It’s pretty hard to be among the 10 percent or so against Bush’s war in Afghanistan. Even though that’s 11 million of us in the U.S., the corporate media’s pro-war, pro-Bush stance can make you feel kind of lonely.

Has everyone really gone war-mad? Do the majority of people in this country and the world really think Bush’s war is going to bring justice, democracy and a good quality of life to all?

Dr. David Miller, from Scotland’s University of Stirling Media Research Institute, analyzed international public opinion polls and found that the world is against the war.

When alternatives to war – such as extradition and trial – were suggested, support for the bombings dropped markedly.

Funny thing about that – Miller found that the U.S. pollsters give little options to war.

When polls include the possibility of civilian casualties, Miller found, support for the war drops even more, including in the U.S., which was one of three countries whose majority supported the war.

Miller concludes that the most fundamental problem with the polls is that they assume the public has all the information. But the majority of the U.S. media has been distorting what is happening in Afghanistan, especially in the coverage of civilian casualties and alternatives to war.

One such story that has been kept out of the mainstream media, only being carried in alternative and non-corporate media, is of a study of the numbers of civilian casualties, conducted by Marc W. Herold, a professor of Economics, International Relations and Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire.

According to Herold’s study, more than 3,500 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan by U.S. bombs, and that number is climbing.

In a press release, Herold said he decided to do the study because of his concerns “that there would be significant civilian casualties caused by the bombing.” Herold tracked news agencies, major newspapers, and first-hand accounts. “I was able to find some mention of casualties in the foreign press,” he said, “but almost nothing in the U.S. press.”

The media, Miller said, also plays down any opposition or questioning of the Bush administration’s war policy. However, Miller’s analysis also found that sizable numbers of the U.S. population had reservations about the bombing.

There are significant numbers in the labor, civil rights and liberties, and other democratic and people’s organizations that have questions about the war policies aren’t quite willing to come out against them. The Bush administration has gone on the ideological offensive by claiming that if you are against their policies, you are helping the terrorists.

Yet some significant U.S. organizations have come out against the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, like the 50-million-member National Council of Churches, the American Public Health Association and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Even more have raised questions about it, like the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

According to 100 Nobel laureates, who signed a statement on the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, a vast class divide exists and “the only hope for the future lies in cooperative international action, legitimized by democracy.”

They go on to say, “Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As concerned citizens, we urge all governments to commit to these goals that constitute steps on the way to replacement of war by law.”

Bush’s war on terrorism goes in the exact opposite direction of the laureates’ vision. The bottom line is that the majority of the world’s people, including in the United States, would agree with the laureates. That’s why the Bush administration is conducting an unprecedented ideological public relations campaign for the war, with the corporate media’s help.

Many would agree that the U.S. corporate media, with a few notable exceptions, is pro-war and pro-Bush and that agenda prevents them from doing the job of a free press, which is to inform the public.

The censorship in the U.S. media must end. The American people have a right to know the full impact of a war, as well as the meaningful alternatives to it – alternatives that would bring real justice for the Sept. 11 victims and an end to terrorism, not continue it.


Related Articles:
World opinion opposes the attack on Afghanistan
By Dr. David Miller, Stirling Media Research Institute,
University of Stirling 21 November 2001

Prof. Marc Herold, of the University of New Hampshire, reveals the number of civilian casualties killed in the US bombing of Afghanistan to be over 3700. (From Democracy Now)

Our best point the way
On the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prize,
100 Nobel laureates warn that our security hangs on
environmental and social reform

Friday, December 7, 2001 – The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world’s dispossessed.

Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate and manifestly unjust.It cannot be expected,
therefore, that in all cases they will be content to await the
beneficence of the rich.

If then we permit the devastating power of modern weaponry to spread through this combustible human landscape, we invite a conflagration that can engulf both rich and poor.

The only hope for the future lies in co-operative international action, legitimized by democracy.

It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world.

These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move toward the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace.

Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As concerned citizens, we urge all governments to commit to these goals that
constitute steps on the way to replacement of war by law.To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all.

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