Where Will This War End?; Is the Fight against Terrorism Being Used by the United States as a Cover to Attack Other States?

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 12, 2002 | Go to article overview

Where Will This War End?; Is the Fight against Terrorism Being Used by the United States as a Cover to Attack Other States?


Byline: TIM DUNNE AND KEN BOOTH

We will never forget how it began. The images of that terrible day a year ago still haunt us; the aeroplanes being flown into the Twin Towers, the people jumping, the collapsing buildings, and the smoke and debris enveloping capitalism's heartland.

September 11, 2001, was a day of both human tragedy and world political importance. We all remember where we were that day, and many will recall the immediate feeling that an historical change had taken place. It had. 9/11 was the day a terrorist network changed America, and in the following year America has changed the world.

Nobody can escape the implications of the events of that day. Writers on literature as well as politics chew over its significance. More than 150 books have already been published, and one - Let's Roll - presently heads the US bestseller list. There are countless websites on 9/11, including contributions of a seriousness rarely found in that medium.

Terrorism has redefined the global landscape. Military budgets have risen significantly: the ``peace dividend'' we were promised never came after the Cold War, and now never will, as military-industrial complexes have a field day. Other aspects of the global economy have taken a big hit.

Most significant of all, the war on terror has drastically tilted the traditional trade-off between security and liberty in the direction of state power. In the United States - the land of the free - freedoms have been seriously curtailed. In Israel, the war on terror has legitimised extremes of brutality against a whole people, and not just vague suspects.

September 11 has had dramatic effects on domestic agendas. President Bush entered the White House determined to prioritise economic issues, but his administration has been forced to give priority to foreign po

i cy.

Even in a country as distant from the terror attacks as Australia, their repercussions affected the course of the general election. The right-wing Prime Minister, John Howard, came from being behind in the polls by manipulating the ``threat'' to Australian society posed by boatloads of refugees.

At the international level the impact of September 11 has been felt everywhere. We barely had chance to evaluate the first phase of the war on terror - the unfinished business in Afghanistan - before Bush and Blair were on to the next stage.

Nothing shows more clearly the significance and momentum of 9/11 than the war now being prepared against Saddam Hussein. This war, which might result in an American empire in the Middle East, or regional chaos with the use of weapons of mass destruction, would not be possible in the absence of the wider war on terror.

This might seem to be a strange claim, because of the different war aims against the Taliban and Iraq. Against the Taliban, the aim was to topple a government giving Al-Qaeda terrorists sanctuary. Although Bush is trying to link Al-Qaeda to Iraq, the evidence seems unconvincing.

There are better ways of eliminating the threat of radical Islamists than initiating a controversial and unpredictable war against Iraq.

But such a war is highly likely, though it is widely opposed, not least by the British public. US Republican circles believe they should be able to use their military might without asking the world's permission.

The war is being legitimised by Washington as part of the war on terror, and is propelled by an interest in controlling more of the world's oil. …

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