(This commentary piece also appears in THE VETERAN, 2001 (Volume 31, Number 1).)
Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement on September 11 Attacks
The terrorist attacks on September 11 horrified and outraged people throughout this country and the world. Within hours, the World Trade Centers' twin towers and part of the Pentagon lay in flaming ruins with many thousand injured, missing or killed. Firefighters, EMS workers, police and ordinary citizens mounted a heroic rescue effort but sadly, the death toll is now approaching 7000**.
After the initial shock and disbelief wore off, angry voices began calling for retaliation and revenge. The President declared war against international terrorism and Congress quickly voted to give the White House unrestricted authority to respond. But who was responsible? Who are we going to war with?
Government spokesmen quickly pointed the finger at the Al Qaeda network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, living in Afghanistan. The President demanded that the Afghani government surrender bin Laden and his lieutenants or face attack while the Pentagon began deploying troops, aircraft and ships to the region.
Events are moving quickly and directly toward major US military action against Afghanistan. It is time we take a look at the road the government is taking us down. Will war bring those responsible for these criminal attacks to justice? Can massive military action protect us from further attacks?
We agree with Congresswoman Barbara Lee that "military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States". The use of massive military power will only escalate the cycle of violence, spreading more death and destruction to more innocent people with no end in sight.
Afghanistan has already been destroyed by 20 years of foreign occupation, civil war and religious repression. Both the British and Soviet armies were unable to conquer that country. We see many parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan but the lessons we should have learned from the war in Vietnam are being ignored today.
We are an organization of veterans of the armed forces of this country. We have been to war and have seen what military power can and cannot accomplish. We know what war does to those who fight it and those who live where it is fought. We hear our government loudly pledge support for our servicemen and women as they are sent into battle but have seen it turn its back on many when they returned, suffering physical and mental wounds, from the Vietnam and Gulf wars.
We speak out of duty to our country and the world, solidarity with those serving in the military and love of our families and friends when we take this stand:
We condemn the criminal attacks of September 11 and demand that those responsible be held accountable and brought to justice.
We mourn for the victims and offer our heartfelt sorrow and sympathy to the families and friends of those we lost.
We condemn bigotry and violence against Arabs, Muslims and immigrants which threaten these communities because of their race, nationality and religion.
We oppose efforts to curtail our basic civil liberties and democratic rights and must defend the Constitution from those who are undermining it.
We do not believe that militarism and war will provide justice or security and oppose major US military intervention in Afghanistan or other countries.
On a more fundamental level, our country has to address the reasons behind the violence that has now come to our shores. The seeds of this anger and hatred were sown over many years.
For over a century, Western corporations have dominated the Middle East to profit from its oil. For the last 50 years, the United States has supported Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and has helped prop up corrupt regimes in some Arab countries. The continued American troop presence in Saudi Arabia and the suffering of the Iraqi people under economic sanctions has added to this resentment.
As long as US foreign policy continues to be based on corporate exploitation and military domination, we will continue to make more enemies in the poor, underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. We can achieve enduring security and lasting peace only through domestic and foreign policies based on social and economic justice. That will come about only when the American people demand it.
