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Towers of Death, Winds of War
Jack Straw
Life in the USA changed rather suddenly after the events of September 11, 2001. What happened in the World Trade Center in New York and in the Pentagon in Washington DC was a horrible and inexcusable act of terror. Something like it has never happened in this country. But for the world at large this was not a first.

The vast majority of those who died in the sickening events of 9/11 were wage workers, for whom life was already a day-to-day struggle to survive and not fall off the treadmill that represents existence for all except a tiny wealthy minority. But people just like them living in other countries have already been confronting such dangers. Over the last 10 years, more than 1 million Iraqis have died due to water-borne diseases caused by a water system that was deliberately destroyed by US bombing, with the full knowledge of the consequences, and also due to contamination from depleted uranium ammunition used by US forces during the war and on-going US and British military activities. In Indochina, people still die due to residual Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals used by US forces during the war that ended over 25 years ago.

Years of US-sponsored warfare, much of it carried out by paramilitary death squads, have taken an enormous toll upon the population of Central America. And one of the coordinators of that atrocity, former US ambassador to Honduras John Negroponte, was approved to be ambassador to the UN just three days after 9/11. Peasants, wildlife and crops in Colombia are being killed daily by chemical spraying that is part of the US-sponsored War on (some) Drugs, which also involves the mass use of death squads.

Every day, Palestinians in the occupied territories have to endure military attacks designed to terrorize them,while occasionaly Israeli working people get visited by suicide bombers. And beyond these blatant horrors we have the daily operation of the global capital accumulation machine, with its sweatshops, toxic dumps, habitat destruction, soil and water depletion, and the grinding down of human community and spirit in the din of production, most of it useless if not destructive.

The world's ruling circles do not use tactics such as flying airliners into skyscrapers. As Edward Peck, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq pointed out on CNN (indymedia),they don't need to - they have military power. It took but days after the events for the US ruling apparatus to push through a now totally pliant Congress a declaration of war that is even looser than the Gulf of Tonkin resolution,which led to the open-ended escalation of the war in Vietnam. President Bush is authorized to make war on not only terrorist groups, but also any nation and individuals he determines are aiding them. Also being pushed are measures to hack away what few civil liberties we do have, (already, bills authorizing massive wiretapping of phones and computers are being approved) and to remove constraints upon the US security apparatus -The CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI- so as to improve their functioning. This may not be an inside job, a 21st Century Reichstag fire, but the powers-that-be nevertheless are taking advantage of it as much as possible.

This more than ever is a time to say NO!! The terror in New York and Washington is but a continuation of the terror that is already daily existence for most of the world. And more terror will solve nothing. It is high time to dismantle the entire machinery of global capital accumulation for which terror is increasingly an anchoring pillar.

(September 16, 2001)

Image: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

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