A Just Cause,
Not a Just War
An essay by Howard Zinn
featured in the new issue of
The Progressive magazine
"We might examine the idea of pacifism
in the light of what is going on right now."
"The mission of The Progressive is to be a journalistic voice for peace and
social justice at home and abroad. The magazine, its affiliates, and its staff
steadfastly oppose militarism, the concentration of power in corporate hands,
the disenfranchisement of the citizenry, poverty, and prejudice in all its guises.
We champion peace, social and economic justice, civil rights, civil liberties,
human rights, a preserved environment, and a reinvigorated democracy."
A Just Cause, Not a Just War
By Howard Zinn
[...] "We might examine the idea of pacifism in the light of what is going on right now.
I have never used the word "pacifist" to describe myself, because it suggests something
absolute, and I am suspicious of absolutes. I want to leave openings for unpredictable
possibilities. There might be situations (and even such strong pacifists as Gandhi and
Martin Luther King believed this) when a small, focused act of violence against a
monstrous, immediate evil would be justified.
In war, however, the proportion of means to ends is very, very different. War, by its
nature, is unfocused, indiscriminate, and especially in our time when the technology is
so murderous, inevitably involves the deaths of large numbers of people and the suffering
of even more. Even in the "small wars" (Iran vs. Iraq, the Nigerian war, the Afghan war),
a million people die. Even in a "tiny" war like the one we waged in Panama, a thousand
or more die.
Scott Simon of NPR wrote a commentary in The Wall Street Journal on October 11
entitled, "Even Pacifists Must Support This War." He tried to use the pacifist acceptance
of self-defense, which approves a focused resistance to an immediate attacker, to justify
this war, which he claims is "self-defense." But the term "self-defense" does not apply
when you drop bombs all over a country and kill lots of people other than your attacker.
And it doesn't apply when there is no likelihood that it will achieve its desired end." [...]
A Grave Assault on the Constitution a November 15th editiorial by
The Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild
"George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft are ripping away at the fabric
of our democracy.
They are sending our civil liberties, which are the hallmark of this nation, down the river.
And they are destroying our storied system of checks and balances.
Here are some of the frightening features so far:
The detention of more than 1,000 immigrants, without releasing their names to the public.
The decision to round up 5,000 more legal immigrants, under what the history books will
surely call the Ashcroft Raids.
The evisceration of the Fourth Amendment, so much so that the police no longer will need
to show you a warrant to enter your home; they can even sneak in when you're not there
and neglect to tell you about it."
[...] Amnesty International says this new order "violates fundamental principles of justice
in any circumstances, including in times of war," and is contrary to the Geneva Convention."
Runaway Pentagon spending will do more harm than good
By Frida Berrigan and William D. Hartung October 23, 2001
"Pentagon spending could hit $375 billion in this fiscal year alone.
Next year's Pentagon budget could reach $400 billion..." [...]
Other related audio links . . .
Examining the Tides of War in Afghanistan
(requires RealAudio. To download a free player, go to http://www.real.com/)
"Pacifica Network News Senior Correspondent Don Rush spoke with Imtiaz Gul,
who's in Pakistan about the latest turn of events in neighboring Afghanista."
Democracy NOW! Resistance Radio
"Democracy Now! In Exile goes beyond the rhetoric and party politics offered by
the mainstream media. Instead, it highlights grassroots efforts to enhance and ignite
democracy in the U.S. These days, some are labeling this "public journalism" or
"civic journalism." We call it Radio in the Pacifica Tradition." [...]
War Threatens Afghanistan (requires
[Broadcasted just blocks from the former WTC in New York City . . .]
"Several hundred Hazara militia from Afghanistan's central highlands are marching
on the gates of Kabul today in a bid to defend their fellow Shiite Muslims against
persecution by the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance. The Hazara already captured
the town of Bamiyam on Monday. The Alliance has strengthened its grip on the capital,
bringing in 80 tanks into the city and seizing important ministries. The Alliance has set
up self-styled "ministries" - a foreign ministry, defense ministry and interior ministry." [...]
For a unique perspective on the background of 'America's New War', listen to
an address given by one of North America's leading intellectuals:
Noam Chomsky on our new war Part I of two (requires RealAudio)
[Audio recording of a recent speech given at MIT]
UN warns of landmine
and cluster bomb danger
to displaced people in Afghanistan
"The UN has warned of the landmine and cluster bomb dangers faced by people
returning to their homes in Afghanistan." [...]