The Guardian October 3, 2001


US voices for peace

An unprecedented media blitz seeks to present the US as a nation united 
in its determination for revenge, its population wrapped in the stars and 
stripes flag and demanding blood. But this picture is disproved by the 
reality. Many prominent US citizens are speaking out "against" the "war on 
terrorism".

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Friends of the Earth and hundreds of non-governmental organisations around the world: "The US has been attempting to construct artificial walls around its nation through schemes such as the National Missile Defence proposal. It is clear that no amount of military spending could have prevented the attacks witnessed by the world ... "We call on the international community not to allow this atrocity to increase hatred, racial and religious intolerance. We encourage our leaders to view this as an opportunity to assist the US and the world in its search for peaceful solutions to conflicts ... true security can only be rooted in social and environmental justice."
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Democrat member of the House of Representatives, Jesse Jackson Jr: "America's determination and indomitable spirit must not allow terrorists and terrorism to weaken our commitment to an open and democratic society. We have a profound opportunity not only to investigate 'who' and 'how' this was done, but also more importantly 'why' it was done. "When we have the answer to 'why', then we will be better able to work toward the day when such tragedies will never happen again."
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Ron Kovic, Vietnam veteran portrayed by Tom Cruise in the film Born on the Fourth of July: "Resorting to violence and warfare is a great mistake. The painful anguish resulting from this senseless act of violence stirs in all of us, a desire for swift retribution. I strongly believe that to move in this direction will lead us into a terrible and disastrous war, which we as a people and a nation, may never recover from."
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Filmmaker Michael Moore: "A Southern Baptist preacher comes on the radio and says the following: 'Perhaps America has some repenting to do. We propped up the Shah of Iran when maybe we shouldn't have. "'We have used the poor of the world to make our goods so we can make a profit when maybe we shouldn't ...' "These were stunning words to hear, but it coincided with much of what we have been picking up along the road; namely, that many, many Americans are not in support of going off half-cocked and bombing innocent people, no matter how much we all want those responsible to be brought to justice."
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National Organisation for Women: "... statements from US fundamentalist ministers reminded us that religious intolerance is not isolated to any one region of the world. NOW calls on religious groups everywhere to denounce this kind of hate-filled rhetoric and the bigotry that such comments represent. "We must do more than simply condemn these brutal acts of terror. We must also commit ourselves to embrace and advance fundamental human rights for all."
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Peace Action: "These terrible tragedies must not be used as a rationale for huge increases in the military and intelligence budgets at the expense of Social Security, health care, education and other human needs priorities."
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Former US Labour Secretary Robert Reich: "The purpose of this kind of terrorism is not only to make us fearful, but also to make us hate-filled ...The political purpose of terrorism is to escalate mutual hate and distrust, until recrimination breeds ever more violent rounds of recrimination."
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Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez: "Dear President Bush: Our son is one of the victims of Tuesday's attack on the World Trade Centre. We read about your response in the last few days and about the resolutions from both Houses, giving you undefined power to respond to the terror attacks. "Your response to this attack does not make us feel better about our son's death. It makes us feel worse. It makes us feel that our government is using our son's memory as a justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands. "It is not the first time that a person in your position has been given unlimited power and came to regret it. This is not the time for empty gestures to make us feel better. It is not the time to act like bullies. "We urge you to think about how our government can develop peaceful, rational solutions to terrorism, solutions that do not sink us to the inhuman level of terrorists."
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Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame: "Don't let this sour you. Don't let [terrorism] corrode your spirit. Don't let it narrow your vision of humanity and especially, don't give up your hope for peace."
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John Conyers Democrat member of the US House of Representatives: "Just as this horrendous act can destroy us from without, it can also destroy us from within. Pearl Harbour led to internment camps of Japanese- Americans, and today, there is a very real danger that this tragedy could result in prejudice, discrimination, and crimes of hate against Arab- Americans and others. "The lesson Oklahoma City taught us was that the perpetrators of these acts of terror can be evil men of every race, nationality and religion, as are the victims. We must ensure that these acts of terror do not slowly and subversively destroy the foundation of our democracy: a commitment to equal rights and equal protection."
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New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez: "Amid the loud cries for revenge and retribution, we make a huge mistake to ignore those isolated voices that seek to remind us that war has rarely been the mother of peace."
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Democrat member of the US House of Representatives Barbara Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, in her speech when courageously casting the lone vote against the House resolution granting President Bush authority to use military force in retaliation against the September 11 terrorist attack: "Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. "Finally, we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. Some of us must say, 'Let us step back for a moment. Let us just pause for a minute and think through the implication of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control."
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From People's Weekly World

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