This morning, just before 10 AM Pacific time, the US began striking sites in Afghanistan using bombs, cruise missiles, and "precision-guided" (once known as "smart") bombs. There is no such thing as "precision" with weapons of these kinds.
In particular, the US has targeted Kabul, a major urban area, while the President pledges that we have no argument with the Afghan people. He also has cynically turned the peace community's call for dropping food, not bombs, into an opportunity to drop BOTH food and bombs--claiming that the food drops can't be made without military cover.
The US bombardment of Iraq in 1991 destroyed that country's infrastructure, and combined with sanctions has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. In 1999, the US attack on Yugoslavia was done under the cover of "humanitarian" purposes, with bombs striking passenger trains, and as in Iraq, schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure, and leaving a trail of depleted uranium whose effects we still do not know.
A number of concerns beyond the massive destruction that is sure to be a result of the bombing:
1--the 20 million + Afghanis are already in poverty and facing starvation from a severe drought, but also in large part due to sanctions already on that country, and other US policies.
2--the US has declared that "there is no neutrality," implying they will bomb any country who disagrees with them; clearly a chief target is Iraq. There is no international standard that allows the US to make the world into a battlefield of "you are with us or against us." International law supports self-defense, not random slaughter.
3--despite Bush's efforts to give lip service to Islam, our Arab and Muslim friends will still be the target of hate crimes. Even respectable people have been sending around anti-Arab, anti-Muslim "jokes" which include references to beards, turbans, and Islamic beliefs surrounding pigs. We must oppose racism and hate crimes in any form.
4--the US knows very well what "collateral damage" of targeting heavily populated urban areas looks like--not only from its destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, its bombing of Iraq and Serbia, but also the attacks on Oklahoma City and New York.
5--the use of violence to respond to violence will only lead to further violence. We must find non-military ways to bring those responsible for the attacks on the US to justice.
We must raise our voices and call for peace. We must be clear that there are more than two positions. You can oppose US war policies and not agree with the acts of terrorists. The world is not so easily explained.
This flyer was prepared by Peace and Justice Works--PO Box 42456--Portland, OR 97242--(503) firstname.lastname@example.org
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