The Yank-sceptics are coming out of the woodwork grinding old axes and also raising some legitimate concerns. Crikey is on balance a supporter of the US in its past foreign policies, primarily for winning two world wars, and thinks they should take decisive action now. BUT, we will still publish the views of US critics as everyone deserves to be heard in this debate.

Dear Crikey,

Re current articles, the major problem as I see it is in identifying who the terrorists are.

While USA and Israel will point to anyone who offends them as a terrorist, Israel has a policy of state sponsored assassinations, and they include the use of car bombs, helicopter gun ships, the state sanctioned murder of innocent peoples as collateral damage. The history of the USA’s foreign policy initiatives (via the CIA) clearly indicate the same unstated policy of state sponsored assassinations and bugger the ‘collateral damage’ of innocent lives lost.

I don’t see a difference between Israel, USA, Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. How can they not all be terrorists.

Andrew

Treat the Israeli intelligence with scepticism

Hello Crikey,

Perhaps Crikey should think about publishing some analysis of the intelligence reports and general coverage of the after effects of the events in New York.

With regard to the intelligence reports, most use Israeli sources which should be a warning to treat what you read with some scepticism, its widely known that Israelis have an ongoing dispute with the entire Middle East. The article from Jane’s refers to an Israeli intelligence assessment of one Arab leader is being a “clinical psychopath” whose behaviour has not improved since “the killing of his two brothers by the Americans”. I find it hardly surprising that killing family members is not a panacea against violence, perhaps the US has a different diplomatic manual to the rest of us.

Likewise the Debka net articles were sourced out of Israel and I am sure that there is a certain amount of self interest motivating the analysis and distribution of these reports.

Lastly I am very worried about the seemly absolute agreement amongst the leaders of the “free world” regarding the necessity and probable success of a “war on terrorism”. So far we have not seen any attacks against any other country besides the US. I’m not just talking about events in NY I’m talking about the last 15 odd years. This attack happens to be on US soil but I see that as just an escalation, previous attacks were carried out against the US overseas. It is a comparable situation to the English in Northern Ireland, the IRA only ever attacked the state that they saw as the enemy, I don’t think that I heard anything about a global war on terrorism during the height of the troubles.

It is indicative of the economic power that the US has over smaller countries such as Australia that our leader would place us in grave danger by aligning our country so closely with the US on this issue. John Howard has said that the decision to back the US is a matter of honour. This is war talk if ever I have heard it, and I have never heard it before, neither have you Crikey being a few years my junior. So it is new ground for me and a lot of us, old movies or docos about WW2 used to look quaint with there unabashed jingoism and rally round the flag rhetoric. I never thought I’d see the day when history would repeat itself like this and all the rational voices would be drowned out by the clamouring cries to throw citizens down the barrel of a gun just so we can maintain one country’s idea of the status quo.

cheers, Patrick

Howard’s US support too hasty

Suspect this was covered by the mainstream, but on the off chance you missed it, I hope you can access this.

If you aren’t already doing so , could you run a poll on whether Australians support Howard’s rather hasty offer of military support, to the US. I suspect many of us are against it.

I would also like to pose the question: what would it take on the part of America, to dissuade further terrorist attacks. I feel that a military response will bring devastation back on the USA, and possibly Australia, if we don’t adopt a more “peace-making” role.

Regards, Sue

Stop the anti-terrorist hyperbole

Hello Stephen,

I believe that it is absolutely VITAL to moderate the hyperbole and jingoism that is spewed out at us at every turn of the dial.

YES, this an unforgivable act of callous murder.

YES, such acts should be punished

YES, many have lost loved ones.

BUT for ALL OUR SAKES, lets get it into perspective.

The death toll is approx 4000. The annual death toll just on the roads in the US is about 40000.

Bin Laden has cells in approx 40 countries. The US not only knew he and his followers hated them and their policies etc, they had YEARS of warnings that he would likely attack them. They even had plans for just such an attack as this, on the WTC, by suicide attacks in planes, after the last attacks on the WTC, back in mid 90s.

Some of the terrorists learnt to fly in the US for chrissake. Their own businesses trained the attackers. That is extraordinary. I have no doubt that it is intended as a further snub to the US. Whilst they were training, these people were quite open. They used credit cards, cheques, got pulled over, spent great deal of money.

Where the hell was the intelligence network whilst all this was going on? Don’t they have enough billions of dollars that they can pick up on these things? What are the experts doing? Are they being listened to?

FLASH… Have just heard on Sky News that LAST YEAR the US officials actually arrested a KNOWN follower of Ben Laden because a flight school tipped them off that he came to the school and wanted to learn how to fly a 747 straight and level.. He wasn’t interested in taking off and landing!

WHAT ELSE DID THEY NEED? AN EMAIL FROM BEN LADEN?

