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Stop the bombing! Stop the war!

October 26, 2001 | Page 1

AMBIA AGHA isn't a military target. But the U.S. warplane couldn't tell the difference.

Ten-year-old Ambia and his friends were playing soccer with a gourd in a park in the Afghan city of Kandahar when they heard the jets. Seconds later, a piece of shrapnel cut a hole in Ambia's head before tearing into several of his teammates.

"The last thing I remember is lying on the ground looking at the gourd," Ambia told a Times of India reporter. "It was broken, too."

Ambia was one of the lucky ones. He survived the U.S. government's terror from the skies. More than 1,000 people have died in the U.S. bombardment, according to Afghanistan's Taliban government.

Pentagon officials claim these figures are an exaggeration. But there are now numerous accounts of civilian casualties--from the residential neighborhoods surrounding the airport in Kabul, from the tiny village of Kadam, from the hospital in Herat--to expose the Pentagon's sanitized picture.

And with every day that the bombs drop, hundreds of thousands of Afghans come one day closer to death--a slow, horrific death from malnutrition.

Last week, aid agencies pleaded with the U.S. to stop bombing so relief convoys could deliver tons of desperately needed food. Since the war started, less than one-third of the food aid needed for those already suffering from hunger has been distributed in Afghanistan.

And the approaching winter will make convoys impossible. As one UN official in Pakistan told a British newspaper, "Unless the strikes stop, there will be huge numbers of deaths."

Yet the Washington establishment continues to sneer at the hundreds of thousands of people who've turned out--in the Middle East and beyond--to express their anger at the savagery of the U.S. military.

These demonstrators are dismissed as "anti-American fanatics." But they're no more "fanatics" than the people in the U.S. and around the world who were outraged by the senseless loss of life on September 11.

The U.S. government is using September 11 as an excuse for war. And not only against the people of Afghanistan.

Washington's war makers figure they have scores to settle around the globe. "After we have destroyed the Taliban," administration adviser Richard Pearle told the Chicago Sun-Times, "the message to the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Yemenis, the Sudanese and others should simply be, 'You're next.' It may be necessary to destroy two of these regimes before the others understand that we're serious."

And they dare to talk about "justice" and "human rights"?

The U.S. war on Afghanistan--and the others that Washington has in store for the coming months--will only add to the misery and suffering that millions face around the world.

We have to take a stand: Stop the bombing! Stop the war!

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