Lawrence Hagerty's home page

Click here for opinions from prior weeks.

[Note: The following news and opinions primarily came from email sent by our friends. Thank you Sirius and all the others who have forwarded these messages to us. Due to the large volume of email we are receiving, we can only post a sampling here, but we thank everyone for sending stories like this. We read them all and post what we can as time permits.]

Say it loud: no more support until Israel agrees to pull out (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, October 24, 2001)
“Israel does not get the new global message, does not see how little patience its old friends have for Sharon's dangerous hard line. That is partly because the message has still not been delivered by presidential megaphone so that the whole world hears, announcing an end to the double standards of the west's treatment of Palestinians. As the war progresses in Afghanistan, the quid pro quo must come for Palestine. It will not wait: Afghanistan may not be resolved unless Palestine gets justice at the same time.”

Sharon blackmails the West with innocent blood (Bassam Abu-Sharif, Media Monitors Network)
“Sharon's war against the Palestinian people, and the attack of the barbaric occupation forces against unarmed Palestinian people, is the largest blackmail operation to date against the U.S., in order to prevent it from proposing its peace initiative. The Palestinian people have turned into a group of hostages Sharon is using to threaten the United States with. He is killing 5-7 hostages daily from this people, and is threatening to kill more if the U.S. and Britain continue with the West's initiative to establish a Palestinian state in exchange for the security and stability of Israel.”

It’s always about oil
America's pipe dream, (George Monbiot, The Guardian, October 23, 2001)
“The invasion of Afghanistan is certainly a campaign against terrorism, but it may also be a late colonial adventure. British ministers have warned MPs that opposing the war is the moral equivalent of appeasing Hitler, but in some respects our moral choices are closer to those of 1956 than those of 1938. Afghanistan is as indispensable to the regional control and transport of oil in central Asia as Egypt was in the Middle East. . . .Afghanistan has some oil and gas of its own, but not enough to qualify as a major strategic concern. Its northern neighbours, by contrast, contain reserves which could be critical to future global supply. In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked: ‘I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.’ But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan. . . .As the author Ahmed Rashid has documented, in 1995 the [Texas based] US oil company Unocal started negotiating to build oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian sea. The company's scheme required a single administration in Afghanistan, which would guarantee safe passage for its goods. Soon after the Taliban took Kabul in September 1996, the Telegraph reported that "oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's, has been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan". Unocal invited some of the leaders of the Taliban to Houston, where they were royally entertained. The company suggested paying these barbarians 15 cents for every thousand cubic feet of gas it pumped through the land they had conquered. . . .For the first year of Taliban rule, US policy towards the regime appears to have been determined principally by Unocal's interests. In 1997 a US diplomat told Rashid "the Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco [the former US oil consortium in Saudi Arabia] pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that." US policy began to change only when feminists and greens started campaigning against both Unocal's plans and the government's covert backing for Kabul.”

On The Consequences Of Terrorist Acts In The U.S. (By Russian Human Rights Organizations)
“As human rights activists in Russia, we are particularly concerned about the predictable intent to use the new world situation to justify the resolution of the Chechen problem exclusively by force. Our view on the subject remains the same: the only way out of the dead-end situation in Chechnya is a peaceful settlement reached through negotiations. The resolution of complex problems by force can lead only to an escalation of terrorism. . . .This terrorist attack was aimed not only against American cities. A war has been declared against the foundations of contemporary civilization: against the principles of freedom, democracy, and human rights. If the peoples and governments of democratic countries heed irresponsible calls for revenge and retreat from their principles—then we can truly say that the terrorists have won this war.”

American might moves all Nations to War and Peace, Except one (Mohamed Khodr, Media Monitors Network, October 22, 2001)
“How can it be that in our great democracy the political and economic interests of corporations, the military-industrial complex, and Israel become superior and paramount in the corridors of Congress and the White House than the interest of the American people? Despite the denials one hears and reads in our media, the answer is quite simple. American affluence, geographic separation from the world, poor educational system that is geared more to producing non-thinking analytical students than to students of life, a media monopoly in the hands of a few corporations more interested in serving the needs of the "3 Amigos: multi-national corporations, the military-industrial complex, and Israel" than our citizens by ensuring that only the indoctrinating edited self serving information is provided (such information is reflected in the daily superficial conversation in our nation), its reflected in our apathetic separation from our government reflected in our voting patterns or if we vote its usually out of ideology or a superficial understanding of a 30 second commercial, its reflected in our conformity to fit in, to follow the herd, and avoidance of controversies and confrontation; its reflected in our separation from religion and the empowerment of morality, peace, and justice. Thus while we Americans are the most giving of spirit, money, and blood we don't respond to issues unless we are massively and emotionally moved to a cause, a cause usually provided to our minds, eyes, ears, and hearts by the media. . . .Kol Israel radio reported an angry exchange between Sharon and Shimon Peres where Sharon angrily shouted to Peres: ‘Don't worry about America. We control America.’ . . .As an American I am outraged at the doormat, weak, and subservient policies of or government toward Israel.”

