The Daily Brew

Wednesday, September 11, 2002:

My problem with Cheney starting a war from an underground bunker is this: I would feel a lot more confident if he were above ground, with the rest of us.
Common Sense // 11:30 PM

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I used to think I was "angry" about my corrupt, unelected government. Then today I got this in my email. Now I know what anger looks like. Now the best that I can say is that I am in full sympathy with the author.

Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy

Fundamentalism is the Enemy of All Civilized Humanity

RAWA joins with the rest of the civilized world in remembering the innocent lives lost on September 11th, as well as all those others lost to terrorism and oppression throughout the world. It is with great sadness that RAWA sees other people experiencing the pain that the women, children and men of Afghanistan have long suffered at the hands of fundamentalist terrorists.

For ten long years the people of Afghanistan -Afghan women in particular- have been crushed and brutalized, first under the chains and atrocities of the "Northern Alliance" fundamentalists, then under those of the Taliban. During all this period, the governments of the Western powers were bent on finding ways to "work with" these criminals. These Western governments did not lose much sleep over the daily grind of abject misery our people were enduring under the domination of these terrorist bands. To them it did not matter so very much that human rights and democratic principles were being trampled on a daily basis in an inconceivable manner. What was important was to "work with" the religio-fascists to have Central Asian oil pipelines extended to accessible ports of shipment.

Immediately after the September 11 tragedy the American military might moved into action to punish its erstwhile hirelings. A captive, bleeding, devastated, hungry, pauperised, drought-stricken and ill-starred Afghanistan was bombed into oblivion by the most advanced and sophisticated weaponry ever created in human history. Innocent lives, many more than those who lost their lives in the September 11 atrocity, were taken. Even joyous wedding gatherings were not spared. The Taliban regime and its al-Qaeda support were toppled without any significant dent in their human combat resources. What was not done away with was the sinister shadow of terrorist threat over the whole world and its alter ego, fundamentalist terrorism.

Neither opium cultivation nor warlordism have been eradicated in Afghanistan. There is neither peace nor stability in this tormented country, nor has there been any relief from the scourges of extreme pauperisation, prostitution, and wanton plunder. Women feel much more insecure than in the past. The bitter fact that even the personal security of the President of the country cannot be maintained without recourse to foreign bodyguards and the recent terrorist acts in our country speak eloquent volumes about the chaotic and terrorist-ridden situation of the country. Why is it so? Why has the thunderous uproar in the aftermath of September 11 resulted in nothing? For the following reasons which RAWA has reiterated time and again:

1. For the people of Afghanistan, it is "out of the frying pan, into the fire". Instead of the Taliban terrorists, Jihadi terrorists of the "Northern Alliance" have been installed in power. The Jihadi and the Taliban fundamentalists share a common ideology; their differences are the usual differences between brethren-in-creed.

2. For the past more or less twenty years, Osama bin Laden has had Afghan fundamentalists on his payroll and has been paying their leaders considerable stipends. He and Mullah Omar, together with a band of followers equipped with the necessary communication resources, can live for many years under the protection of different fundamentalist bands in Afghanistan and Pakistan and continue to plot against the people of Afghanistan and the rest of humankind.

3. The Taliban and the al-Qaeda phenomena, as manifestations of an ideology and a political culture infesting an Islamic country, could only have been uprooted by a popular insurrection and the strengthening and coming to power of secular democratic forces. Such a purge cannot be effected solely with the physical elimination of the likes of Osama and Mullah Omar.

The "Northern Alliance" can never sincerely want the total elimination of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda, as such elimination would mean the end of the raison d'ĂȘtre of the backing and support extended to them by foreign forces presently dominant in the country. This was the rationale behind RAWA's slogan for the overthrow of the Taliban and al-Qaeda through popular insurrection. Unfortunately, before such popular insurrection could come about, the Taliban and al-Qaeda forfeited their positions to the "brethren of the 'Northern Alliance'" without suffering any crippling decimation.

