It seems our new system for mailing to Update recipients works. If you
want off it, you can remove yourself at the ZNet top page. You can also
add addresses there. 

For those who have heard scattered reports and are understandably
worried -- yes, Robert Fisk was attacked by a mob in Afghanistan and
badly beaten. It was interrupted, however, and apparently he is in no
danger now.

Indeed, our recent updates on the site include a piece from Robert Fisk
on Omar, plus Patrick Cockburn on Dustum, a report on an anti-war vote
at Hampshire College, reports on legal repression and on poverty, and a
number of essays on the mideast including from Alexander Cockburn, Ali
Abunimah, Suzanne Goldenberg, and Robert Fisk.

We also have new updates of various subsites, in particular, labor watch
-- plus regular additions by our users to the interactive areas --
lyrics, pen pals (which is redesigned), quotes, articles, poetry, and so

And, for today, here is an essay from ZNet commentator and frequent
online volunteer, Justin Podur.


Can anything stop the US killing spree?
Justin Podur
December 8, 2001

It seems that defeat, destruction, surrender of the enemy isn't enough
to stop the killing. Is there anything that can? The slogan of the
antiwar movement was 'Justice, not Revenge'. But things have gone well
beyond revenge. Should we change the slogan to 'Revenge, not
indiscriminate and endless slaughter'?

When the Taliban said: 'give us evidence, and we'll turn bin Laden
over', the US said: 'no negotiations.' When the Taliban said: 'you're
killing civilians', the US said: 'stop using human shields' (translated:
we don't care about civilians). Today the Taliban said: 'we surrender',
and the US said: 'No amnesty for Mullah Omar.' 

Just for our own clarity, let's remember what Mullah Omar is accused of.
It's not misogyny and intolerant fanaticism (although, if it was, would
it be fair to accuse Omar of it and not the house of Saud? The house of
Bush?) It is harbouring a terrorist. "There are those among the Taliban
leaders who definitely have blood on their hands and it is expected that
they would be brought to justice", were the words of the US spokesman at

So we bring justice to those who have blood on their hands, now? That's
the business we're in? What is the quantum of blood required to bring
'justice' down on someone? Or, maybe the question is, whose blood is
required, since Afghan blood apparently doesn't elicit any such concern
for justice? 

And what are the principles of this 'justice' that the US is going to

Some that come to mind include: if the crime is bad enough, summary
execution of all suspects and anyone associated with them and anyone in
the vicinity is ok, including family members (Taliban, bin Laden's wife
and children); massacres are ok (at Mazar-e-Sharif and elsewhere); one
day of bombing in the US by international terrorists from Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, and other countries can be repaid by two months of bombing in
Afghanistan, thousands of murders by individuals can be repaid by
thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of murders of

What is this game they're playing over Mullah Omar? Why did they
suddenly decide they want him killed as well? Is it really because he's
friends with bin Laden or does it, like the bombing of Afghanis, really
have nothing to do with him? 

The US is demanding Mullah Omar's head not because they want his head,
but because they want to show the new Afghan government who is in
charge. To put it as 'Dawn', the Pakistani English-language daily put
it: 'The very first decision taken by the head of the newly-appointed
Afghan interim government, Hamid Karzai, to grant general amnesty has
been vetoed by the US-led coalition.' Karzai had to be told that he
doesn't have the power to make decisions.

Not that he needed the US to tell him that. The warlords are already
walking away from the Bonn 'agreement', with General Dostum (General
Dostum who captured Mazar-e-Sharif, where the massacres occurred shortly
afterwards, General Dostum who was a key figure in the devastation of
Kabul and the deaths of 50,000 there between 1992-1996) boycotting the

The warlords have made the aid effort that is required to prevent the
deaths of millions of people in Afghanistan impossible. Aid agencies
have asked for an international force to secure the supply routes.
Without secure supply routes from Afghanistan's neighbours, millions of
Afghanis will not get the aid they need to survive. At the risk of
sounding repetitive, this means that millions of people could die.

The most critical need then is for secure supply routes and humanitarian
aid. After that, a reconciliation process, maybe an election with
reliable international observers, repair of the damage that was done.

And the US continues to bomb. 

The latest is that they 'feel confident that they will catch Omar soon.
They doubt he'll be taken alive.' It seems there's a new legal category
for enemies in this war. If they were enemies in any other war, they
would be subject to the Geneva convention on treatment of POWs which,
for example, the Nazis were subject to in WWII. If they were criminals,
summary execution in the field would not be allowed either. But somehow
if they're enemies in the war on terror, no atrocity is too wrong to be
committed against them or anyone in the vicinity. 

Why does the US keep on raising the bar so that they can keep on
killing? Perhaps killing is now an end in itself? There are actually two
reasons. First, elites do it because they can. Second, they do it to
prove that they can. They want to prove that there is no deterrent to
their ability to slaughter anyone they want if it's in their interests.
No moral deterrent, no military deterrent, no political deterrent. The
only question is, who in the world doesn't understand this? 

The people of the poor countries understand this, and always have.
They've been the ones to get slaughtered over the decades, after all.
The elites of the poor countries understand this too. That's why they're
so obedient. Terrorists, by definition, understand this--their moral
calculus allows for deaths of innocent people in pursuit of their goals.
Do we understand it? 

Madeleine Albright in 1996 said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi
children was a high price, but worth it. Most people think of that as a
rare moment of honesty. In fact, it wasn't. Honesty would have been to
say: 'Actually, dead children are no price at all to us, unless they
have the effect of making our population less obedient.' Neither are the
deaths in the twin towers a price for Bush. They are deaths that are
being used to serve the cause of further deaths. And elites are not
going to stop at millions in Afghanistan, over a million in Iraq, tens
of thousands in Sudan--they are going to keep on killing until we can
prove them wrong, until we can raise the political deterrent of a
disobedient population. 

Michael Albert
Z Magazine / ZNet

This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for 
subscription options.

Reply via email to