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This figure does not include those who died later of bomb injuries, or those who died
from cold and hunger due to their homes being destroyed by bombs, or the deaths from
exposure or hunger among the hundreds of thousands of internal refugees fleeing the
bombing. Neither does it include the thousands of "military" deaths or the hundreds of
prisoners who were executed or otherwise slaughtered by Washington's new "freedom
fighter" allies in conjunction with American military and intelligence operatives. In the
final analysis, the body count will also be missing the inevitable victims of cluster
bombs-turned-landmines and those who perish more slowly from depleted-uranium-
caused sicknesses.
There will be no minutes of silence for the Afghan dead, no memorial services attended
by high American officials and entertain-ment celebrities, no messages of condolence
sent by heads of state, no millions of dollars raised for the victims' families. Yet, all in all,
it was a bloodbath that more than rivals that of September 11.

And of the thousands dead in Afghanistan, how many, can it be said with any certainty,
had played a conscious role in the American catastrophe?

According to the video of Osama bin Laden presented to the world by the US
government, he himself didn't find out the exact date of the terrorist act until five days
before it took place, and most of the hijackers did not know they were part of a suicide
mission until they prepared to board the planes. (The FBI reportedly came to the latter
conclusion long before the video was made public.6) Given that, it appears eminently
safe to say that exceedingly few other people in the world were knowingly in on the plot,
perhaps a number that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Consequently, if the
American bombing campaign in Afghanistan was designed to kill the actual perpetrators,
it was a fool's mission; a violent fool.

If Timothy McVeigh, perpetrator of the terrible bombing of the federal building in
Oklahoma City in 1995, had not been quickly caught, would the United States have
bombed the state of Michigan or any of the other places he called home? No, they would
have instituted a mammoth manhunt until they found him and punished him. But in
Afghanistan, the United States proceeded virtually on the assumption that everyone who
supported the Taliban government, native or foreigner, was 1) a "terrorist" and 2)
morally, if not legally, stained with the blood of September 11”or perhaps one or
another anti-US terrorist action of the past”and was thus fair game.

However, when the shoe is on the other foot, even American officials can perceive which
is the honorable path to walk. Speaking of Russia's problem with Chechnya in 1999, the
US State Department's second in command, Strobe Talbott, urged Moscow to show
"restraint and wisdom". Restraint, he said, "means taking action against real ter-rorists,
but not using indiscriminate force that endangers innocents."7

Suggesting a moral equivalency between the United States and terrorists (or, during the
cold war, with communists) never fails to inflame American anger. The terrorists
purposely aimed to kill civil-ians, we are told, while any non-combatant victims of the
American bombings were completely accidental.

Whenever the United States goes into one of its periodic bombing frenzies and its
missiles take the lives of numerous civilians, this is called "collateral damage"”inflicted
by the Fates of War”for the real targets, we are invariably told, were military.

But if day after day, in one country after another, the same scenario takes place”
dropping prodigious quantities of powerfully lethal ordnance from very high altitudes
with the full knowledge that large numbers of civilians will perish or be maimed, even
without missiles going "astray"”what can one say about the intentions of the American
military? The best, the most charitable, thing that can be said is that they simply don't
care. They want to bomb and destroy for certain political ends and they don't particularly
care if the civilian population suffers grievously.

In Afghanistan, when, on successive days in October, US gun-ships machine-gunned and
cannoned the remote farming village of Chowkar-Karez, killing as many as 93 civilians,
a Pentagon official was moved to respond at one point: "the people there are dead
because we wanted them dead", while US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
commented: "I cannot deal with that particular village."8

Often, the United States actually does want to cause the suffering, hoping that it will lead
people to turn against the government. This was a recurrent feature of the bombing of
Yugoslavia in 1999. As will be seen in the "War Criminals" chapter in the present
volume, US/NATO officials”in their consummate arrogance”freely admitted this again
and again.

And in Afghanistan we have the example of the chief of the British Defense Staff, Adm.
Sir Michael Boyce, declaring that the bombing will continue "until the people of the
country themselves recognize that this is going to go on until they get the leadership
changed."9

Such a policy fits very well into the FBI definition of international terrorism, which
speaks of the use of force or violence against persons or property "to intimidate or coerce
a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political
or social objectives."

