News Release

War on Terrorism?

WILLIAM HARTUNG
Hartung, senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute, wrote the article “The New Business of War.” He said today: “After almost four weeks of bombing, even some top U.S. military planners now admit every major military target has already been hit several times over. Yet the Taliban’s hold on power is at least as strong as it was before the bombing. In the meantime, civilian casualties are mounting. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has engaged in twisted logic worthy of Orwell’s 1984, claiming that the U.S. is not responsible for the civilian casualties caused by its bombing raids. At his October 29 press briefing, he said: ‘[R]esponsibility for every single casualty in this war, be they innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rests at the feet of Taliban and Al Qaeda.’ Rumsfeld seems to be saying that the U.S. government is not responsible for civilian casualties that result from the bombing, even if U.S. forces target civilian areas.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “President Bush has declared a ‘war on terror,’ and political leaders such as Dick Gephardt insist that ‘this is not a strike against the people of Afghanistan.’ But the evidence is accumulating that our current military campaign is indeed, as most of the world sees it, being waged against the Afghan people. Referring to the bombing campaign, Admiral Michael Boyce, Chief of the British Defense Staff, said: ‘The squeeze will carry on until the people of the country themselves recognize that this is going to go on until they get the leadership changed.’ It seems clear that Admiral Boyce sees the punishment of Afghan civilians, including their children, as an important part of the U.S./British strategy.”
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REV. GRAYLAN S. HAGLER
Pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church UCC, Hagler said today: “It is the height of hypocrisy to bemoan the terrorism on U.S. soil and then seemingly condone the taking of life on Afghan soil.”

GINA COPLON-NEWFIELD
Coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines, Coplon-Newfield said today: “Cluster bombs, which the Pentagon has confirmed it is using in Afghanistan, like antipersonnel landmines are extremely dangerous to civilians because of their high dud rate. Kosovar men, women, and children are still dying upon contact with cluster bombs dropped by NATO a few years ago. We expect the same to occur in Afghanistan where some of the people are so desperate that, often with fatal consequences, they are attempting to dismantle landmines and cluster bombs for the scrap metal. While landmines generally explode vertically and tend to maim, cluster bombs generally explode in all directions and tend to kill.”
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TITUS PEACHEY
Director of peace education of the Mennonite Central Committee, Peachey said today: “Cluster weapon delivery systems carry hundreds of submunitions, saturating an area with flying shards of steel. Depending on the delivery system, they can cover areas ranging from a football field to a square kilometer. Over the past 35 years, cluster munitions have demonstrated a predictable pattern of indiscriminate injury and death. They should not be used in any war, including Afghanistan.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167