Hello, 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. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2422 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 separately. A. Intervention in General / http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=2446 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. intervention? 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 / http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=2447 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 Bora?" 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 opposition? 9. Weren't the anti-war people dead wrong, if not disingenuous, regarding the danger of starvation in Afghanistan during the U.S. war there? 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 correct? 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 / http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=2448 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.