“I keep thinking of how awful it was to hear that there were people actually celebrating on 9-11. Now I look at the TV and see the same thing.”
-Family member of a man killed in the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001.
It has been nearly ten years since September 11th, 2001. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed. More than six thousand members of the United States military have been killed. Trillions of dollars have been wasted. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children have been detained and imprisoned in the “war on terror.” Torture is now an acceptable component of U.S. foreign policy. Racism is more deeply entrenched in our culture.
Eight years to the day (May 1, 2003) after President George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, he called the killing of bin Laden a “victory for America.” Heads of State around the world added to a chorus of congratulations to President Barack Obama and the United States. Crowds gathered in New York City, Washington DC, and other places around the country waving American flags, singing patriotic songs, and chanting “USA, USA.”
This hateful euphoria demonstrates a nation bent on revenge, not justice.
Originally sponsored by the U.S. and now at the top of U.S. military “Most Wanted” target lists,supporters of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda will be emboldened by these events. Our call for an end to violence applies to all sides of the so-called “Global War on Terror,” and echoes responses recently posted on independent Afghan Facebook pages.
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964, Martin Luther King said: “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace…..If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.”
If we are to move beyond revenge, aggression, and retaliation, we must end the wars–declared and undeclared–now being waged by the United States.
It is beyond time to bring the troops home. The White House must begin a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces abroad.
We must not celebrate the death of one accused of mass murder while justifying or ignoring the death of hundreds of thousands due to our own violence.
In the barbarism of war, what had been unthinkable at one moment becomes routine the next. We must end the cycle of violence now. (The above statement can also be accessed on WRL’s website here.)
Resources for more information:
Rethink Afghanistan: Osama bin Laden is Dead: Bring the Troops Home
Justice or Vengeance: by Phyllis Bennis
On Osama Bin Laden’s Death: by Chris Hedges
The New Yorker’s coverage and commentary
Death of Osama Bin Laden ‘pretty irrelevant': Robert Fisk
Other Fisk writings:
Pro-democracy Afghan Facebook page, “Love Afghanistan”
“The Ability to Kill Osama Bin Laden Does Not Make America Great”: by Kai Wright
“What Happens if We Stay in Afghanistan?” by the South Asia Solidarity Initiative
War Resisters League Statement on September 11, 2001