Feminists say NO to a U.S. war of revenge

Woman holding banner: No Guerra No War

Each of us remembers where we were September 11 when we heard the horrifying news that thousands of people – including secretaries, cooks, construction workers, janitors, mothers, and tourists – had been killed in a terrorist attack on New York and Washington, D.C. But while the world mourns, dangerous characters are trying to wrap our grief in a U.S. flag and use it to justify the kind of military intervention that has made this nation such a hated target.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld will not bring back those who died by killing more thousands of innocent people in other lands. Bush and his crew don't care that their plan to spend staggering sums on armaments while dismantling social services and trampling civil rights will hit hardest at women, people of color and workers like those who perished in the World Trade Center. Retaliation must be urgently opposed by all who want to make our country a force for progress and human rights rather than destruction.

Terrorism cannot be stopped with bombs

Democrat and Republican legislators have granted President Bush carte blanche for an open-ended war against any person or nation suspected of involvement in the September 11 assaults. But firing-up the F-16 bombers will not erase the global poverty and inequality that fuel desperate and indefensible acts of terrorism.

Every day around the world, 99,000 children die and 1.3 billion people survive on one U.S. dollar or less. Their misery stems in large degree from the imperialist policies of the U.S. administration and the profit system it protects. In the interests of corporate growth, millions of lives have been cut short through war, invasion, poverty, industrial accidents, environmental contamination, and the violent effects of sexism, racism, homophobia, and national chauvinism. A U.S. armed assault will only sharpen disparities and generate further antagonisms. Instead, we must organize to eliminate the global gulf between rich and poor if we are ever to stop terrorist bloodshed.

Unveiling the U.S./Afghani connection

Afghanistan is the likely target of a sustained military campaign because it is accused of harboring the alleged organizer of the attacks, Islamic fundamentalist millionaire Osama bin Laden. We must not forget, however, that it was the CIA which recruited, trained and funded bin Laden and paved the way for Afghanistan's repressive, misogynist Taliban rulers.

The rightwing Taliban and the mujahideen guerrillas who installed it were supported by the U.S. against the Soviet-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, which had brought many social advances. Under the PDPA, Afghani women were freed from bondage through access to education, outlawing of child marriages, reduction of bride prices, and land reform.

When the Taliban seized Kabul in 1996, they yanked girls and women from public life and sent them home. Under their ruthless dominion, women are forbidden to work, to leave home unescorted by a male relative, to attend school, to speak in public, to be treated by male doctors, or to appear outdoors without being covered from head to toe. Some have been stoned or killed for violating these rules.

Now the U.S. wants to destroy the monstrous regime to which the CIA gave birth. In the process, our military will crush not just the Taliban but also its Afghani victims. We must stand in solidarity with the women of Afghanistan and refuse to wage war on those who have already resisted and endured the abuses of a rightwing theocracy. We cannot let Afghani women and children once again bear the brunt of U.S. foreign policies.

Money for the poor, not for war

Unlimited monies will be found to unleash the armed forces. Already, Congress has authorized a $40 billion spending package, most of it snatched from money designated for Social Security. Instead of funding jobs and education, the Pentagon will send youth out to be cannonfodder.

The leap into full-blown militarism will only worsen the lives of millions of women and other have-nots. To a for-profit economy that already denies resources for childcare, quality healthcare, and decent wages, war adds inflation, unionbusting and curtailed civil liberties. We cannot allow the Bush administration and Congressional hawks to cynically use this tragedy as an excuse for slashing social programs, bankrupting pensions, ramming through decreases in capital gains taxes, and financing a deadly missile defense system. And we must guard against curtailment of our rights under the pretext of national security.

Activists should also continue building the growing international movements of opposition to the WTO, IMF and World Bank. These institutions are the enforcement arm for the “free trade” policies that have created desperation around the planet. So fighting capitalism and building an antiwar movement are connected issues. Let's stop the billions budgeted for slaughter and corporate bail-outs and redistribute those funds to people around the world who need it most. We must carry on in the spirit of labor organizer Mother Jones, who a century ago said, “Pray for the dead, but fight like hell for the living.” We can build a vibrant feminist antiwar movement that is intent on winning lasting peace and justice. We not only can, we must; because the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

U.S. Out of the Middle East! Dismantle the U.S. War Machine and the CIA!
Stop Hate Crimes and Government Witch-hunts
against Immigrants and Arabs!
No Draft! For an Anti-Capitalist Peace Movement!

Issued by National Radical Women
New Valencia Hall, 1908 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 864-1278 rwbayarea@yahoo.com