The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

U.S. War against Afghanistan:
Not in our name

Oct 22, 2001

After two weeks of pounding Afghanistan with bombs, of spraying the country with artillery and heavy machine gun fire, the U.S. declared that it had gained mastery of the skies over Afghanistan. Of course, the main problem for the U.S. government was never the skies, but the people on the ground.

By bombing one of the poorest countries in the world, by destroying what little was left in that country after it had already been put through almost a quarter century of war, the U.S. has turned a vast region against it.

The terrorist attacks in this country on September 11 were a crime. They took the lives of thousands of people. But the destruction and slaughter now being carried out by the U.S. government in Afghanistan is equally a crime – and one of untold greater proportions.

No fancy words or slogans can hide this shameful fact.

Hundreds of millions of people all over the world know it. Just as they know that what the U.S. is doing today in Afghanistan is no different than what the U.S. has done for decades in many other countries.

Unfortunately, in this country, this shameful reality is all too often ignored by most people, since the news media and government officials propagate an unending stream of half truths and outright lies.

The U.S. rulers have used the military to bomb and destroy other poor countries before: Kosovo, Iraq, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. They fueled destructive wars in other countries throughout the Middle East. They overthrew governments that they deemed not suitable, in Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala. The desperate and poor have paid each time.

Now the U.S. rulers are doing it again. And the consequences of this new war are rippling through the Middle East and Central Asia, fueling conflict and unrest.

In the Israeli-occupied territories, the Israeli government fires U.S.-supplied weapons at a poor and desperate Palestinian population that is up in arms. This conflict is now quickly developing from an intifada, or Palestinian uprising, to an out and out war.

In Pakistan, demonstrations and unrest in the street challenge that military dictatorship’s support of the U.S. war in neighboring Afghanistan.

All over a vast expanse of the globe, from Egypt to Indonesia and the Philippines, dictatorial regimes that the U.S. depends on and props up obediently make pronouncements in support of the U.S. war against terrorism. But facing the enraged masses of people in their own countries, even they are forced to dance around the question of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

Only the British government says that it fully supports the war. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. For centuries, the British rulers have carried out similar kinds of wars all over the world for the benefit of their big corporations.

The U.S. rulers have reached the point that they are in a trap of their own making. On the one hand, they feel that they must respond to an attack that for once took place on their own soil. On the other hand, everything they do just makes the situation worse, raises more anger, more people who see no other choice but to fight them to the death.

Of course, if this were just a problem for the U.S. rulers, that would be just too bad. But the population in this country pays the price. Young men are sent off to fight in a foreign land. Many won’t come back. Many more who do return won’t be the same, having been partially destroyed, physically and mentally. And, to the extent that we support those wars, the whole population earns the hatred of hundreds of millions of people.

This is not the only road open to us. We can earn the respect of millions of people in the world by opposing our own government, its wars, and the terrorism it uses against innocent civilians around the world.

Bush and all the rest of them want us to think we have no choice but to support them – no matter what horrible things they do.

It’s not true.