Donna Jo Napoli | December 3, 2001
First, any war is regrettable. War is a failure. To say, "This guy is so terrible, let's kill him," is far from civilized. To think we can "strategically kill" and not kill innocents is so absurd as to be obscene.
Second, this particular war is based on lack of recognition of the dignity of the other guy. The terrorist act of Sept. 11, 2001, showed no human dignity. But the people we are bombing are more (and, undoubtedly less) than all the relevant terrorists. And those people have dignity, which we fail to recognize when we apply words like "psychotic" to them (a word that Ray [Hopkins, another panelist] brought up in one of the various possible stances he discussed as being prevalent right now). If Italian terrorists — and there have been many — had attacked us and then gone off to hide in Italy, and if the Italian government had refused to extradite them — which it would have done because we have capital punishment for terrorism, and Italy will not extradite under those circumstances — no matter how corrupt we thought the particular Italian government was — and there have been many corrupt governments in Italy — we would not have bombed Italy. Instead, we would have done all the other things that we are doing, including closing bank accounts that fund terrorism, getting law enforcement in other countries to help track down and catch suspects, and talking diplomacy with other countries. We would have done all that without bombing because we recognize the basic dignity of the Italian people.
Third, this war is a mistake. Even if there was such a thing as a justified war, this war has no hope of reaching its stated goal — which is to wipe out terrorism. Why not? Because the reasons behind the terrorism will not go away by killing certain terrorists. So new ones will spring up. And a war that has no chance of attaining its goal is an inexcusable mistake.
Fourth, the reasons behind this terrorism must be faced. When my middle son, Nick, was in fourth grade, his teacher, Mr. Ed Gaynor, had the children choose countries off a list. Each kid had to find out what the per capita income of his country was. Then Mr. Gaynor gave the children M&Ms in proportion to that per capita income. Some got none (because their fraction would have been miniscule). Some got a few. Guess the country of the kid whose hands overflowed?
Tim Burke [another panelist] made the observation that the terrorist act of Sept. 11, 2001, could have happened thirty years ago, because the technology was here then. This was not a high tech attack. But it didn't happen thirty years ago. And I think it didn't because we were not as unfair a world then. In the 1960s the richest fifth of the world's population had a total income thirty times as great as the poorest fifth. In 1998 the ration was 74:1. In 1965 the real gross domestic product per capita in Chad was 1/15 of the US's. In 1990 it was 1/50.
We are rich. This in itself is not a crime. But there are ways in which we are rich at the expense of the rest of the world. American industries have moved into countries which are so grateful to have another employer that they overlook the problems we create — such as pollution of rivers, so that fish die and many lose their livelihood, and pollution of the air, so that flora die and fauna leave and hunting is no longer possible. We allow American companies abroad to do things that are illegal here. We justify it by saying we create jobs. But we also destroy not just jobs, but whole ways of living. We export insecticides that we have banned at home (and get them back on our fancy South American coffee beans). Our biggest problem is that we do not act with global responsibility.
Fifth, the issues of this war have been framed in dichotomies by both sides; Arab versus European descent; Islam versus Christianity; Palestine versus Israel; moral people versus immoral people. All of these cannot help us, because such dichotomies fail to recognize the humanity of all involved. They allow us to bestialize the other. Instead, we should frame the issue as who wants there to be basic economic security for all people everywhere and how can we achieve that. Unless we face the despair that comes from enduring poverty, we have little hope of peace.
1) Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster, 2002.
3) The Neoconservative Persuasion, by Irving Kristol, Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003.
5) We'll Win This War, by Michael A. Ledeen, The American Enterprise Online.
6) The Future of War and the American Military, by Stephen P. Rosen, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2002, vol 104, no 5.
7) Michael A. Ledeen, quoted by Jonah Goldberg in Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two, National Review, April 23, 2002.
8) Beware of Bolton, by Ian Williams, May 30, 2002.
9) America's Imperial Ambition, by John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs, 2002.
10) Should We Evict the UN? by Patrick Buchanan, New York Post, December 27, 1997, page 15.
11) Washington Post, January 31, 2003.
12) The Guardian, March 21, 2003.
13) Why America Still Needs the United Nations, by Shashi Tharoor, Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2003
14) The End of the American Era: US Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century, by Charles A. Kupchan, Knopf, October 29, 2002.
15) The Real Crisis Over the Atlantic, by Dominique Moisi, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001.
16) Propaganda Isn't the Way: Soft Power, by Joseph S. Nye Jr., The International Herald Tribune, January 10, 2003.
17) Wolfowitz Stands Fast Amid the Antiwarriors, by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, September 22, 2003.
18) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
19) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
20) But What's the Legal Case for Preemption? by Bruce Ackerman, Washington Post, August 18, 2002.
21) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, The White House, September 17, 2002.
22) Law unto Themselves, by Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, March 14, 2003.
23) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
24) Selective Intelligence, by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 5, 2003.
25) The Economist, October 4, 2003.
26) A deafening silence, by Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, October 6, 2002.
27) Bush's Unreliable Intelligence, by David Corn, The Nation, November 12, 2003.
28) Rice: Iraq trained al Qaeda in chemical weapons, CNN, September 26, 2002.
29) President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, by George W. Bush, Cincinnati, October 7, 2002.
30) Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 Attacks, Washington Post Poll, September 6, 2003.
31) We're Taking Him Out, CNN, May 6, 2002.
32) May 9, 2003 interview of Paul Wolfowitz by Sam Tannenbaus, published in Vanity Fair, July 2003.
33) Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War, by James Risen, The New York Times, November 6, 2003. Original article.
34) Stumbling into War, by James P. Rubin, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003.
35) Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, by George Crile, Atlantic Monthly Press, April 2003.
36) Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban, by Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2001.
37) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
38) UN Resolution 1441, The Security Council, November 8, 2002.
39) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, July 7, 1991.
40) A War for Oil?, by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 5, 2003.
41) US Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990.
42) US Support for Iraq in the 1980s, Center for Cooperative Research.
43) The Ghosts of 1991, by Peter W. Galbraith, Washington Post, Saturday, April 12, 2003.
44) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, June 2003.
45) Making of a Monster: How the US Helped Build Iraq's War Machine, by William P. Hoar, The New American, September 1992.
46) A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions, by David Cortright, The Nation, December 3, 2001.
47) Iraq surveys show 'humanitarian emergency, Unicef Information Newsline, August 12, 1999.
48) Columbia News Video, by Prof. Richard Garfield, March 03, 2000.
49) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
50) Squeezed to death, by John Pilger The Guardian, Saturday March 4, 2000.
51) Cool War, by Joy Gordon, Harper's Magazine, November 2002.
52) Iraq 'smart sanctions' derailed by Russia, by Anton La Guardia, telegraph.co.uk, April 7, 2001.
53) Pew's Global Attitudes Project, June 2003.
54) Andrew Kohut's Senate Testimony, February 27, 2003.
55) Jihad: Expansion et declin de l'Islamisme, by Gilles Kepel, Gallimard, 2003.
56) Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman, Norton, 2003.
57) Jerry Falwell, September 13, 2001.
58) General William Boykin, 2002-2003.
59) State of the Union Address to Congress, by President Carter, January 21, 1980.
60) Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, May 4, 2003.
61) Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, by Niall Ferguson, Basic Books, 2003. Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
62) Iraqi Democracy Is a Pipe Dream, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
63) Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice, by David Rennie, telegraph.co.uk, September 8, 2003.
64) A World Transformed, by Brent Scowcroft and George H. W. Bush, Knopf, September 1998.