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
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
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'être 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
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
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
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
For release: September 11, 2002
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
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
"Why should other Americans have their lives ruined and their careers
destroyed by a drug conviction while he hands his daughter a get-out-
"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
"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