Speak no evil, so Americans will see no evil

In reaction to a number of gruesome images of Afghan bombing victims, and expressed
European and Middle Eastern concern about civilian casualties, the American media
strove to downplay the significance of such deaths. The chairman of Cable News
Network (CNN) advised the news staff that it "seems perverse to focus too much on the
casualties or hardship in Afghanistan."10 A Fox Network report on the war wondered
why journalists should bother covering civilian deaths at all. "The question I have," said
the host, "is civilian casualties are historically, by definition, a part of war, really. Should
they be as big news as they've been?" His guest from National Public Radio replied: "No.
Look, war is about killing people. Civilian casualties are unavoidable." Another guest, a
columnist from the national magazine U.S. News & World Report, concurred: "Civilian
casualties are not...news. The fact is that they accompany wars."11

But if in fact the September 11 attacks were an act of war, as the world has been told
repeatedly by George W. Bush and his minions, then the casualties of the World Trade
Center were clearly civilian war casualties. Why then have the media devoted so much
time to their deaths?
These were of course the only kind of deaths Americans wanted to hear about, and they
could actually become furious when told of Afghan deaths. A memo circulated at the
Panama City, Florida News Herald warned editors: "DO NOT USE photos on Page 1A
showing civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan. Our sister paper in Fort
Walton Beach has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of threatening e-mails
and the like."12

The American powers-that-be can indeed count on support for their wars from the
American people and the corporate media. It would take an exemplary research effort to
uncover a single American daily newspaper that unequivocally opposed the US bombing
of Afghanistan.

Or a single American daily newspaper that unequivocally opposed the US-NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia two years earlier.

Or a single American daily newspaper that unequivocally opposed the US bombing of
Iraq in 1991.

Is this not remarkable? In a supposedly free society, with a suppos-edly free press, and
almost 1,500 daily newspapers, the odds should be decidedly against this being the case.
But that's the way it is.

The Mecca of hypocrisy

After the terrorist attacks in the United States, Secretary of State Colin Powell
condemned "people who believe with the destruction of buildings, with the murder of
people, they can somehow achieve a political purpose."13

Does that not precisely describe what the United States did in 1999 when it bombed
Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights? And is this not the same Colin Powell who directed
the horrific bombings of Panama and Iraq? Do American leaders think that no one has
any memory? Or do they simply not care what people think?

More hypocrisy of a breathtaking kind: President Bush and other officials have routinely
and angrily declared that it's not only terrorists that the US is going to be waging war
against, it's any nation which harbors terrorists. However, in the chapter "Haven for
Terrorists", the reader will see that there are few, if any, nations that harbor more
terrorists than the United States.

Winning Afghan hearts and minds

Bombs were not all that fell from the sky from American airplanes. There were also food
packages. Was it not something inordinately strange for the United States to be dropping
both bombs and food on the people of Afghanistan at the same time?
If the Japanese had dropped some nice packages of teriyaki along with the bombs at Pearl
Harbor, would Americans and the world have looked more kindly on the Japanese?

Perhaps if the September 11 terrorists had dropped some hot pastrami sandwiches on
downtown Manhattan before their hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center...

But these things work, of course. Millions of Americans felt a rush of pride about their
country's magnanimity. The United States, the inventor and perfecter of modern
advertising and public relations, had done it again.

And in the same vein, there were the many flyers dropped on the people of Afghanistan.
Here's one dropped around October 20:

Do you enjoy being ruled by the Taliban? Are you proud to live a life of fear? Are you
happy to see the place your family has owned for generations a terrorist training site? Do
you want a regime that is turning Afghanistan into the Stone Age and giving Islam a bad
name? Are you proud to live under a government that harbors terrorists? Are you proud
to live in a nation ruled by extreme fundamentalists? The Taliban have robbed your
country of your culture and heritage. They have destroyed your national monuments, and
cultural artifacts. They rule by force, violence, and fear based on the advice of foreigners.
They insist that their form of Islam is the one and only form, the true form, the divine
form. They see themselves as religious experts, even though they are ignorant. They kill,
commit injustice, keep you in poverty and claim it is in the name of God.

In the same spirit, the following flyer might be dropped over the United States:

Do you enjoy being ruled by the Republican-Democratic Party? Are you proud to live a
life of fear, insecurity and panic? Are you happy to see the place your family has owned
for generations taken away by a bank? Do you want a regime that is turning the United
States into a police state and giving Christianity a bad name? Are you proud to live under
a government that harbors hundreds of terrorists in Miami.?

