Statement by the United National Antiwar Committee
The U.S. government has used the pretext of finding Osama bin Laden to justify their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Now that bin Laden is dead, they can no longer claim this motive. Our demand remains the same: Bring the troops home NOW!
The Obama Administration does not intend to end military operations. The war apparatus of weaponry, drones, bases, mercenaries, and reliance on highly secret special forces like JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) to do its dirty work with no oversight by Congress or the public has increased along with an escalating war budget. Violence and war are the conflict resolution methods preferred by the U.S. leadership.
In pursuit of oil and domination, the U.S. so-called “War on Terror” has caused the deaths of tens of thousands Afghans, well over a million Iraqis, as well as the loss of 6,000 U.S. soldiers. To pay for this bloodshed and destruction, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars to expand the war machine and benefit the rich that could have gone for jobs, education, health care and green energy alternatives. As poll after poll has demonstrated, the U.S. population has turned against these wars and wants the troops brought home.
President Obama is using the assassination of bin Laden to re-legitimize U.S. militarism and to build up popular support for U.S. military actions abroad and his own re-election at home. The country is put on high alert to create an atmosphere of heightened fear and anger, a tactic frequently used when Americans turn against government policies. Soon after President Obama announced the killing of bin Laden, hyper-patriotic flag waving demonstrations broke out on campuses, in front of the White House and even at baseball games.
The jingoistic atmosphere engendered by Obama’s extra-judicial assassination of bin Laden has put Muslim Americans in jeopardy. It has increased Islamophobia across America. After the announcement of bin Laden’s murder, racists defiled a mosque in Portland, Maine with the slogan “Osama today, Islam tomorrow.” In Oregon, a Muslim center had to cancel an event after receiving threats. Mosques across the country, fearful of attacks, have increased security. This is the ugly impact at home of the so-called “War on Terror” abroad. UNAC urges the entire antiwar movement to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters against these racist attacks.
The administration will no doubt use the ‘successful’ mission to justify further secrecy, denying any kind of democratic oversight over U.S. foreign policy. It sets a precedent for saying the U.S. has the right to attack anyone that the administration designates an enemy at any place, any time and legitimizes secret renditions, torture and indefinite incarceration without trial. These increased Executive powers are included in current legislation and reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act and must be opposed.
Our democracy, civil rights, and civil liberties are threatened. They will argue that the need for secrecy makes it even more important to prosecute Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and WikiLeaks for publicizing documents that expose the lies and criminal behavior of the government. On top of that, it will be used to further authorize FBI harassment and grand jury probes against antiwar and Palestine solidarity activists. All of these victims of the U.S. government are put in further jeopardy by the atmosphere created by the assassination of bin Laden. Eventually those fighting the massive cutbacks and attacks on unions will become the victims of this restriction of our civil liberties.
The extra-judicial assassination of bin Laden, like the NATO bombing of Libya, is clearly designed to remind the masses of workers and students rising up in the Middle East against U.S.-backed dictators that Washington is still boss. It is also an attempt to roll back the growing opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan by war-weary working people in the U.S. There is no possibility that this assassination will bring security, democracy, or peace in the Middle East or America.
We will not be intimidated. In spite of U.S. grandstanding and the wars without end, millions of people around the world are throwing off the yoke of years of repression and claiming their right to determine their own destiny. The Arab Spring shows that people will not allow fear and militarization to suppress the yearning for freedom. People across the U.S. are not fooled by government lies and have turned against the wars and occupations. The unions and their supporters in the thousands in Wisconsin stood up against the corporate-controlled state government to fight back against the attack on collective bargaining and the cut backs of social services. Their actions inspired many and others will follow.
This is the time to forge unity and to step up our opposition to U.S. wars and occupations. We must stand with those who are victimized and those who struggle for freedom and a better life. We need to build a movement independent of all political parties that mobilizes powerful mass actions to challenge reactionary government policies. We need to march and continue to march until we meet our goals of peace and justice.
Bring the Troops, War Contractors, Mercenaries
and War Dollars Home NOW!
U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya NOW!
NO to Islamophobia!
Hands Off the Arab Spring!