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Column: War against terrorism wages on

The war against terrorism has got to stop now. Every night I read the newspapers and see headlines screaming that the George W. Bush administration is finding new excuses to wage an all-out war and regime change in Iraq. Usually these headlines do not emphasize that this war is largely about oil interests. We need to look at the upcoming war on Iraq in its historical context.

The war on Iraq is a continuum in the quest for infinite justice, or the war against terrorism. On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of people were killed as commercial airplanes were used as bombs in New York and Washington D.C. On Sept. 11, soon after I found out what had happened I realized that many more were going to die because of this act. For weeks, I wondered when I would read in the newspaper that the bombings of Afghanistan had started. Finally, they did.

It has been interesting to see how patriotism has manifested itself since that day. High-flying flags and tears shed over the victims of the attack have been used to justify more killing. Though many Americans have tried to assert that the war should not be fought in their names, they have largely been ignored. Their tears and concerns have been incorporated into a larger hegemonic pro-war discourse. Patriotism cannot be expressed through shopping, flying flags and cutting down on civil liberties. We need to be careful about how we express love for our country.

It is not that I don't love my country. The majority of my best friends and family are Americans. I have lived here all my life and have been given many opportunities. Many of the people I look up to are in the United States of America. But I am greatly disturbed at the historical amnesia that I witness around me. America was built on the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of African people. Since the initial colonization of these lands, the United States has become the most powerful country in the world. Throughout history, the U. S. government has engaged in hundreds of terrorist acts: bombing hundreds of sovereign nations worldwide and overthrowing numerous leaders'Äîin Vietnam, Korea, Chile, Somalia, Japan, Iraq, Bosnia, Columbia, Guatemala, Iran and Haiti, just to name a few.

Some who defend the war against terrorism say that we need to protect our way of life, our values of great democracy and freedom. The United States has never been the bastion of freedom and democracy that it projects itself to be. Let's be realistic here. The U.S. government has supported pro-U.S. governments, whether they were democratic or not; it has used the rhetoric of democracy to support its own economic interests.

The idea that the United States is a healthy democracy also needs to be questioned. Right now, thousands of detainees are still being denied civil liberties in prisons all over the country. Millions of Americans are disenfranchised in state and federal prisons, and/or because they do not have the money necessary to pay for political power. Many of the Americans that will fight this war have not had the same opportunities as students here at Duke. It is time for all of us to take responsibility for U.S. history and the present state of affairs. We have already contributed to the deaths of half a million Iraqi children under economic sanctions. How many more people will U.S. foreign policy kill?

While we prepare to spend billions of dollars on an unjust war, people around the world suffer due to global corporate policies and U.S. imperialism. Germany, France, Russia and China have said they will not support unilateral action by the U.S. government. Germany has refused to support an attack even if endorsed by the U.N.

The United Nations has a process to deal with arms inspections, and it does not allow for unilateral military action by the U.S. Many have questioned if Iraq even has the massive weapons of destruction that Bush has alleged. Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector, has publicly questioned the threat that Iraq poses.

The lack of dialogue regarding pre-emptive strikes on Iraq is a problem. Where are the public policy panels? Where are the teach-ins by the literature program and history departments? The Duke community needs to take a look at what is happening and ask themselves what this war is about and for whom the Bush administration is fighting. A war on Iraq will certainly not be waged in my name.


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