The weekly rant

I heard Congressman Jim Colby (R-Ariz.) on National Public Radio (NPR) Jan. 18. He said it would cost $8 billion or so over the next 10 years to rebuild Afghanistan. (The new Afghan government puts it around $30 billion.)

Of that, how much will the U.S. pay, the interviewer asked Colby, who said $1 billion, or 15 percent. How can we convince the rest of the world to pick up the tab when the U.S. is only going to pay 15 percent, the interviewer asked.

Colby’s answer pretty much sums up the foreign policy of the Bush administration and the essence of imperialism. He said the U.S. paid for all the military costs so it’s only right that other countries pay for the rebuilding. What can lead someone to believe such nonsense?

The U.S. paid to bomb and destroy an impoverished country, killing innocent civilians (by some accounts over 4,000) and now the rest of the world has to clean up the mess? This flies in the face of even the most basic lessons that parents – especially working class parents – impart to their children.

Parents are always trying to teach their children that they have to clean up their own mess. The money the U.S. paid to bomb villages was money that could have been used on schools, Social Security and other social programs here at home.

“Destroy the village so we can save it” was the war philosophy pushed by the pro-Vietnam War administrations back in the day. That bizarre imperial logic has morphed into a newer and even more bizarre logic for the present-day war on terrorism: We destroy, you rebuild, we maintain control.

The Bush administration created an illusion that this war is a coalition effort, that the whole world was for the bombing of Afghanistan and unleashing the U.S. military might on terrorism.

True, the whole world was unanimous in its condemnation of the terrorist acts of Sept. 11. The whole world was unanimous in its sympathy and solidarity with the American people and the victims’ families. The whole world was unanimous in its desire to end the scourge of terrorism and bring the perpetrators to justice. Those were the points of unity.

But the Bush administration has its own agenda with this war: to establish unrivaled military, economic and political control for U.S. monopoly corporations – an agenda that is not in the interest of the overwhelming majority of people here and around the world.

The majority of the world argued for other methods, not war:

• Solutions through the U.N. and international criminal court was one option, along with other political and diplomatic measures;

• Creating a real international coalition of law enforcement agencies that could apprehend terrorist criminals and intelligence information;

• Freezing assets of terrorists organizations, even if that means shutting down banks that launder their money. These were all options that could have been used. Some would argue that these would take a long time. But what about Bush’s war on terrorism?

According to the administration, this too is an “unending” and “long-term” war. What about rebuilding the countries that are destroyed in this military wake? Already they are talking about 10 years of rebuilding Afghanistan.

Considering this policy has not resulted in the apprehension of the suspected mastermind, what about the thousands of innocent lives lost to this war and any future wars or terrorist actions? Lives cannot be rebuilt.

If Sept. 11 taught us anything it was the horrors of mass murder, terrorism and war. So what does the Bush policy of “we’ll pay for death and destruction, you pay for the clean-up,” teach us?

Terrie Albano can be reached atTalbano@pww.org

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