Lutte Ouvrière


Western gun ships and missiles can only feed terrorism

(September 2001)

This has text has been distributed by Workers’ Fight, the British affiliate of Lutte Ouvrière.
Posted by Phil Ferguson on the Marxism list.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for REDS – Die Roten.

Once again tens of thousands of American troops are heading towards the Middle East. Once again Blair jumps to attention at Washington’s call to arms – this time for a “prolonged campaign unlike any other before”. They claim that they will “eradicate terrorism”. But how will they do that?

By flattening Afghanistan to “smoke out” bin Laden, as Bush declared, or to topple the Taliban’s regime as some are saying? But who will be the first victims, regardless of the actual result, if not tens of thousands of innocent Afghans who have been unable to flee the country in time?

By bombing Iraq, since the CIA is now accusing Saddam Hussein of abetting terrorism? But US and British planes have been bombing Iraq for 11 years? And with what result? Saddam Hussein, the West’s former ally, is still in power. But the Iraqi population has paid for the West’s bombs and economic blockade with 1.5m dead.

By allowing Sharon’s reactionary regime in Israel complete freedom to silence the Palestinian population? But how many thousands of youth and ordinary Palestinians have already been killed and maimed for throwing stones at the Israeli tanks which are reducing the so-called “Palestinian autonomous zones” to prison camps?

Whatever Bush, Blair and their allies do, it will involve a terrible cost for the populations of the Middle East, causing more despair, humiliation and hatred within their ranks and pushing more of their youth towards terrorism.

The West’s state terrorism cannot justify the barbaric attacks carried out in New York and Washington. But can anything ever justify the barbaric treatment metered out to the populations of the poor countries by Western powers?

Terrorism always backfires on the populations whose cause it is pretending to defend. Caught between Western-backed dictatorships and the threat of Western warships, the populations of the poor countries see no future but bare survival in abject poverty – thereby providing terrorism with a permanent breeding ground.

This is what brought the undeclared war that US governments have waged in the Third World for decades into the USA. No US president ever warned the US population that this might ever happen. In fact most Americans were unaware of this war. But in the end it struck. It was a terrible trauma and cost the lives of thousands of innocent workers. But western missiles in Baghdad or the West Bank are not less traumatic for the populations who come under attack – even if their plight never gets such media attention. Those who died in the World Trade Centre fell victim not just to terrorism, but also to the policy carried out thousands of miles away by Western leaders.

Today, no-one knows how far Bush and Blair will go in their show of strength. But we should realise that every missile they launch and every bullet they fire, will increase the despair of the poor masses and provide the likes of bin Laden with more volunteers.

Whatever Bush and Blair may say, this is not a “war against terrorism”. It is yet another instance of state terrorism by the great powers against the populations of the Middle East. And from Burma to Korea, from Vietnam to Somalia, Iraq and Serbia, the infamous terrorism of the great powers has already caused infinitely more devastation than the New York suicide attacks.

As to their claim to be fighting for “democracy” against the medieval rule of the Talibans, this is a cynical farce. Who armed the Talibans in the first place, if not the CIA? And what can be said of the long list of dictators maintained in power by the West in the Middle East, Africa and South America? That they are “democratic”?

Bush and Blair are not bringing their gun ships out to protect the populations and their “democratic rights” – whether at home or in the Middle East. Their only objective is to protect the multinationals’ “right” to plunder the world. And they intend to do this by terrorising the populations.

So, yes – we should stand in solidarity with the American working population and those who died on September 11th. But we should also stand in solidarity with the poor masses who are now facing the terror of Western missiles. In either case, this means opposing an intervention which only aims at defending a system that accumulates wealth in the hands of a tiny minority while generating poverty and despair among entire populations.


Last updated on 26.9.2001