So, what happens? Instead of shooting the dumb bastards who missed all these bloody obvious clues, they are trying and unfortunately succeeding, in dragging us all into this dreadful farce under the pretext that these 4000 deaths are by some perverted logic, an attack upon the entire world. Then they tell us the real agenda when they say “This is an attack on anything which threatens US interests. This is for the good of future AMERICANS”. What about rest of the WORLD, about another 5.5 BILLION? Spare us all.

We see the absolutely standard US response. “Response will be sweeping, sustained and effective… War on Terrorism… the nation has to be tough.”

What does this mean? It means that they have comprehensively failed to learn the painful and expensive lesson of history. It is not as if they have not tried this sort of thing before.

Don’t ask the questions. “Why do these many millions of people absolutely loathe the US?” “What can we do to change this, to undermine the ethic and credibility of these madmen?” “Would the world be a better place for all, including us, the US, if we adjusted our worldview?”

Instead we see the tragic irony of crisis management and the promise of unlimited funds to bribe other countries on side. (Have they considered what will happen in those countries down the road?)

Worse still is this crazy and failed idea that anybody can attack and defeat suicidal terrorism that is dispersed across so many countries. Past attempts have shown clearly that there is no way you can defeat such a many headed hydra only by military might.

Particularly when that hydra most likely has access to various other weapons of mass destruction, the potential is very clearly there for a ghastly escalation which will make the WTC pale into insignificance.

Given that you have the attention of many in the Australian media, I really believe that you could do a great service by airing the alternative view.

Many in the Australian media would appear to have bought into this mad idea and are already salivating at the bit with the idea of “war”. How eagerly they use “war Speak..” and regurgitating the US view, prepare us for the forthcoming fight between absolute right (us/US) and absolute wrong (them/towelheads/anybody who disagrees.)

Haven’t we learned anything in the last 2000 years? In the war between suicidal followers of (a perverted) Islam and the Righteous American Christians, I fear that a great many ordinary world citizens could be losers.

The winners might inherit the earth but it may not be quite what they wanted.

I have gone on for long enough now.

Regards, Richard

US shouldn’t declare war on a country

Crikey,

I would like to question the legal parameters of the US attacking a country for this act of ‘terrorism’. Wouldn’t it be that for the US to declare war on a country, that country would have to be responsible and found guilty of an act of war. In this case, the perpetrators were Saudi nationals, were they not and lived in the US for some time before the attacks.

Hypothetically, if an Australian killed 30 Americans, in New York, in a random shooting spree is that an act of war upon the US, by Australia? I would think not. I hope not. Why should the very innocent people of Afghanistan (not including the oppressive Taliban leaders) be held responsible for a bunch of Saudis crashing a plane into American buildings and killing thousands?

I would say that there would be major legal ramifications if the US declared war, on Afghanistan. It is simply a criminal matter, a crime against humanity even and should be dealt with in the just and appropriate manner.

Troy

US lacks humility and cultural tolerance

Have you noticed how suddenly the entire ‘free-world’ (those countries that suck up to America) are all expected to rally against the scourge of terrorism.

Its almost as if there hasn’t been any terrorism unless it occurs against the United States. In the meantime, Americas corporations, particularly those in New York, actively sponsor the IRA in its armed struggle against the UK. Several times the British asked America for help. Eventually, under Clinton, intervention was forthcoming. However it was necessary for the British to concede and accept that the IRA (and others) were officially in a state of war against an invading force, and also to concede that the opposing point of view had some validity to talk in other words.

I think you can guess the point I’m making. At no time has the US shown the humility to accept that another culture has reasonable grounds to be disgruntled against the US. One quote from a NY citizen : are we really hated so much. Welcome to the rest of the world. Yes there are nations and mindsets that totally oppose the American culture. American capitalist democracy is an aggressive little bastard as you have pointed out on your site many times.

And at no point has anyone mentioned the possibility that the American culture might be flawed. Instead we see gut reaction alarmist military responses, in typical American fashion: throw some hardware at the problem, blow them out of the water.

It becomes sickeningly repetitive the common people who disagree with a rule, law, system or manifesto have the tiniest voice even if they are in a majority, so who is it that gives these people the rights to make the decisions they do?

Looking at a bigger picture perspective, if a country (such as but not limited to America) rapes the planet of its goodness (for instance) and then refuses all political approaches regarding its behaviour, then what other recourse is there. Either the perpetrator is made to see the error of their ways so that they choose to stop the offending behaviour, or they are forced to stop through other means for the greater good. Which country currently fits this model rather neatly?

If then, the target is so huge and so arrogant (or corrupt) that it ignores reasonable protest then a violent response might be justified. Who is to say that America’s version of expansionist capitalist democracy is the best and only way forward for mankind. Americans probably. Yet there are happy stable dictatorships (eg Cuba) who are not slaves to the dollar.

The construction of the twin towers of the WTC must have seemed like an arrogant 2 finger salute to opponents of capitalism, especially housing the financial markets that it did. And thusly it deserved to come down. How typically arrogant that so much was at stake in such a target rich environment. The hijackers could hardly have failed to hit something significant.

And now we are expected to rally around our hosts.