With their second occupation of Kabul, the "Northern Alliance" thwarted any hopes for a radical, meaningful change. They are themselves now the source and root of insecurity, the disgraceful police atmosphere of the Loya Jirga, rampant terrorism, gagging of democracy, atrocious violations of human rights, mounting pauperisation, prostitution and corruption, the flourishing of poppy cultivation, failure of beginning to reconstruct, and a host of further unlisted evils, too many to enumerate.

Oppression and crimes against women are rife in different forms throughout the country. RAWA has always maintained that the fundamentalists' rabid hatred of women as equal human beings - be they fundamentalists of the Jihadi brand or of the Taliban one- is not due merely to their unhealthy upbringing or morbid mind frame, but emanates from their religio-fascistic ideological world outlook. As long as such an ideology exists, propped up by military forces available at its disposal, neither crazed misogyny nor a myriad of shameful social evils associated with it can be eradicated. This is not a problem that can be dealt with by the creation of a "Ministry of Women's Affairs" nor by the presence of a couple of token women in high government positions. To hope for the attainment of freedom, democracy and equality within the framework of a corrupt, religion-based, ethno-chauvinistic system is either self-delusion or hypocrisy -or both.

We find no happiness in the fact that RAWA's predictions in regard to the consequences of the re-domination of the "Northern Alliance" have once again been borne out. Those who claimed that the "Northern Alliance" were better than, and therefore preferable to, the Taliban must wake up and apologise to our people for their noxious sermons. The establishment of democracy and social justice can be possible only with the overthrow of fundamentalist domination as a prime precondition. This cannot be achieved without an organised and irreconcilable campaign of the women masses against fundamentalism, its agents and apologists.

Some politically bankrupt entities who have no shame in grovelling to the "Northern Alliance" in the hope of securing positions and feathering their nests, label RAWA as "Maoist" and "radical" because of our decisive and irreconcilable stances and viewpoints. But does the current situation in the country prove the fallacy of RAWA's positions or do they give a slap in the face to the ladies and gentleman with the penchant for being colluding and mealy-mouthed? The assassinations of a vice president and a cabinet minister and the ban on investigating these murders, the discovery of mass graves, the banning of women singers and artists and showing of dancing on TV, the censorship of the media, arbitrary fatwas of kofr and apostasy against women, gang rapes of even expatriate women working for international NGOs, the disgusting campaign of making an idol out of Ahmad Shah Masoud, are these not enough to bring home the realisation that indulgence and permissiveness towards rabid dogs only serve to make them more ferocious?

RAWA's experience in fighting fundamentalism, particularly during the past 10 years, motivates us to be all the more persistent in our attempts to mobilise women even in the most remote corners of our country. At the same time, we shall not desist from pursuing an irreconcilable policy towards fundamentalism and standing in solidarity with all pro-democracy forces. We staunchly believe that in addition to causing the tragic deaths of over 3,000 innocent Americans and non-Americans and the sorrow and bereavement of tens of thousands more, the monstrous terrorist attack of September 11 showed the world what a nefarious pestilence fundamentalism is; it showed the world the sort of inferno the peoples of Afghanistan, Iran, Algeria, Sudan and other such countries live in.

Fundamentalism is the mortal enemy of civilised humanity; to address it demands the consolidated action of all freedom-loving nations of the world. The present "world anti-terrorism coalition" has been debased by innumerable ambiguities and impurities of purpose, motivation and objectives. The contradictions between world powers will spell its doom. Therefore, it behoves anti-fundamentalist individuals and organisations working for social justice the world over to draw together without hesitation to contain and ultimately stamp out, once and for all, the vermin of fundamentalism, so that the tragedy of September 11 will never be repeated, neither in America nor anywhere else.

RAWA takes pride in the fact that up till now we have been able to establish contact with a considerable number of anti-terrorist organisations on all five continents and enjoy their moral and material support. However, for the purpose of waging a swifter and more encompassing fight against terrorism, it is necessary for such solidarity to be expanded and strengthened. In this connection we shake the hands of all freedom-loving individuals and organisations.

