Obviously, at crisis times, ZNet gets very busy. There is much new
material daily...such as pieces reacting to Bush's speech, events in the
Mideast, and so on. I do hope you will visit regularly and help us get
the information out widely. 

Today I want to make special note of two pieces in particular that we
hope will assist activists working on the war against terrorism and the
potential war on Iraq. The first is an interview with Noam Chomsky on
the situation in Iraq and related matters. 


The second is a set of 45 questions and answers prepared by Stephen
Shalom and myself. It tries to present and answer the kinds of questions
average folks (as well as critics of our anti-war work) have for
anti-war activists. It includes parts dealing with intervention in
general, with 9/11 and Afghanistan, and with Iraq. 

The whole essay is at http://www.zmag.org/45qairaq.htm

As inducement to visit the site and see the presentation, here are the
questions we address...in the three parts, and a url for each part

A. Intervention in General /

1. Do anti-war critics automatically and reflexively reject any U.S. use
of force?

2. Are you saying it's impossible that United States officials could
ever act in the world out of decent motives?

3. Where rightwing supporters of U.S. intervention claim that the United
States seeks nothing but justice and humanitarianism in the world, left
supporters of intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Kosovo acknowledge
the ugly motives of U.S. policymakers. But, they ask, isn't it possible
that people or countries with bad motives might take actions that will
have good results, and should we support such actions?

4. Rather than saying that past U.S. crimes with respect to Iraq (or
anywhere else) make U.S. action in Iraq hypocritical and inappropriate,
couldn't we say that these U.S. crimes give the U.S. a special
obligation to take action?

5. Aren't anti-war people being hypocritical in condemning the U.S. for
acting outside the strictures of the UN while at the same time
condemning the 1991 Gulf War (which had Security Council authorization)
or an Iraq war, even if the Security Council should come to back it?

6. How can anti-war critics seriously equate the intentional slaughter
of innocents (whether in the World Trade Center or in a Tel Aviv bus)
with the unintentional and regretted killing of civilians by U.S. forces
in Afghanistan or by Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories? Surely,
U.S. officials don't seek out Afghan wedding ceremonies to bomb, nor do
they cheer upon learning of such tragic errors.

7. Are you setting a standard for a just war that could never be met,
that would make any war impermissible?

8. Don't extreme circumstances -- such as the need to stop genocide, as
in Kosovo in 1999 -- require that we drop our objections to U.S.

9. Adam Shatz quotes Don Guttenplan saying that for a small but vocal
section of American radicals, "there is only one imperialism, and if it
isn't American it's not imperialism." Is this your view?

10. Is the “war on terrorism” a just undertaking -- a just war,
warranting just interventions? 


Part B.     9-11 and Afghanistan One Year Later /

1. Do and did anti-war critics care about the tragedy of 9-11?

2. Do anti-war critics care about the safety of the American people,
beyond the level of rhetoric?

3. Do U.S. crimes justify attacks on U.S. civilians?

4. Do you believe that al Qaeda is seeking legitimate goals through
improper means?

5. Did 9-11 show that the left was wrong about terrorism?

6. "Which was the court where these guys could be summoned?" asks Todd
Gitlin. "Were subpoenas to be dropped at the mouths of the caves of Tora

7. Anti-war critics called for the 9-11 attacks to be treated as a
police matter. But don't the same anti-war critics want to disband the
CIA, etc., which would have been the ones who would have handled a
police matter?

8. That the usual rightwing fanatics supported the war in Afghanistan is
not surprising. But should the fact that the war's supporters included
people who have been prominent and committed opponents of U.S.
interventions abroad -- such as Richard Falk -- cause us to rethink our

9. Weren't the anti-war people dead wrong, if not disingenuous,
regarding the danger of starvation in Afghanistan during the U.S. war
10. Michael Bérubé has written that the anti-war left argued, "to their
shame, that the U.S. military response was even more morally odious than
the hijackers' deliberate slaughter of civilians." Is he right?

11. Didn't the defeat of the Taliban mean that food could be delivered
to Afghanistan and hence didn't the U.S. war improve rather than harm
the humanitarian situation in the country?

12. Christopher Hitchens claimed that calls to suspend the bombing in
Afghanistan originated from rightwing Pakistani sources. Were anti-war
critics who supported the call dupes?

13. Michael Bérubé has also written that the anti-war left cannot admit
that, on balance, the routing of the Taliban might have struck a blow,
however ambiguous and poorly executed, for human freedom. Is that

14. Given the enthusiasm of the Afghan people for the defeat of the
Taliban, can't the U.S. war be considered a humanitarian war of
liberation? Similarly, is Nicholas Kristof correct when he asserts (NYT,
2/1/02, p. A25) that "our invasion of Afghanistan may end up saving one
million lives over the next decade," because vaccinations -- against
measles, for example -- are now possible?

15. Didn't the U.S. in fact get Security Council endorsement for its war
in Afghanistan?

16. If the war in Afghanistan was not a very effective means of dealing
with the problem of terrorism, why did the United States government go
to war?

17. What is the significance of oil pipelines through Afghanistan?

C. Iraq /

1. Are U.S. leaders correct in their characterization of Saddam Hussein
as a monster?

2. Are U.S. leaders correct in their characterization of Saddam Hussein
as a threat to world peace and security?
3. What are the connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein?
4. Does Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction?
5. Is it true that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran and
against his own people? 
6. How would you deal with Iraq's WMD?
7. Is Hussein's announcement that he would allow in inspectors without
condition to be taken at face value? 
8. Can't Hussein fool the inspectors?
9. Can Saddam Hussein be deterred?
10. Bush claims he does not need specific Security Council authorization
to legally attack Iraq. Is this claim true?
11. Has Iraq violated many Security Council resolutions? 
12. What are the likely consequences of a U.S. attack on Iraq? On the
people of Iraq? On the prospects for democracy in the Middle East?

13. Are the claims about civilian deaths in Iraq due to the sanctions
exaggerated? And isn't Saddam Hussein responsible for the humanitarian
crisis by his diverting of money to his weapons programs?
14. Aren't the sanctions essential to prevent Iraq from developing
weapons of mass destruction?
15. Christopher Hitchens says: ''you can't subject the Iraqi people to
the cruelty of sanctions for so long while leaving the despot in
place.'' Is this an argument for "regime change" and war?
16. Who authorized the U.S. and British air forces to patrol the no-fly
zones over Iraq? 
17. Do the American people support a war against Iraq? 
18. Why does the U.S. government want to go to war against Iraq?

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

Reply via email to