Songs banned on corporate radio
In response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks, Clear Channel, the world's largest radio network, has sent out a list of some 150 "lyrically questionable" songs by everyone from the Animals to the Zombies to its radio stations, recommending that the songs not be aired. Some songs are overtly violent in their intent, but the majority simply contain metaphorical language or narrative aspects that connect uncomfortably with the tragedy. Songs that have been banned include:

  • The Beatles "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
  • The Beatles "Ticket To Ride"
  • Elton John "Benny & The Jets"
  • Elton John "Rocket Man"
  • Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven"
  • Louis Armstrong "What A Wonderful World"
  • Peter Paul and Mary "Blowin' in the Wind"
  • Peter Paul and Mary "Leavin' on a Jet Plane"
  • Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday"
  • Simon And Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • Hollies "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
  • Don McLean "American Pie"
  • Buddy Holly and the Crickets "That'll Be the Day"
  • John Lennon "Imagine"
  • Frank Sinatra "New York, New York"
  • Neil Diamond "America"
  • Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"

How Europe Really Sees the U.S.
“Constantly spoon fed on and by Georges -- the equivalent of McDonalds cheeseburgers for the brain -- no wonder so many Americans are so obese and  bumbling of mind as well as body. No wonder nearly all Americans were caught so unawares on 11 September. No wonder nearly all Americans cheer and fly  flags and simplistically talk incessantly about "we good" and "they evil";  themselves collectively killing millions while backing the worst thugs and  dictators...all without even knowing what they have done in the recent past and  that what is happening now is, to a very large extent, a direct result of what has come before.”

The Pillage of Afghan Heritage
“Kabul's rich museum has been completely pillaged, all of its most precious items being either destroyed or stolen. They include extraordinary and beautiful Gandharan sculptures, the product of a unique blending of Eastern and Western culture, the so-called Indo-Hellenic style, which combined both classical Greek and Buddhist influences. . . .Indeed, the destruction of Afghanistan's cultural heritage over the last two decades compares only to the way that Genghis Khan and his Mongol descendants laid waste to much of the country 800 years ago. Even in the midst of the current conflict however, and despite the ban on digging in northern Afghanistan, dealers in antiquities are still plying their trade.”

Collateral Damage
Families blown apart, infants dying (Richard Lloyd Parry in Quetta, The Independent, 25 October 2001)
“Sami Ullah was asleep when it happened, and so his friends and neighbours had to tell him about the bomb that struck his house and what it did to him and his family. How the American planes, which had been over earlier in the evening, had returned after everyone went to bed and how, instead of the Taliban base two miles away, they dropped their bombs on a residential area of the town of Tarin Kot.”

Terror and Tyranny (Seumas Milne, The Guardian, Thursday October 25, 2001)
“Yet for all the square-jawed resolution on display in western capitals about the prosecution of this war, there is little agreement even within the heart of the coalition about what terrorism actually means. Both the EU and the UN are struggling to come up with an acceptable definition. The European Commission has produced a formulation so broad it would include anti-globalisation protesters who smash McDonald's windows; while Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, warned wearily that reaching a consensus would be well-nigh impossible since "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". President Bush has pledged that the war will not cease so long as "anybody is terrorising established governments" and Britain's latest terrorism legislation outlaws support for groups opposing any regime, including an illegal one, with violence.”

Who asked Mr Bush to 'save civilisation'? (The Guardian, October 24, 2001)
“ ‘This conflict is a fight to save the civilised world,’ Mr Bush declared. "This is the urgent task of our time." Another simple Bush definition, that those who support terrorism are just as bad as the terrorists themselves, has been repeated from the very first. In his Oval Office address on the evening of September 11, Mr Bush warned he would ‘make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them’. . . .These assertions rest on assumptions that remain largely untested despite the oceans of ink expended on reporting the ‘war on terrorism’. One big assumption is that Mr Bush is the man best qualified to be the judge of human progress and the guardian of global culture. That is a challenging idea.”

