already
overdue in relation to 9/11-related hate crimes.
7.2 The U.S.
must immediately repeal the draconian piece of legislation called the USA
PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162). Periods of crisis and how they are dealt with are
precisely what distinguish democratic from totalitarian states. "National
Security? cannot be used as an excuse to deprive citizens of their fundamental
8. The money
diverted from a military campaign could be far more effectively channeled into
concrete action to protect U.S. citizens against such threats.
government should establish protocols for monitoring the release of harmful
agents in densely populated regions and in public buildings.
government must provide equal access to adequate and effective prophylactic,
diagnostic, and healing procedures for citizens affected or threatened by
chemical or biological attacks, without respect to power, privilege, or public
visibility. The cavalier treatment of postal workers, many of them people of
color, has been a disgrace.
must be distributed and administered through reliable health-care professionals
to ensure equality of coverage as well as reduce the chances of over-medication.
Government commitment to ensuring access to medication should exceed its
devotion to maintaining drug corporation profits.
9. In conclusion: We would agree that our proposals for dealing with the current situation are wide-ranging, and in some cases not at all continuous with current and former United States foreign and domestic policy. The point, precisely, is that behind the corpses and the grief following on the attacks of September 11, there lies the possibility of the United States making new and better relations with the world community. We understand our moral and political responsibility as the bringing about of those changes. ##
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