The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th killed almost 6,000 people, most of whom were white collar, working class people who died simply because they came to work. In no way do socialists support this act of terrorism.
Immediately after the attack, the Bush administration started beating the drums of war. Today Bush has something like a 90% approval rating. This is astounding - it was only days before when his support was barely half of the American people.
The administration is massing troops in the Middle East and near Afganistan, which is where Osama bin-Laden is believed to be hiding (so far, he's been blamed, even though it doesn't seem like much the administration has much hard evidence). Dozens of warships are awaiting orders in the Persian Gulf, as are B-52s. The Empire is poised to strike back.
In the aftermath of the Septmeber 11th, the media and politicians helped generate a wave of anti-arab hysteria. House of Representative John Cooksey (R-La.) in a radio interview said, "If I see someone come in, and he's got a diaper around his head, that guy needs to be pulled over and checked". He later apologized but said that we can't wage a war on terrorism "if we have to stop every five minutes to make sure we're being politically correct."
The media showed Osama bin-Laden's picture over and over again, even though the government has yet to come up with any conclusive proof that we he was behind it. Guru Roop Kaur Khalsa, a minister of the Guru Nawak Dwara Sikh temple in Phoenix said, "It sets us up." Following the lead from scum like Cooksey and the media, mosques were attacked, individual Muslims and Arabs were assaulted, and Sikhs, who are not Arab or Muslim, were attacked because they "look like" Osama bin-Laden with their beards and turbans.
It is important to understand that anti-arab racism is an inevitable byproduct of the administration's drive to war; it is the oil for the U.S. war machine. Inextricably bound up with this is the crackdown on civil liberties.
the Crackdown on Immigrants and Civil Liberties
Following the attacks, the Immigration and Naturalization Service received greater powers; now they can detain people for 48 hours without charging them! They have already picked up and detained 100 people. Attorney General John Ashcroft has asked for extending even this power, to allow the indefinite detention of foreign "suspects". The F.B.I., of course, will step up its surveillance, and has requested more power to tap people's phones; namely, they want to be able to tap every phone a "suspect" uses.
Who will be the victims of these new rules? Arab and Muslim Americans of course, as well as leftists and opponents of the war. The attacks on our civil liberties and the anti-arab racism are derived from the "War on Terrorism" and they've got to be stopped.
"War on Terrorism"
In a recent speech, Bush declared that the U.S. would no longer tolerate terrorism, states that harbor terrorists, or states that aid and abet terrorists. If this is true, the U.S. will have to bomb itself.
The U.S. trained Osama bin-Laden and the Taliban. Back in the 1980s, under the Reagan administration, the CIA helped arm and train an army of Islamic Fundamentalists called the Mujahadeen to fight an invasion by the USSR. Reagan hailed them as "freedom fighters".
After the Russians left, the U.S. stopped sending aid to Afganistan, leaving the country impoverished and ruined after almost a decade of war. It was merely a pawn in an imperialist chess game. Now the U.S. wants to bomb Afganistan and is aiding anti-Taliban forces in the north. This will only make the miserable existence of many Afganis even worse.
Remember what happened the last time the U.S. decided to punish terrorists? After 2 U.S. embassies were bombed in Africa, Clinton ordered cruise missile attacks on two targets, one a "terrorist training camp" in Afganistan, the other a "chemical weapons factory with connections to Osama bin-Laden" in the Sudan. One of the cruise missiles flew off course and landed in Pakistan; the others landed on target. Of the dozen or so killed in the "terrorist training camp" 3 or 4 were women or children. The "chemical weapons factory with connections to Osama bin-Laden" turned out to be a medicine factory that supplied the country with 1/2 of its pharmaceuticals. Instead of punishing terrorists, the U.S. punished the people of Sudan, many of whom no longer have access to medicine.
The Real Terrorists
The fact is that the U.S. government engages in or sponsors states that engage in terror each and every day.
For example, the state Israel routinely terrorizes, murders, and tortures Palestinians in an attempt to stifle their struggle for justice. Billions of dollars sent each year to Israel has done nothing to stop desperate Palestinians from sacrificing themselves in suicide bombings.
During the Gulf War, the U.S. killed 200,000 Iraqis and imposed sanctions using the U.N. as a fig leaf. To date, over 1.5 million Iraqis have died as a result; 5,000 children die each month. For every month that goes by, Iraq loses as many people as we did in one day. This terrorism has been going on for the last ten years!
The reason the terrorists attacked the U.S. is not because they "hate freedom"; they could've attacked attacked Britain, or France, or they could've attacked a symbol of freedom, like the Statue of Liberty. Instead, they chose the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; symbols of U.S. economic and military power (and certainly the Pentagon doesn't symbolize freedom). And they attacked symbols of U.S. power because the U.S. stomps on so many people around the world, either directly by bombing them, or by sponsoring corrupt and tyrannical governments.
Chickens Come Home to Roost
The American people are paying for the crimes of their government; the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon did not come out of nowhere; they are the bitter fruits of U.S. foreign policy. From the enslavement of Cuba in the 1890s to the wars on Iraq and Serbia in the 1990s, the U.S. has been sowing the seeds of resentment and bitterness for almost a century. THAT, in a nutshell, is the REAL problem.
And that's why asking the U.S. government for justice is like asking Al Capone to clear out a local street gang; the problem is going to be worse than the solution! The U.S. government created these monsters that it is now trying to destroy. If it weren't for U.S. imperialism, Osama bin-Laden would never have been trained; and if it weren't for the crimes U.S. imperialism, terrorists wouldn't have a motive!
the Real Aims of the U.S.
The real aims of the U.S. in this war is to rehabilitate the war machine and the American people of "Viet Nam syndrome" - the unwillingness to march off to die when our rulers order us to. The overwhelming majority of Americans support going to war, and you can bet that this hasn't been lost on the likes of Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration.
The U.S. is using this tragedy as a way to reassert its dominance over the rest of the world; this is why Bush has said "either you are with us or are you with the terrorists." Those who don't bow down before Washington's might will suffer the consequences; if you do not pay the fee, Al Capone will take you out.
If we want a world free of terrorism, free from people who are so opppressed and desperate that they resort to individual terror, we have to get rid of imperialism, hunger, inequality, and oppression. If the U.S. goes to war, it will only exacerbate these conditions, the conditions which led to the tragedy Septmeber 11th, and will cause thousands of innocent Afganis (and Americans, if we send ground troops) to suffer needlessly.
That's why an anti-war movement must be built.
Don't turn tragedy into war! Say NO to racist scapegoating!