End terrorism

The horrific scenes of children being carried out of the Russian school in Beslan and the mangled buses in Beersheba, Israel, have sickened and outraged, once again, all peace- and justice-loving people the world over. Deep sympathies from this newspaper and our readers are sent to the victims’ families. We unequivocally condemn these attacks.

These acts come as the U.S. commemorates the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country. Since that day, the Bush administration has tried to use terrorism and those awful attacks as a pretext to shove onto the world its own reactionary, narrow interests. They use it to justify unilateral, preemptive war, putting themselves above international law.

You are either with us or the terrorists, Bush tells the world. Thereby anyone who opposes his militaristic, pro-corporate, ultra-right agenda is a terrorist. Dick Cheney went so far as to suggest a terrorist attack may take place if people vote for John Kerry: a fear-mongering threat that should be roundly condemned by all, including Republicans.

Throughout the U.S., millions are coming together in opposition to the Bush agenda. Bush may be terrified of his opposition. But political dissent is not terrorism, as Bush officials suggest. It is our democratic American birthright.

This editorial page has consistently condemned individual terrorist attacks and terrorism as a tactic, by individuals and by states. We condemn bombings of civilians whether in Spain, Israel, Iraq, occupied Palestine, India, Ireland, Kenya, Afghanistan, or Indonesia; CIA-organized terrorism against Cuba, Chile or the Sandinista government in Nicaragua; the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, women’s health clinics and the Atlanta Olympic Games; and the hijackings of airplanes and using them as weapons on Sept. 11, 2001. Unfortunately the list of such attacks is long. And these attacks have increased as a result of Bush’s “war on terror.”

But in so doing, we seek to expose who really benefits from terrorism and therefore has an interest in supporting it — financially, organizationally and politically.

We have pointed to the roots and support of terrorism in ultra-right ideology and imperialism. Osama bin Laden was trained by the CIA in U.S. imperialism’s Cold War attacks on the revolutionary, democratic government of Afghanistan. Terrorist networks thrive because imperialism stamps out democratic movements. Nature abhors a vacuum so reaction steps into the void.

The Republicans “war on terror” uses false arguments designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator: fear and hatred. It has nothing to do with really ending terrorism. It plays on and promotes anti-Arab, anti-Islamic racism. The administration has rounded up Muslims and Arab immigrants in this country. It has justified invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. But it has not made any of us more secure. Billions of taxpayers’ money has gone to this effort. The grim milestone of 1,000 U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq has been reached. Corporations like Halliburton are profiting from Bush’s “war on terror,” but communities are crumbling. Police and firefighters, “first responders,” are being laid off. Public schools and hospitals are being forced to close. Racial profiling and racist violence continues unabated. Working families are facing the economic terrorism of joblessness, low wages and insecurity.

Violence, terrorism and national security are not just issues for the ultra-right to campaign on. The democratic, working-class and progressive movements have a stake in preventing and ending terrorism and violence and building a safer country and world. These issues should be part of the working-class, left and people’s agenda. The struggles for peace, economic and social justice, and international solidarity demand it.

There are solutions to preventing terrorism: Working within the framework of international law and cooperation, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, instead of unilateral, illegal action, is one solution. Pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq is another step. Anti-imperialist, pro-people methods have to take the place of “endless war,” brutal and cyclical violence.

After the Sept. 11 attacks the world sent its condolences, support and solidarity to the American people. The world’s people are not “against” us — as Bush would have the country believe — but against Bush’s agenda. And to defeat that in November would put us on the road to preventing more terrorism.