Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/222/9184
9/11 - 11th September 2001:
Military Action No Solution
BUSH AND the US administration are preparing for war. The US Senate unanimously authorised the use of "all necessary and appropriate force". Targets could include not just Osama bin Laden, the US number one suspect for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, but also any country which is accused of organising or 'harbouring' terrorists. Tony Blair has echoed Bush's statements about war.
Working-class people around the world will have been saddened and angered by the thousands of deaths caused by the suicide attacks. Understandably many will support the idea of taking action against the perpetrators. This is especially true in the US, where 84% say they support military retaliation.
However, other polls have shown a more contrary mood and a scepticism about giving Bush and Blair a blank cheque for an open-ended war.
We share the horror felt about the killings and oppose the suicide attacks. But at the same time we oppose the hypocrisy of Bush, Blair and other leaders who condemn terrorism while pursuing policies around the world that create the conditions which breed such actions.
Waging war against Afghanistan, where bin Laden is thought to be living, or any other country, will not end terrorism. On the contrary it will increase tension, instability and turmoil worldwide.
One option being considered, is the launching of cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan. But as the experience of Iraq and Kosovo/Kosova has shown, missiles often miss their targets, killing and maiming innocent civilians.
Thousands of Afghan civilians have already been killed during more than 20 years of civil war. 3.8 million are refugees, the largest group in the world. Inside Afghanistan even before recent events, four million people were on the brink of starvation. Now aid workers have had to withdraw and millions face a desperate situation.
If special 'snatch squads' are sent in to capture bin Laden, as some are proposing, there is no guarantee they would find him and the lives of thousands of US soldiers would also be put at risk.
TEN YEARS after the Gulf War, US and British imperialism continue to bomb Iraq. Sanctions have killed between 500,000 and one million children. Yet Saddam Hussein remains in place. It was not the bombings during the war in Kosovo/Kosova that removed Milosevic, but mass action by ordinary Serbs, including the organised working class.
The US is trying to build a broad coalition to back its actions, moving beyond Nato to involve Arab and Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia. The ruling class in most countries have condemned the suicide attacks and supported in general a 'war against terrorism'. But at the same time many are fearful about the possible consequences.
Involvement by Pakistan, for example, will provoke huge unrest and instability in a country which has nuclear weapons and in a region of the world which is already extremely unstable.
Sharon in Israel, has taken advantage of the situation to launch fresh attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank. This will harden opposition amongst the Palestinians and Arab masses throughout the Middle East.
Global capitalism is responsible for the poverty, repression and conflict which, in the absence of mass parties of the working class and oppressed people, has led some to the blind alley of terrorism.
Military attacks will only intensify the crisis of capitalism internationally and solve none of the problems that working class and oppressed people face around the world. It is only through mass action to end capitalism and replace it with a socialist system, that a real and lasting solution will be found.
In The Socialist 21 September 2001: