Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Questions from My Local Newspaper

Do you feel safer now than after 9/11?

I do not feel safer now than after 9/11. I feel less safe, because all of the decisions to answer terrorist violence with American violence have, understandably, provided new and better recruitment messages for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

How, if at all, has your life changed in response to terror’s threat?

My life has changed a lot in response to terror's threats. I have become much more intensely aware of the history of American meddling in other nations' affairs, and how frequently that meddling means destroying nascent democracies when those young governments begin to make decisions in the best interests of their own people, rather than in the best interests of America's ruling class. I have become much more politically active.

Is the US winning the war on terror?

The U.S. is not winning the war on terror. That would require acknowledging how our fear of others makes our government, through our military, abuse those others, and then it would require us to move beyond fear to love, mercy, charity and faith as the foundations of our foreign and domestic policy.

Is the war in Iraq justified?

The war in Iraq is not justified, and never was. First they knowingly lied by saying the reason for the illegal pre-emptive invasion was WMDs. No WMDs? Then they said it was to topple the evil dictator Saddam Hussein. Hussein jailed, hunger striking and threatening to implicate his American backers in his trial for crimes against humanity? Then they said it was to establish a democracy in the Middle East.

When the puppet government appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which also gutted Iraq's economic laws to permit privatization of oil and other resources, was not accepted by the majority Shiite population, who demonstrated in protest, the U.S. finally permitted elections. Now the elected government appears unable to control the civil war on the ground, so the White House is quietly putting out word that maybe something other than democracy will soon follow.

Iraqis are now dying at the rate of 40,000 per year, three times the average Hussein-era rate and we are about to come full circle, from deposing an "evil" dictator because he opposed American oil interests in the region, to installing a U.S.-friendly dictator so long as he will let the oil companies call the shots.

How would you grade the government’s handling of the war on terror?

I give the Bush Administration an F for its handling of the war on terror, I call for impeachment and for a bold, articulate, hopeful vision of the future from any Democrats up to the challenge. Democracy without accountability is meaningless. American soldiers killing people can't give us the freedom to learn, think and speak up, and NSA wiretapping can't take it away.

We're born with it.


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