Beware what you read . . . it can keep you from flying
“He proceeded through the security checkpoint and sat down to read near his boarding gate. About 10 minutes had passed when a National Guardsman approached Godfrey. . . .‘He told me to step aside,’ Godfrey says. ‘Then he took my book and asked me why I was reading it.’ . . .Within minutes, Godfrey says, Philadelphia Police officers, Pennsylvania State Troopers and airport security officials joined the National Guardsman. About 10 to 12 people examined the novel for 45 minutes, scratching out notes the entire time. They also questioned Godfrey about the purpose of his trip to Phoenix. . . .[After missing his first flight] He exchanged it [Hayduke Lives! by Edward Abbey] for a seemingly benign novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. . . . ‘This time, they took my Harry Potter book and about four people studied it for 20 minutes,’ Godfrey says. . . . At the appointed time, an escort took Godfrey through security, while at least 15 law enforcement officials looked on. Rather than taking Godfrey directly to his gate, however, he was ushered into a private interrogation room. . . . ‘They patted me down and found nothing,’ Godfrey says. But when he emerged from this room, Burt Zastera, supervisor of airport operations for United, told him he would not be allowed to fly.”

Drugging or Torture of 9-11 Suspects Breaks Constitution, Law, and Treaties (Richard Glen Boire, The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics)
“The Washington Post reported on Sunday that in an effort to extract information from the detainees, FBI and Justice Department investigators are considering ‘using drugs or pressure tactics, such as those employed occasionally by Israeli interrogators, to extract information. Another idea is extraditing the suspects to allied countries where security services sometimes employ threats to family members or resort to torture.’ . . . ‘The use of torture or physical intimidation to force a suspect to reveal information is a clear violation of US and International law,’ says attorney Richard Glen Boire, Executive Director of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees that no person ‘shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,’ and protects all people on US soil, whether citizens or not. Torturing a person in order to extract a confession is inherently coercive and renders any subsequent statements ‘compelled,’ involuntary, unreliable, and wholly unconstitutional.”

The CNN of the Arab World (Tamara Straus, Alternet, October 26, 2001)
“Well, the United States wants to control the flow of information, especially now that there is an Arab station broadcasting live from the front line in Afghanistan. The other thing to remember is that there were no such outlets during the Gulf War. And now, with such outlets, Arab viewers are not just watching what's happening in Afghanistan, but they're watching all kinds of debates, hearing all kinds of views. Al-Jazeera is giving a bigger voice to Arab public opinion. And the U.S. is not used to that. The U.S. has been used to pressuring its allies in the region to stifle dissent and has always disregarded Arab public opinion. But now that there is Al-Jazeera and other TV stations and newspapers in the region, public opinion has become too loud and too inconvenient for them to ignore.”

Dalai Lama criticizes US foreign policy
“ ‘You can eliminate people but you cannot eliminate human thought,’ the Dalai Lama
said at a news conference. ‘The way to defeat terrorism in the long run is through
thought, argument and reasoning. Once you commit violence it is unpredictable and
it causes side effects.’ . . . But the Dalai Lama criticized what he described as the United States' lack of concern for ‘democratic principles’ in its foreign policy. . . . ‘As far as domestic policy is concerned, they think democracy, democracy, democracy,’ he said. ‘But American foreign policy is not much concerned for democratic principles.’ ”

Building A Peace Movement In Wartime (Alan Bock, Antiwar.com)
“I believe it is essential that  critics of the War Party maintain a steady drumbeat of criticism and  sometimes opposition. For starters, Congress hasn’t declared war,  despite all the metaphors and military action, so there’s no justification for wartime repression of speech and criticism. . . .There may be circumstances in which it is more effective to criticize  particular tactics or actions rather than getting to the root of what’s  wrong with American foreign policy in every presentation. We should be  prepared for the likelihood that we will sometimes get little attention  and will sometimes be dismissed as cranks. But we should determine that  we will not relent in our determination to change American foreign  policy over time ­ which means we have to be willing to criticize it at almost every step. . . .In the weeks and months to come we and other Americans will question  everything from the timing of certain attacks to the weapons used to ways to minimize casualties ­ all the way to the broader question of  whether we should be in a war at all. This is healthy in a free country.  A strong America can not only tolerate impertinent questions, it will become stronger as a result.”