We would like to avail ourselves of this opportunity to once again extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in the savage calamity of September 11, as well as to the friends and families of those innocent compatriots -for all we know, anti-Taliban and anti-"Northern Alliance"- who were blown to shreds by American aerial bombardment. We sincerely hope that a vast number of those who are bereaved and grieving for their loved ones will, sooner or later, join the ranks of the legions mobilising against fundamentalist fascism in their respective countries and on an international level.

No to Al-Qaeda, No to the Taliban, No to the "Northern Alliance"! Long Live a Free, Democratic and Blossoming Afghanistan! Victory in the Decisive War to the Very End of Afghan Women Against Fundamentalism and for Democracy! Long Live International Solidarity Against Fundamentalist Terrorism!

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
September 11, 2002

Common Sense // 11:06 PM

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Will Pitt thinks the draft is coming back.

I'm not sure that would be a bad thing.

On the one hand, I can see one obviously bad outcome from reinstating the draft: your friends and relatives, pacifists among them, would suddenly face the possibility of dying on a foreign battlefield.

On the other hand, I can see numerous good outcomes. Forcing together people of widely different backgrounds, races, religions, and socio-economic status has been shown time and time again to have a moderating effect, building tolerance and trust between groups who might otherwise be at odds with one and another. A draft has that effect, even if it is unintended. For example, Israel's society is much more tight knit than our own. Many Israelis will tell you this is in large part due to the esprit de corp of their military, which all Israeli citizens are required to join.

But the biggest benefit I see is that because your friends and relatives would suddenly face the possibility of dying on a foreign battlefield, they would have an enormous incentive to become more engaged in the political life of the country, thereby putting in place political leaders who were responsive to their desire that they prevent wars that might kill them from happening in the first place.
Common Sense // 12:28 PM

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I think most libertarian philosophy is utopian crap. But this little ditty hits the nail squarely on the head.

NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
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For release: September 11, 2002
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For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: pressreleases@hq.LP.org
===============================

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has moral obligation to pardon every drug offender, Libertarians say

WASHINGTON, DC -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has a moral obligation to pardon every nonviolent drug offender, Libertarians say, after insisting on Tuesday that his daughter's latest drug episode should be treated as a "family matter" rather than as a criminal matter.

"Why is Noelle Bush sitting in a rehab center while other drug-law violators are rotting in prison?" asked Ron Crickenberger, Libertarian Party political director. "The answer is obvious: Because her father happens to be a hypocritical governor who believes in one standard of justice for his family and another standard for yours."

Police were called to the Center for Drug Free Living on Monday after employees reported finding a "white, rocklike substance" believed to be crack cocaine in Noelle Bush's shoe. The 25-year-old daughter of the Republican governor wasn't immediately arrested, police say, because clinic supervisors refused to cooperate with police and wanted the matter handled "in house."

Gov. Bush, whose daughter has had previous drug violations, told the Associated Press: "This is a private issue as it relates to my daughter and myself and my wife. The road to recovery is a rocky one for a lot of people that have this kind of problem."

But the question Libertarians are asking is: Why shouldn't every American get the Noelle Bush treatment?

"Gov. Bush is exactly right that drug abuse should be treated as a private, medical problem rather than as a criminal problem," Crickenberger said. "Unfortunately, Bush is an ardent drug warrior who believes in throwing ordinary individuals in jail for committing the same 'crime' as his daughter - which makes him a despicable Drug War hypocrite as well.

"Why does Bush believe that other young men and women should be locked inside steel cages for years for doing exactly what his daughter has done?

"Why should other Americans have their lives ruined and their careers destroyed by a drug conviction while he hands his daughter a get-out- of-jail-free card?

"And why must other families be torn apart when a loved one is dragged off to prison while he visits his daughter in a cozy rehab center?

"The fact is that individuals with drug problems harm only themselves, and perhaps their families. But a politician with a hypocrisy problem has the power to tear everyone's family apart."

But there's a way that the governor can redeem himself, Libertarians say:

"Gov. Bush should grant every nonviolent drug offender in the Florida state prison system a full and immediate pardon," Crickenberger said. "Then let them join his daughter on the road to recovery."

Common Sense // 12:24 PM

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