Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Letter from the Past (that, unfortunately, applies to the present)

January 5, 2002

Reader's View
The Idaho Statesman
Box 40
Boise, ID 83707


The US attack of Afghanistan is an act of terrorism. The events of the past four months have proven that Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush are alike, in that both are willing to threaten and kill thousands of innocent civilians for a political cause, which you will find, if you check a dictionary, is one of the definitions of a terrorist.

What does it mean when the United States, a country with 278 million people, with an average life expectancy of 77 years and per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $36,200, launches a military attack on Afghanistan, a country of 27 million people with an average life expectancy of 46 years and per capita GDP of $800? The answer is obvious, It's just the latest in a long history of rich and militarily powerful countries beating up on poor, weak countries.

Forty-two pecent of the people of Afghanistan are under the age of fifteen, so any bombing campaign against Afghanistan is primarily an attack on teenagers and children. The Afghan civilian death toll from the US attack, which includes many children, now exceeds the number of Americans killed by terrorists on September 11.

Recently I heard someone calling US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, heroes. What's so heroic about leaving your home and traveling thousands of miles to another country to shed someone else's blood? What's so heroic about dropping bombs on people from 20,000 feet with no regard for individual guilt or innonence, and no due process of law? It's a shame that so many Americans have so little respect for the homes, neighborhoods, and homelands of other people that they are willing to drop bombs on them. The US attack on Afghanistan fits as easily into the definition of terrorism, as the Sept. 11 attack on the US.

Lopsided reports coming from our right-wing news media sound like they originate in the Pentagon. Defense Sec. Rumsfeld expresses regret about the death of a US soldier, but says nothing about the five-year-old daughter of Ramsir, a Tajik mother, who is psychologically damaged after seeing three of her playmates killed by US bombs at a park in Kabul. He expresses regret for Marines killed in a plane crash, but says nothing about the forty fresh civilian graves in Kama Ado, a village destroyed by the bombing campaign. "We mourn each civilian death, " Rumsfeld lied at a Pentagon briefing in December, but the bombing continues. Those who truly regret some misbehavior, change their behavior. Incomplete and dishonest Pentagon and White House reports are a far greater threat to our freedoms than that posed by any terrorist orgainzation.

In Iraq thousands of children have been dying each month for over ten years as a result of the terrorism of US sanctions. In Gaza, Israeli soldiers, funded by US taxpayers, are murdering Palestinian children for sport. Unfortunately our incompetent president has yet to take the first and most important step necessary to prevent future attacks on Americans. If we want to avoid being the target of terrorists in the future, the first thing we much do is quit terrorizing other countries.

"War on Terror!" The phony caption glares at us from TV screens and printed news media so frequently that we might miss the contradiction. Not all terrorism is war, but every war terrorizes one group of people or another. War has been the chief source of terrorism throughout human history. Trying to stop terrorism by going to war is like trying to extinguish a fire by dousing it with gasoline. War promotes terrorism,. War is terrorism.


Leonard Nolt

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"We don't really learn from experience unless we articulate it."

Craig Morton, Meridian, Idaho, July 13, 2008