Bin Laden’s Modest Goals (Joseph Sobran, LewRockwell.com)
“Notice that unlike most Muslim  radicals, he [Osama bin Laden] doesn’t demand the annihilation of Israel, merely its  withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders. This is by no means an admission of Israel’s right to exist; he would no doubt be delighted if Israel were wiped off the map. But this relatively moderate goal is not what one would expect of him. . . .Notice too that, contrary to our apocalyptic rhetoric, bin Laden has no apparent animus against "freedom" and "democracy." He hasn’t suggested, let alone demanded, that we change our way of life or convert to Islam ­ only that we get out of his part of the world. . . .If, on the other hand, he has abandoned those goals, he may have adopted  a new purpose: to spark a war between the United States and the entire  Muslim world. Some of our Israeli "allies" also crave such a war and are calling for a U.S. overthrow of several governments in the region. But in the event of war, the regimes most likely to topple are those that  have been friendliest to this country ­ just what bin Laden may be counting on. Do we want to risk that? . . .One perennial human folly is the belief that the course of a war can be controlled. Experience thoroughly refutes it. Even victory may carry an unexpected cost: we have finally paid for winning the 1991 war on Iraq.  You may think the war was just, you may even think it was worth the loss  of the World Trade Center and thousands of lives, but you can hardly say  that you foresaw the consequences. We only just got the bill. In no way did America’s war justify bin Laden’s crimes. But that’s the point. When men are enraged, they don’t settle for proportionate justice: they seek measureless revenge. And our cost-benefit experts didn’t budget for revenge.”

Even Conservatives Need the Anti-War Movement (Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.)
“Rather than defend the anti-war position itself, I want to make a different argument. If you believe in freedom at all, you should hope that there are at least some doubters and protesters, regardless of the merit of their case. Even if you think this war is a great and necessary thing to teach the terrorists a lesson in American resolve, the preservation of liberty at home is also an important value. . . .The existence of an opposition movement is evidence that some restraints on government still exist. The government, which is always looking for reasons to increase its power, needs to know that there will always be an opposition. . . .The view that wartime requires complete unanimity of public opinion is not an American one – it is a position more characteristic of Islamic or other totalitarian states, where differences of opinion are regarded as a threat to public order, and where the leadership demands 100 percent approval from the people. These are also states where the head of government requires that he be treated like a deity, that there be no questioning of his edicts, that he govern with unquestioned power. . . .Unpopular government is dangerous enough, popular government far more so. When public officials believe that there are no limits to their power, no doubters about their pronouncements, no cynics who question their motives, they are capable of gross abuses. This is true both in wartime and peacetime. The most beloved governments are most prone to become the most abusive.”

There Is No War On Terrorism (John Pilger, New Statesman-London, 29 October 2001)
     “Real reasons for the actions of great power are seldom reported. A morality  play is preferred. When George Bush Senior attacked Panama in 1990, he was  reportedly “smoking out” General Noriega, “a drug runner and a child  pornographer”. The real reason was not news. The Panama Canal was about to revert to the government of Panama, and the US wanted a less uppity, more  compliant thug than Noriega to look after its interests once the canal was no  longer officially theirs.

     Likewise, the real reason for attacking Iraq in 1991 had little to do with  defending the territorial sanctity of the Kuwaiti sheikhs and everything to do with crippling, or “containing”, increasingly powerful, modern Iraq. The Americans had no intention of allowing Saddam Hussein, a former “friend” who  had developed ideas above his imperial station, to get in the way of their  plans for a vast oil protectorate stretching from Turkey to the Caucasus.

     Undoubtedly, a primary reason for the attack on Afghanistan is the installation of a regime that will oversee an American-owned pipeline bringing oil and gas  from the Caspian Basin, the greatest source of untapped fossil fuel on earth and enough, according to one estimate, to meet America's voracious energy needs for 30 years. Such a pipeline can run through Russia, Iran, or Afghanistan.  Only in Afghanistan can the Americans control it. . . .

. . . . .But these are violent men, regardless of their distance from the mayhem they initiate. Blair's enthusiastic part in the cluster bombing of civilians in Iraq and Serbia, and the killing of tens of thousands of children in Iraq, is  documented. The Bush family's violence, from Nicaragua to Panama, the Gulf to  the death rows of Texas, is a matter of record. Their war on terrorism is no  more than the continuing war of the powerful against the powerless, with new excuses, new hidden imperatives, new lies.

Terrorism and the Four Freedoms (Doris “Granny D” Haddock, AlterNet, September 28, 2001)
“This is not a time for all good Americans to forget their political differences and rally behind the man in the White House. The man in the White House should apologize for the most serious breach of internal security in the nation's history, not disguise his failure in calls for war. Can he hope that the fiery explosions in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania will be more acceptable to us if they are placed in a larger context of explosions of our own making? I do not rally around that idea. It is "wag the dog" taken to an extreme level, for he is not covering up his failure with a fake war, but with a real one.He has taken every opportunity to make the world less safe, first in North Korea and then in the Mideast and in Russia and in China. He needs a dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is getting it. We must not go along with him. . . .I hope I speak for many common Americans who cannot see our flag without getting emotional with love for it. Our dream is that it should always represent the best that human beings can do on this earth. This is a time for us to rally around its best values and its highest dreams.”