September 27, 2001
** under 3000.
"Estimated number of Afghan civilians killed by U.S. bombing last year: 3950" - Harper's Magazine - March 2002, Harper's Index page 13
Commentary on VVAW.org:
- No New War in the Middle East by Bill Branson
- From the National Office by Bill Branson
- Our War, Our Legacy by Bill Branson
- From the National Office by Bill Branson
- Get Out and Vote: Demonstrate Our People Power by Bill Branson
- What We Know and When We Know It by Meg Miner
- From The National Office by Bill Branson
- Blood on the Tracks - A Review by Horace Coleman (reviewer)
- From The National Office by Joe Miller
- Ken and Bill's Excellent Adventure by W. D. Ehrhart
- From the National Office by Barry Romo
- From the National Office by Barry Romo
- Soldier Jailed For Rap Lyrics Is Discharged by Dahr Jamail, truthout.org Reporter
- US Military Plans To Extradite Stop-Lossed Iraq War Vet to Iraq For Court Martial Over Protest Rap Song by Iraq Veterans Against The War
- A Letter to America: No Medal Jacket by Marc Levy
- The Worst Question You Can Ask a Combat Vet: Talking Dirty to the Kids by Marc Levy
- From Vietnam to Afghanistan: The Bling They Curse and Carry by Marc Levy
- The "Obama Drama" by Horace Coleman
- Matthew Hoh Resignation Letter by Matthew Hoh
- Just Like Hanoi Jane by Marc Levy
- Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan (the book) by Horace Coleman
- How What Happened in the Bush Administration Shaped What Happened in Iraq by Horace Coleman
- A Father traumatized by a son's wounds goes into action by Horace Coleman
- All Bets Are Off For Today's Vets by Horace Coleman
- Election Night Musing by Horace Coleman
- War Jokes Wanted: No Laughing Matter by Marc Levy and Susan Erony
- The Leftie Nation Throws a Rightie by Jerry Lembcke
- Thuy's Dream of Peace: Winter in America by Marc Levy
- Retraction of Article in the Veteran, Volume 38, Number 1, Spring 2008 by VVAW National Office
- Support PFC James Burmeister by Carol Rawert Trainer
- Support IVAW's Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
- Fake Vets Chasing Fame by Marc Levy
- William Hugh Davis: 1948 - 2007 - Anti-war, union activist by Patricia Trebe
- President of Vietnam Vets Against the War - Year-long tour convinced him it was wrong by Larry Finley
- You Tube videos of Bill Davis
- Iraq Dead Ahead: A Brief Military History and Civilian Guide to Arlington National Cemetery Iraq Dead Ahead by Marc Levy
- The Horror of War Can be Catnip for Young Men by Jerry Lembcke
- Iraq War Resister Kyle Snyder Arrested in Canada, then Released: U.S. Army Requested the Illegal Apprehension by Gerry Condon
- Vietnam Veterans Against The War Endorses HR 508:Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2007 by VVAW National Office
- VVAW Supports All the Troops
- A Primer on the Whys and Wherefores of PTSD: Whatever You Did in War Will Always Be With You by Marc Levy
- What the Fuss Is All About by W. D. Ehrhart
- Winter Soldier DVD Now Available at VVAW Store
- From Vietnam to Iraq: Ignoring the Veteran Healthcare Crisis by VVAW & IVAW
- Vietnam Veterans and Iraq Veterans Release Memorial Day Report on Veterans' Healthcare Crisis by VVAW National Office
- VVAW Statement to the People of Vietnam by VVAW National Office
- Vietnam Veterans Against the War Denounce Bush Proposal to Cut Vets' Benefits by VVAW National Office
- The Struggle Continues by VVAW
- Stolen Honor - A Dishonor: Vietnam Veterans oppose Sinclair Broadcast smear even in reduced format by VVAW National Office
- A Troubling Tribute by Jan Barry
- Defending VVAW Against Swift Boat Vets Lies by Keith Nolan
- 40th Anniversary of Gulf of Tonkin shows history repeating itself with Iraqi War by VVAW National Office
- Anybody But Bush by VVAW National Staff and Coordinators
- Vietnam Veterans Say Torture Policy Not an Aberration - Dates Back To Vietnam War by VVAW National Office
- Chicago Vietnam Veterans Against the War and supporters honor fallen servicemen on Memorial Day by Chicago VVAW
- Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement on John Kerry
- John Kerry and War Crimes in Vietnam by Jan Barry
- Living with Lies by Dave Curry, Joe Miller and Barry Romo
- On the Oil-Slicked Road to Empire: Are We Really Safer Now? by Barry Romo, Dave Curry & Joe Miller
- No War with Iraq No Blood for Oil or Ego by Barry Romo, Dave Curry & Joe Miller
- Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement on the "War Against Terrorism" by VVAW National Office
- Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement on September 11 Attacks by VVAW
- VETERANOS DE VIETNAM CONTRA LA GUERRA DECLARACION SOBRE LOS ATAQUES DEL 11 DE SEPTIEMBRE
- VVAW Statement on Robert Kerrey by Clarence Fitch Chapter of VVAW
- Remembering the Tonkin Gulf and After by Joe Miller
- Indian Wars & the Vietnam Experience by Ben Chitty
- Recollections:Brainwashing Busts Out at Cecil Field by Mike Woloshin
- "Peace with Honor" by Ben Chitty