I'm sending you some thoughts interspersed with your paragraphs. Hope you read them. Thanx.
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 23:11:28 -0500
Elisabeth: Um, I think it's good that the U.S. got rid of the Taliban in Aghanistan; they were not a nice group of people.
Mitchel: And if some other country — China for instance — thinks the same of Bush, should they bomb the hell out of Washington DC until the US coughed up Bush (regardless of what you or I think of him)? Please THINK: There are now more than 3,700 civilians who have been killed in Afghanistan by the US bombardment. The new motto of the US government may as well be: "If you've got the collateral, we'll supply the damage (and keep your collateral anyway)."
Elisabeth: and i think the u.s. should be more, not less involved in foreign affairs, for example in Sudan where hundreds of thousands of pagan and christian black africans have been enslaved by african and arab muslims. Islamic fundamentalists were running aghanistan as well as other countries.
Mitchel: Fanatics have been coming to power in response to the ripping up of the social fabric by the imposed structural adjustment programs of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the Debt service payments (CANCEL THE DEBT and watch the fundamentalist fade away!), and so forth — all backed to the hilt by the US and its armed forces.
Elisabeth: If you were a jew living in a concentration camp in nazi germany, you would want the u.s. to be the global policeman and come save you, like they eventually did.
Mitchel: Wrong on several counts. First, it was the Russians that first entered the concentration camps and saved the Jews (and homosexuals, and communists, and gypsies imprisoned there). Second, I AM Jewish, and I grew up with the parents of friends and relatives who were in concentration camps. It's one thing to liberate a prison and another thing to bomb the hell out of the civilian population, no? None of them would have supported bombing civilians. They all opposed the Vietnam War, including my dad who was a corporal in the Marine Corps in WW2, who fought in the South Pacific, and who won the Navy-Marine Corps medal for heroism. Wow, did he rage rage rage against the US war machine.
With regard to WW2, so much of that could have been avoided had the US supported massive International Brigades in Spain to fight the fascists, for instance, or taken other measures against them. Einstein appealed, begged, pleaded with Roosevelt to bomb the tracks to Auschwitz, but that didn't meet with the exigencies of US policy. Too many US companies were invested in Nazi Germany, and actually supporting the Nazis. DuPont tried to hire ex-Marine Corps General Smedley Butler to stage a coup against Roosevelt. Butler, a REAL American hero, turned them in to Congress, but they got off scot free. And let's not forget who was the only nation in the world to actually USE atomic weapons — how many civilians were killed in Hiroshima? In Nagasaki? 150,000? Totally immoral, and unnecessary to boot — except to put Russia on
notice, which is what those bombings were really about. See Howard Zinn's great book: "A People's History of the United States" please.
Elisabeth: i think the same respect should be given to slaves and abused people everywhere.
Mitchel: Yes, we should help provide them with the means to freeing themselves/ourselves, and inhibiting the ability of the slavemasters to act.
Elisabeth: don't paint the islamic fundamentalists as nice, "oppressed people" just because they're not white. they're assholes. and they believe in primitive things, like slavery and killing scientests and writers and artists and oppressing women.
Mitchel: What about Christian fundamentalists, do you feel the same? How about Jewish fundamentalists, say (now running the government of Israel)? If you only apply your wrath towards Islamic fundamentalist, that is indeed racist. All religious fundamentalisms are equal opportunity destroyers.
Elisabeth: maybe if some of these third-world, including arab countries promoted birth control, not so many of their people would be starving.
Mitchel: Maybe if people were allowed to own and control their own natural resources, land, agriculture and products of their labor without having it ripped off by multinational corporations and shipped abroad — luxury export crops, oil, diamonds, gold (for several examples) — and didn't see their environments being totally destroyed (along with their health) because they are used as dumping grounds for every toxic waste and incinerator imaginable by more powerful countries that could impose their will on them, then they might not only be THRIVING, not starving, but we'd also be living in world peace. But the giant corporations are making too much money from such exploitation to ever give it up without a huge fight.
Elisabeth: Terrorists in the u.s. are completely fringe. terrorists in third world countries are able to buy the entire country and run it, as was the case in aghanistan.
Mitchel: Those "terrorists" in Afghanistan that ran the country came to power because the CIA put them there, paid for them, bought them weapons, killed the trade union leaders and women's leaders that opposed them, and cared nothing for the people living there. It was the US government that installed the "terrorists" in the first place — Saddam Hussein was installed by the CIA, Noriega (Panama), Mobutu (Zaire/Congo), Suharto (Indonesia), Taliban (Afghanistan) — all (and a lot more) put in power by the United States.
If you want actual citations from mainstream newspapers about all of this, I'll be glad to supply them. Same with quotes from US political leaders. Remember two quotes, please:
"To give food aid to a country just because they are starving is a pretty weak reason." – Henry Kissinger
When asked about the sanctions against Iraq that have caused more than 500,000 additional deaths, Madeleine Allbright (former Secr. of State) said "the price is worth it."
So, if you write back, tell me something about yourself. Are you a student? Where? What do you think of the 1,700 people who have been rounded up by the federal government so far, without any charges filed against them? — All Arab people, or Arab-looking people. Do you think that's the way things should work? Just keep in mind, please, the police departments of Portland, and of Detroit, are refusing to go along with the FBI in questioning people who have not been accused of any crime. THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS THERE are calling it "racial profiling."
The threat to our civil liberties, to what is left of democracy, is far greater than anything some "terrorists" can do to us. And wouldn't be ironic if we end up becoming just like the Taliban, in order to preserve "our way of life"? Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would trade essential liberty for more security deserve neither."
Feel free to write back.
– Mitchel Cohen