September 14, 2001 | Page 4
HOWARD ZINN, the author of A People's History of the United States and a veteran antiwar activist, explained the political consequences of the attacks.
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IT'S A delicate situation, in which we have to make clear that we understand the pain and anguish that people feel. We even understand the reflex cry for punishment and revenge. But we mustn't let that immediate emotional reaction govern what we do, which should be based on a thoughtful assessment of how we can prevent further violence--whether by terrorists or governments.
The U.S. government is going to respond--and the media will sheepishly go along with calls for military action, increases in the military budget, which is exactly what makes terrorism inevitable.
U.S. military aid and support of Israel create anger and resentment in the Arab world, leading a tiny portion of the angry and resentful to plan terrorist attacks in retaliation. The military response to terrorism just perpetuates the cycle of terrorism and counterterrorism.
The continued expenditure of more than $300 billion for the military has absolutely no effect. If we want real security, we will have to change our posture in the world--to stop being an intervening military power and to stop dominating the economies of other countries.
A 1997 Defense Science Board report to the U.S. government showed "a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in world situations and an increase in terrorism." We have huge military bases in 19 countries, and this inevitably leads to trouble.
What Bush is proposing now is just what other presidents have proposed before--Reagan, Clinton, both parties--since the Second World War: the pursuit of dominance over whole areas of the world. The horror we experienced today is something that people in other parts of the world--Southeast Asia, Iraq, Yugoslavia--have experienced as a result of our bombings.
This should have a sobering effect on any desire to continue with military solutions.