In a quick scan of the world, let’s look at what has happened in the name of “fighting terrorism.” The right-wing Israeli government is invading Palestinian lands, arresting thousands of Palestinians, forcing Palestinian children to go through military checkpoints and killing Palestinian people with U.S.-made bullets, rockets and bulldozers. None of which has made the Israeli people any safer or more secure.

In the name of “fighting terrorism,” hundreds of people in Nepal have been killed by that government. Hundreds of Colombian trade unionists and human rights activists have been murdered. The most cherished and hard-won U.S. Constitutional rights are being trampled. All this in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

And, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” South Asia is on the brink of nuclear war.

I was in India just a couple of months ago. Now this secular state is supposedly on the brink of nuclear confrontation with its neighbor, the Islamic state of Pakistan.

There are so many things I could rant about on this. I could start with the British colonialism that started it all. Perhaps if the fires of partition hadn’t been stoked in 1947, the country would have stayed united and secular – with Muslim, Hindu and other religions living together.

Then there is the Cold War. U.S. imperialism fed the most reactionary forces in Pakistan to gain supremacy over the Soviet Union, because India maintained a non-aligned, independent policy and friendly relations with the USSR.

Next on my rant list is religious fanatacism, the right-wing and terrorism – three things that seem to go hand-in-hand-in-hand. Pakistan’s military, with help from the U.S., trained and supported those who were willing to commit terror attacks to further the nefarious religious, political and economic interests of private property.

But Pakistan does not have a monopoly on right-wing extremism. India’s current government is led by a political party that made its name with a far-right Hindu nationalist program. These Hindu forces are threatening the secular nature of India itself.

For now, though, I’ll focus on the war on terrorism, since it provides the basis for this situation in South Asia. The Bush administration used the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to push its most reactionary pro-U.S. corporate and ultra-right agenda, unleashing a torrent of more violence and war.

The Bush administration’s war has been a failure. It has not made our country, nor the world, any safer. The only thing this war is making safer is the ability of monopoly corporations – in particular the oil, energy and armaments – to control labor and resources and make profit.

War and military intervention will not end terrorism. They feed it, they breed it and they are cut from the same cloth of exploitation, reaction and repression.

Many condemned the Sept. 11 attacks, but did not and do not support a war response. Instead, they called for a measured response, utilizing legal, political, diplomatic and economic approaches to end terrorism – utilizing international bodies, like the International Criminal Court, to apprehend, try and convict those responsible. Had these forces been in a stronger position, all of this might not be happening.

These are dangerous times. And it will take courage – the kind of courage that comes from getting up every morning and going to work, or looking for work, to support yourself and your family. The courage that comes from the working class and everyday people of all nationalities and races, ages and abilities, to join together and say, “Enough!”

Congress needs to hear from courageous people. Courageous people need to register and vote in the November elections. Courageous people need to speak out and challenge the war on terrorism.

War is not a solution. Only unity and international cooperation to isolate the far-right, including the Bush administration, will make us safer.

The author can be reached at talbano@pww.org

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