Airstrikes deal blow to anti-war groups

by Tom Ford

Sunday’s bombing of Afghanistan prompted action from the Twin Cities anti-war community.

As part of an emergency response plan in the event of U.S. military action, the Anti-War Committee and Women Against Military Madness called for a protest today at the Minneapolis federal building.

Peace activists voiced strong criticism of the U.S. action and recent media coverage and also raised fears over how the bombings will impact Afghan and American citizens.

“I’m very concerned for the lives of the people in Afghanistan,” said AWC member Jess Sundin.

She said although U.S. officials claim military targets are being bombed, it’s “extremely likely that other people are being harmed.”

Activists also criticized plans to drop food to Afghan citizens.

Melissa Williams, a University graduate student and AWC member, said this humanitarian effort will not adequately address probable starvation in the country and is a move to simply make the United States “look like heroes.”

Gwen McCrea, a University graduate student, said the bombings not only cause collateral damage – the inadvertent killing of civilians – but are directed at the wrong target.

“(Osama) bin Laden is not the Taliban,” she said. “The attacks were not committed by a state.”

Maria Anderson, co-founder of the recently formed Students Against War, said a long-term campaign, which Sunday’s bombings might signal, would actually “encourage feelings of injustice amongst citizens” that foster inclinations toward terrorism.

The anti-war community offered alternatives to the current action, such as dealing with bin Laden through international courts.

But McCrea said the media does not give such alternatives fair treatment.

Options besides military action receive little attention in the media, she said, and are portrayed as being anti-freedom and unpatriotic.

She said she’s afraid the bombings will create further polarization between peace and military advocates.

Several polls indicate the majority of Americans are against peaceful alternatives. The most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Sept. 21 and 22, shows 89 percent of Americans support retaliatory military action.

Anderson said anti-war groups will retain many of their current members but U.S. attacks will create feelings of “helplessness and powerlessness,” making it difficult to recruit more people.


Tom Ford welcomes comments at [email protected]