NO WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN! (Prof. Francis A. Boyle)
“President Bush consulted with Secretary Powell and all of a sudden they changed the rhetoric and characterization of what happened here. They now called it an act of war. And clearly this was not an act of war. There are enormous differences in how you treat an act of terrorism and how you treat an act of war. We have dealt with acts of terrorism before. And normally acts of terrorism are dealt with as a matter of international and domestic law enforcement. . . . Since none of these justifications and pretexts hold up, as a matter of law, then, what the United States government today is doing against Afghanistan constitutes armed aggression. It is illegal. . . . Indeed if you read on the internet certainly not in the mainstream U.S. news media, you will see that is the position being taken in almost every Islamic country in the world. Where are the facts? Where is the law? They aren't there. This is apparent to the entire world. . . . And the winter is coming in Afghanistan. Latest estimate that I've seen is that maybe 100,000 or more are going to die if we don't stop this war. So what's really going on here? Why are we bombing Afghanistan? Why are we doing this? Is it retaliation? Is it vengeance? . . . In addition, finally, comes the Ashcroft Police State Bill. No other word to describe it. . . . Bush failed to get that declaration of war which would have rendered him a constitutional dictator. But it's clear that Ashcroft and his Federalist Society lawyers took every piece of regressive legislation off the shelf, tied it all into this antiterrorism bill, and rammed it through Congress.”

Hidden Agenda Behind War on Terror (John Pilger Former Mirror Chief Foreign Correspondent)
“Tony Blair has yet to tell us what the violent death of children - seven in one family - has to do with Osama bin Laden. . . . And why are cluster bombs being used? The British public should know about these bombs, which the RAF also uses. They spray hundreds of bomblets that have only one purpose; to kill and maim people. Those that do not explode lie on the ground like landmines, waiting for people to step on them. . . . If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism, this is it. . . . None of those directly involved in the September 11 atrocity was Afghani. Most were Saudis, who apparently did their planning and training in Germany and the United States. The camps which the Taliban allowed bin Laden to use were emptied weeks ago. . . . When the Taliban took Kabul in 1996, Washington said nothing. Why? Because Taliban leaders were soon on their way to Houston, Texas, to be entertained by executives of the oil company, Unocal. . . . WITH secret US government approval, the company offered them a generous cut of the profits of the oil and gas pumped through a pipeline that the Americans wanted to build from Soviet central Asia through Afghanistan. . . . A US diplomat said: ‘The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did.’ He explained that Afghanistan would become an American oil colony, there would be huge profits for the West, no democracy and the legal persecution of women. ‘We can live with that,’ he said.”

Information Lockdown (Bruce Shapiro, The Nation, October 29, 2001)
“Investigators still hold in custody 150 of the 800 people rounded up in the aftermath of the attacks. (One detainee died in custody in New Jersey.) No charges have been filed, no hearings convened. The names of nearly all those still held remain classified, as do the reasons for their incarceration. . . . Just as damaging as these detentions is an October 12 memo from Attorney General John Ashcroft reversing longstanding Freedom of Information Act policies. . . . One after another, federal agencies are removing public data from their websites or restricting access to their public reading rooms. . . . During Vietnam, the famous credibility gap resided at the Pentagon, with briefings and Congressional testimony at odds with battlefield evidence. Just weeks into this war, the Bush Administration is risking a new credibility gap roughly the size of the District of Columbia.”

Majority want bombing pause (Alan Travis, The Guardian, October 30, 2001)
“British public support for the war against the Taliban has dropped by 12 points in the past fortnight and a majority now believe there should be a pause in the bombing to allow aid convoys into Afghanistan. . . . the prime minister will be alarmed by details of the survey, which show that support among women has slumped by 17 points from 68% to 51%. Only a bare majority of women now approve of military action against the Taliban.”

Return to Opinions


[Home] [World Events] [Take Charge] [Links] [Hagerty Home Page] [About Us] [Store] [Search] [Site Map]
[What's New]

Website copyright © 2000-2003 by Matrix Masters, Inc. where not otherwise reserved.
Copyrights on material published on this website remain the property of their respective owners.