Are you proud to live in a nation ruled by extreme capitalists and religious conservatives?
The capitalists have robbed your country of your equality and justice. They have
destroyed your national parks and rivers and corrupted your media, your elections and
your personal relations. They rule by threat of unemployment, hunger, and homelessness
based on the advice of a god called the market. They insist that their form of organizing a
society and remaking the world is the one and only form, the true form, the divine form.
They see themselves as morality experts, even though they are ignorant. They bomb,
invade, assassinate, torture, overthrow, commit injustice, keep you and the world in
poverty and claim it is in the name of God.


Rebuilding Afghanistan?
"U.S. Meeting Envisions Rebuilding Afghanistan" read the headline in the Washington
Post of November 21. After a one-day meeting in Washington of leaders from two dozen
nations and international organizations, US and Japanese officials said they had
developed an "action program" for the long-term rebuilding of the war-ravaged country.

This well may have thrown another log on the feel-good-about-America fire that has been
warming the frazzled citizenry since September 11. But like much of that fuel, there was
likely a lot more propaganda here than substance.

It's a remarkable pattern. The United States has a long record of bombing nations,
reducing entire neighborhoods, and much of cities, to rubble, wrecking the infrastructure,
ruining the lives of those the bombs didn't kill. And afterward doing nothing to repair the
damage.

Though it was promised in writing that the US would pursue its "traditional policy" of
"postwar reconstruction", no compensation was given to Vietnam after a decade of
devastation. During the same war, Laos and Cambodia were equally wasted by US
bombing. They, too, qualified to become beneficiaries of Washington's "traditional
policy" of zero reconstruction.

Then came the American bombings of Grenada and Panama in the 1980s. Hundreds of
Panamanians petitioned the Washington-controlled Organization of American States as
well as American courts, all the way up to the US Supreme Court, for "just
compensation" for the damage caused by Operation Just Cause (this being the not-
tongue-in-cheek name given to the American invasion and bombing). They got nothing,
as did the people of Grenada.

It was Iraq's turn next, in 1991: 40 days and nights of relentless bombing; destruction of
power, water and sanitation systems and everything else that goes into the making of a
modern society. Everyone knows how much the United States has done to help rebuild
Iraq.

In 1999 we had the case of Yugoslavia: 78 days of round-the-clock bombing,
transforming an advanced industrial state into virtually a third world country; the
reconstruction needs were awesome. Two years later, June 2001, after the Serbs had
obediently followed Washington's wishes to oust Slobodan Milosevic and turn him over
to the international court in the Hague, a "donors' conference" was convened by the
European Commission and the World Bank, supposedly concerned with Yugoslavia's
reconstruction. It turned out to be a conference concerned with Yugoslavia's debts more
than anything else.

Serbian premier Zoran Djindjic, regarded as highly pro-Western, said, in a July interview
with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, that he felt betrayed by the West,
declaring:
It would have been better if the donors' conference had not taken place and instead we
had been given 50 million DM in cash...In August we should be getting the first
instalment, 300 million Euro. Suddenly we are being told that 225 million Euro will be
withheld for the repayment of old debts which in part were accumulated during Tito's
time. Two-thirds of that sum are fines and interest, accrued because Milosevic refused for
ten years to pay back these credits. We shall get the remaining 75 million Euro in
November at the earliest. Such are the principles in the West, we are being told. This
means a seriously ill person is to be given medicine after he is dead. Our critical months
will be July, August and September.14

By the end of 2001 it was 2½ years since Yugoslavian bridges had fallen into the
Danube, the country's factories and homes destroyed, its transportation torn apart. Yet
Yugoslavia has still not received any funds for reconstruction from the architect and
leading perpetrator of the bombing campaign, the United States.

Whoever winds up ruling Afghanistan will find it conspicuously difficult to block the US
military from building what it wants to build there for its own purposes. As for the United
States doing some building for the Afghan people, they may have a long wait. In marked
contrast to the Washington Post headline of November 21 noted above was the report in
the same newspaper five weeks later: "The Bush administration has made clear that
because it has paid for most of the military campaign that made the new government
possible, it expects other countries, especially Japan and European nations, to lead the
way in rebuilding the country."15

As if the American bombing campaign had been carried out at the request of, or for the
benefit of, Japan and Europe, and not for Washington's own interests!

Following their bombing of Iraq, the United States wound up with military bases in Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf region.

Following their bombing of Yugoslavia, the United States wound up with military bases
in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia.

Following their bombing of Afghanistan, the United States appears on course to wind up
with military bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and perhaps
elsewhere in the area.

The bombing, invasion and occupation of Afghanistan were conducted”apart from the
primitive lashing out in blind revenge against...somebody”primarily for the purpose of

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