Progressive Librarians Guild
radical views on library & info issues

The Global War on Terror


The de facto military rules of engagement normalized by the US governments "war on terrorism" seems to have now made acceptable the idea of killing any number of innocent people in alleged pursuit of terrorist suspects. The two air attacks reported today by US planes in Somalia in pursuit of supposed al Qaeda cadre recklessly killed as yet uncounted innocent people whose only crime was being in the vicinity of America's suspects. At least one 4 year old child was killed in one of the strikes, but the numbers of casualties -- and there are said to be many -- are not known, nor does the US show anything but ruthless indifference to the civilians who are killed and maimed in pursuit of its targets. Will the Democrats speak out against this atrociousness or will they affirm the right of the US to use any means necessary, no matter how vile and patently illegal, to pursue its so-called "war on terrorism"?

Unwilling to engage the enemy on the ground, afraid of the risks of actually going, finding, verifying the identification and bringing to justice the specific people it is allegedly seeking, the US prefers to rain down death and destruction on entire villages in the hopes of, in the process, assassinating as well the person or persons it actually seeks. What is this if not a barbarous war crime of the sort that is universally reviled? The fact that the government of Somalia has seemingly proclaimed the legitimacy of this kind of tactic by the US interventionists only makes clear the flimsy claims to legitimacy of the present regime there which, in giving their blessing to these kinds of foreign terror assaults against civilian populations only seals its own doom with certainty. As the ground war in Iraq grinds on and escalates, the doctrine of the "war on terrorism," a proclamation of a virtual permanent state of war covering the whole world, threatens to become the pretext for increased use of the air forces blasting, bombing and burning from high above with impunity and minimal casualties for US forces as the Administration lashes out blindly in the inextinguishable global conflict it has itself ignited and continues to fuel.

How can the world abide this lawlessness? No innocent lives may be sacrificed for the convenience of the US in trying to dispose of its enemies, as if people who get in the way , the "collateral damage" of a mission, are just so much garbage obstructing the clear view of the gun sights of US forces. Will the Democrats see their way clear to stop this massively criminal abuse of military force in pursuit of handfuls of Al Qaeda criminals?

Mark Rosenzweig

ALA Councilor at large (speaking only for himself)
January 7, 2007