intellectuals say 'war on terror' is unjust
A group of 128 US intellectuals opposed to the notion that the
"war on terrorism" is a "just war" has sent
a letter to European counterparts calling for "a sane and
frank European criticism of the Bush administration's war policy."
The letter challenges the framing of the war as a struggle
between good and evil, as well as President George W. Bush's
explanation for anti-US sentiments. It was conceived as a
response to an earlier letter defending the war on terrorism,
signed by 60 American intellectuals, which recently received
wide publicity in European newspapers.
"We felt that their notion of 'just war' should not go
unchallenged," signer Edward S. Herman told AFP Monday. The
letter "was in some ways trying to provide an antidote for
the reflexive hyper nationalism in the American press and in
Washington in general -- and in the end in the American public
-- partly because the press has been uncritical," said Joel
Bleifuss, editor of the independent socialist newspaper In These
Besides Herman and Bleifuss, signers included author Gore Vidal,
historian Howard Zinn, anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott and
international lawyer Francis A. Boyle.
"Many informed people both within and outside your
governments are aware of the dangerous folly of the war path
followed by the Bush administration. But few dare speak out
honestly," said the letter, which was circulated last week.
"They are afraid of being labeled 'anti-American' -- the
same label absurdly applied to Americans themselves who speak
out against war policies and whose protests are easily drowned
out in the chorus of chauvinism dominating the US media,"
"A sane and frank European criticism of the Bush
administration's war policy can help anti-war Americans make
their voices heard." The letter also challenged Bush's
explanation for anti-US sentiments that motivated the September
11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
"In this ideological context, the question raised after
September 11, 'Why do they hate us?' has only one answer: 'Because
we are so good!' Or, as is commonly claimed, they hate us
because of 'our values.'
"Most US citizens are unaware that the effect of US power
abroad has nothing to do with the 'values' celebrated at home
and indeed often serves to deprive people in other countries of
the opportunity to attempt to enjoy them, should they care to do
so," it said.
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