[Hpn] New York War Resistors League statement on September 11 Attack

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Fri, 14 Sep 2001 10:02:15 -0700


New York War Resistors League statement on September 11 Attack

As we write, Manhattan feels under siege, with all bridges, tunnels, and
subways closed, and tens of thousands of people walking slowly north from
Lower Manhattan. 

As we sit in our offices here at War Resisters League, our most immediate
thoughts are of the hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers who have lost
their lives in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The day is clear, the
sky is blue, but vast clouds billow over the ruins where so many have died,
including a great many rescue workers who were there when the final collapse
occurred.

Of course we know that our friends and co-workers in Washington, D.C. have
similar thoughts about the ordinary people who have been trapped in the
parts of the Pentagon which were also struck by a jet. And we think of the
innocent passengers on the hi-jacked jets who were carried to their doom on
this day.

We do not know at this time from what source the attack came. We do know
that Yasser Arafat has condemned the bombing. We hesitate to make an
extended analysis until more information is available but some things are
clear. For the Bush Administration to talk of spending hundreds of billions
on Star Wars is clearly the sham it was from the beginning, when terrorism
can so easily strike through more routine means.

We urge Congress and George Bush that whatever response or policy the U.S.
develops it will be clear that this nation will no longer target civilians,
or accept any policy by any nation which targets civilians. This would mean
an end to the sanctions against Iraq, which have caused the deaths of
hundreds of thousands of civilians. It would mean not only a condemnation of
terrorism by Palestinians but also the policy of assassination against the
Palestinian leadership by Israel, and the ruthless repression of the
Palestinian population and the continuing occupation by Israel of the West
Bank and Gaza.

The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in
millions of deaths, from the historic tragedy of the Indochina war, through
the funding of death squads in Central America and Colombia, to the
sanctions and air strikes against Iraq. This nation is the largest supplier
of "conventional weapons" in the world and those weapons fuel the starkest
kind of terrorism from Indonesia to Africa. The early policy support for
armed resistance in Afghanistan resulted in the victory of the Taliban and
the creation of Osama Bin Laden.

Other nations have also engaged in these policies. We have, in years past,
condemned the actions of the Russian government in areas such as Chechnya,
the violence on both sides in the Middle East, and in the Balkans. But our
nation must take responsibility for its own actions. Up until now we have
felt safe within our borders. To wake on a clear day to find our largest
city under siege reminds us that in a violent world, none are safe.

Let us seek an end of the militarism that has characterized this nation for
decades. Let us seek a world in which security is gained through
disarmament, international cooperation, and social justice not through
escalation and retaliation. We condemn without reservation attacks such as
those which occurred today, which strike at thousands of civilians may these
profound tragedies remind us of the impact U.S. policies have had on other
civilians in other lands. We also condemn reflexive hostility against people
of Arab descent living in this country and urge that Americans recall the
part of our heritage that opposes bigotry in all forms.

We are one world. We shall live in a state of fear and terror or we shall
move toward a future in which we seek peaceful alternatives to violence, and
a more just distribution of the world's resources. As we mourn the many
lives lost, our hearts call out for reconciliation, not revenge.

This is not an official statement of the War Resisters League but was
drafted immediately after the tragic events occurred. Signed and issued by
members of the staff and Executive Committee of War Resisters League at the
national office, September 11, 2001.

Contact: David McReynolds, 212-674-7268
Joanne Sheehan, 860-889-5337
War Resisters League, 212-228-0450, wrl@igc.org