I am saddened by the attack, it was a horrendous action and a pointlessly destructive waste of human life. And it still hasn’t got through to the yanks. jeez.

Despite these opinions and observations, I am filled with a great desire to help in some way. After all, what do the terrorists know of the persuasions and lives of those they killed?

Is it me or did the story about the three people locked up in Kabul by the Taliban for allegedly preaching Christianity become a non-story very, very quickly?

Are they assumed to become ‘collateral damage’ once the US gets back to the business of bombing the shit out of soft targets?

As for whether the USA will be wiping out innocent civilians in its effort to preserve democracy – I’ve got three words: Dresden, Laos, Kosovo.

And was it just me or did many others shudder in horror at George W’s quote today that he was going to lead a ‘crusade’ against terrorism in the Middle East? Christians versus Moslems? Sounds familiar.

Thankyou so much for the island of common sense in a media ocean of jingoistic, emotive reportage.

Name withheld

US slaughtered the red Indians

Dear Stephen,

Have you a resident historian who can tell us what the greatest act of domestic terrorism in the USA was?

Was it the genocide of the original inhabitants i.e. Red Indians? Was it the disciplining of slaves in the ante-bellum South? Was it the Civil War? Was it the treatment of blacks from 1865 to the 1950s?

Also, what has been the greatest act of terrorism the USA has committed? Was it Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was it Vietnam? Was it the Gulf War? Was it the cruise missiles fired off in 1998?

Anon.

Rambo US military had it coming

Crikey,

Re the recent terrorism in the US, I’m just writing in to say I’m fairly perplexed by the whole reaction. Please don’t get me wrong – of course the attack is inexcusable. But so has been much of the Rambo behaviour of the US military over several decades.

There’s the US government’s shameless and counterproductive favouritism on Israel/Palestine, and their unconscionable, genocidal and hopelessly ineffective sanctions on Iraq. The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was unacceptable in terms of its “collateral damage”. And going back to Nixon and Kissinger’s time, they didn’t just bomb a few packed buildings and installations, they destroyed whole countries (Cambodia, Chile, etc) for no acceptable reason.

The US’s current modus operandi of “air strikes” seems to have been turned on them. Despite the horrible destructiveness of these events, the US was not attacked for no reason. To many people, sadly, this has been a long time coming.

I’m amazed at the uncritical fawning of the Australian media as well as the US media, to whichever US or Australian government/military spokesperson bobs up (even Alexander Downer). There have been endless solemn, pompous and often hypocritical pronouncements. Yet generally there’s been a shocking lack of insight and awareness, especially relating to the real effects of US “foreign policy” in many unfortunate parts of the world.

And all this talk of psychological trauma — what about those who lived through World War II? Without wanting to be unsympathetic, it seems to me that there’s a terrible infantilism here — in many of the US citizens (who weren’t directly affected by the tragedy), and in the media coverage. A hugely narcissistic tendency of people to get in front of cameras and “emote”, as people have actually been saying.

I think many people in the US will have to learn to grow up and take a responsible position in the world, as opposed to an arrogant and bullying one. They should stop cheering next time their military inflicts this sort of damage on another equally innocent population. Instead of indulging in what amounts to a state of ever-increasing infancy, narcissism and irresponsibility, very much assisted by the media and their spinning governments, they actually need to become genuinely responsible world citizens.

Anyway, in answer to your question, I’m suggesting that Crikey takes a media watchdog and commentary role on this issue, with an analysis of spin — including any whipping-up of racism (here as well as overseas) for political and electoral purposes.

The inevitable deaths resulting from the US PAYBACK, will just be the seeds of another cycle of violence. The choices and decisions of previous administrations are coming back to haunt America 2001.rather than looking outward this would seem an ideal time to have a real and honest debate about exactly what it means to be part of the new world order.

Hulo69

George Bush trained the bad guys

Dear Stephen,

Just an interesting observation: The majority of Eastern bogeymen that have given the USA so much grief over the years (Bin Towelhead, Saddam Moustache, Ho Chow Mien to name but a few) were trained or supported by the ‘Firm’ that George W senior used to head. Perhaps they didn’t like being thrown on the scrap heap when America had no further use for them.

Allan

Will our troops save the Yanks from getting dirty hands?

Various US leaders have said that they will not discriminate between the enemy and those who harbour them, train them, support them etc. I can’t help but see obvious hypocrisy with this position. Most of the terrorists that crashed the planes were living in the US, obtained their flight training in the US, were in some cases housed by ordinary Americans and, above all, it has been reported that 2 of the men had been trained in the US military. Some how I doubt this position will be taken categorically.

Raincoat’s article was good. Good to see some perspective put on the events and as he said, and it’s especially noticeable watching CNN (on cable), the Americans never ask ‘why?’. Why ‘they’ attacked them.

Little Johnny has already sent a naval force to the gulf. Are we going to have our very skilled land troops help out the US so that their very mediocre troops don’t have to get their hands dirty?

Cheers, Troy

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