Austin Against War Statement on U.S. Airstrikes
Call to End Bombings on Afghanistan Cities
Austin Against War has repeatedly called for a judicious response to the tragic attacks of Sept. 11. We were encouraged by Bush’s refusal to implicate Islam as a religion, his seeming reluctance to bomb Kabul, and the acknowledgement of the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Afghanistan. As America began to recover from its initial grief at the horrific atrocities of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, cooler heads seemed to prevail.
Now, however, we are witnessing the sort of indiscriminate attack that we feared most: the bombing of cities with large civilian populations. People are dying simply because they live in the same country as the man the U.S. claims to have coordinated the Sept. 11 attacks.
We share the nation’s desire to bring the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks to justice. But further bombings only add to the tragedy. Kabul does not have sophisticated military technology; there is nothing there to be destroyed, except people. Afghanistan is, as one reporter put it, “the most devastated, ravaged, starvation-haunted and tragic country in the world” (Fisk, Independent, 23 Sept., 2001).
And in any event, the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks were not aided by military technology of any sort in any Afghan city. Bombing cities will do nothing to prevent this sort of unsophisticated terrorist attack in the future. On the contrary, American bombings will only serve to increase anti-American sentiment throughout the world.
During the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S.-directed NATO bombings struck alleged military targets in Iraq. We know the cost: bomb shelters harboring innocent, terrified civilians were destroyed; hospitals, airports, water sanitation facilities, and civilian infrastructures were destroyed; and the result was and continues to be massive civilian casualties. But despite this, Sadam Hussein remains in power.
Autocratic regimes such as Afghanistan and Iraq have caused tremendous suffering among their own people and are consequently not disturbed when the United States causes more suffering. Bombing cities results not only in a tragic loss of life, it is demonstrably useless at achieving American policy objectives.
We call for an end to the bombings at once.