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Bush and Big Corporations Use WTC Bombing To Push Robbery, Racism, War

by Fight Back! Editors |
October 1, 2001
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Following the tragic loss of life at the World Trade Center, we saw real acts of heroism by the working people of New York, and an outpouring of concern and generosity on the part of people across the country. The emergency medical technicians and fire fighters who rushed to ground zero and made the ultimate sacrifice typify what is best in the American working class. The same applies to others - such as the Ironworkers who rushed to the scene to do all that they could. All of us can and should learn from these heroes.

Unfortunately, there are some, who walk the corridors of wealth and power, that have responded to this crisis by trying to manipulate our sadness, fear, and concern. Motivated by greed, they tell us to hate other peoples - that war and racism will somehow make things better.

While the smoke was still rising from the ruins of the Trade Center, fast buck artists set up fake charities to line their own pockets. Airline executives ran to government, and got $15 billion. Money in hand, and their big salaries safe, they announced the layoffs of nearly 100,000 airline workers. Congress is now besieged by lobbyists from the hotel, insurance and every industry you can think of, looking for bailouts or a piece of the different "stimulus packages" under debate.

There are those who want to use our grief to promote the ugly twins of racism and national chauvinism. Senators talk about need to pull over people "with diapers on their heads". Across the U.S., a wave of violence and harassment has been unleashed against Arabs and Muslims. This includes assaults on mosques, beatings, and even murder.

There is a new attempt to legitimize racial profiling. No one should be fooled. The TV networks' talking heads, who advocate targeting the millions of Arab Americans who fly on airlines, are borrowing from the book that makes it a crime to drive while black.

At moments like this, it's critical that we keep our eyes open. We need to take a hard look at what is being done to us and what is being done in our name. Behind the talk of "bipartisan politics", an agenda that is both narrow and reactionary is being pushed through at government's highest levels.

The Social Security surplus is being gutted for corporate handouts and the military. Rolling back environmental protection measures is presented as a matter of national security. An assault is underway on our civil liberties. Politicians from both parties are leading us to an unending war.

George Bush responded to September 11 by calling for a new "crusade." After saying "we know that God is not neutral," Bush, the crusader, is setting fire to the cities of Afghanistan and sending in troops. That puts us in a position where we need to deal with some hard questions.

Near the top of the World Trade Center there was a restaurant called "Windows to the World." The cooks, waiters, and dishwashers who worked there were members of the hotel and restaurant workers union, and were among the victims on September 11. How could it possibly honor their memory to unleash a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan? The answer is clear, it cannot. Yet, this is exactly what's happening. The victims of the U.S. bombing campaign are Afghani families in homemade air raid shelters and places of worship.

Millions of people in Afghanistan are running out of food. Starvation is walking a land haunted by hunger. Having one plane drop 5000 pound bombs, and another drop a few "ready to eat meals" into a mine field, is a propaganda ploy - similar to the "food for peace" program used in Viet Nam.

The logic of U.S. intervention in Afghanistan is this: Bomb the cities. Turn the population into refugees. Follow it up with a war on the ground, or a war in the mountains to be more precise. The result will be a mounting death toll - mainly Afghani, but Americans as well - the tragedy of New York compounded 100 times.

As serious as this is, there is every indication that the Bush administration is planning a broader war; beyond Kabul there is Baghdad and Lebanon. Since September 11, Washington has threatened both Iraq and the brave men and women who pushed Israel out of southern Lebanon.

It is vital that U.S. intervention is halted in Afghanistan. If it is not beaten back there, a highway of death and destruction will be opened across the Middle East. Under the cover of a "war on terrorism", we will witness more U.S. intervention in the Third World. "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists", says Bush.

U.S. foreign policy around the world created a climate that caused the events of September 11. To say this is to make a statement of fact. It is not an issue of "justifying" any more than when a weather forecaster predicts a coming storm. Latin America is a checkerboard of U.S.- supported death squads, especially Colombia. Israel is carrying out assassinations with U.S. backing and dollars, and one and a half million people have been killed by sanctions in Iraq. The shock and anger that people in the U.S. felt on September 11 is the same emotion that is felt by the mothers of Iraq, when their children die of U.S. enforced starvation.

At the end of the day, corporate America does what's profitable for corporate America. We are dealing with a class of people where "justice" means "just us" rich folks. The world is a worse place for it. They take the land, labor, and natural resources of others. They are hypocrites who are unfit to bring anyone to justice, and to call on them to do so is like calling on an arsonist to put out a fire.

Build the Anti-War Movement

It is vital that we seize the time and build a powerful movement against the war on Afghanistan. While doing so we need to forcefully speak out against any attacks on Arab and Muslim people here. We need to defend our rights.

The stakes are incredibly high for people in the Middle East, south Asia, and for those of us who live here. The events of September 11 have placed us, the American people, at a crossroads. We can march with Bush on the road to war and racism or we can begin a determined struggle for peace through justice. The war is the leading edge of right-wing reaction and is being used to roll back what we have won through past struggle.

A just world is possible, but it cannot be built on empires of oil and dollars. All us who favor peace and progress are facing a test. If we are confident and bold, and willing to take the truth to the American people, we will not fail.