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 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

US in replay of the 'Great Game'
Costs and consequences of American engagement in Central Asia begin to become clear

Edward Helmore Almaty, The Observer, January 20, 2002

They are shadowy figures just visible from the perimeter of the windswept airbase outside the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek - United States troops unloading supplies.
As the war in Afghanistan becomes a mopping-up operation, the US has stepped up troop deployments in the region, in what Russia and China fear is an effort to secure dominant influence over their backyards, a region rich in oil and gas reserves.
In the past weeks, diplomats and generals from all three countries have streamed into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The war on terrorism has turned the Central Asian republics from backwaters into prizes overnight.
[The complete article]

Why it is right to be anti-American
Nick Cohen, New Statesman, January 14, 2002

"Anti-Americanism" is a transparent slur that libels and subverts the best of American freedom. It's a propaganda insult that is as contaminated as "terrorist". Right-wingers in London and Washington use it shamelessly to suggest that those who are not happy with their abysmal status quo are the moral equivalents of blood-drenched murderers.
[The complete article]

US is probing cause, degree of civilian toll
John Donnelly, Boston Globe, January 19, 2002

The Air Force and several other Defense Department agencies quietly have begun to investigate the cause and number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, military officials say, despite past insistence from the Pentagon that no such reviews existed.
[The complete article]

We will not tolerate the abuse of war prisoners
Guantanamo could be where America and Europe part company

Hugo Young, The Guardian, January 17, 2002

One value that's meant to bind Anglos and Americans is their attitude to justice. The common law runs through England and America, and we believe the principles underlying it are shared. That's partly what the world war against terrorism is supposed to be about. Yet some of these values turn out not to be shared at all. It's a salutary, ominous phenomenon. Just as significant as America's treatment of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners held at its Guantanamo base in Cuba is the gulf this is opening up between two cultures that imagine they have everything important in common.
[The complete article]

Saudis tell US forces to get out - Foreign soldiers seen as political liability
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian, January 19, 2002

Saudi Arabia's rulers are poised to throw US strategy in the Middle East into disarray by asking Washington to pull its forces out of the kingdom because they have become a "political liability". Senior Saudi officials have privately complained that the US has "outstayed its welcome" and that the kingdom may soon request that the American presence - a product of the Gulf war - is brought to an end.
[The complete article]

The long and hidden history of the U.S in Somalia
Stephen Zunes, AlterNet, January 17, 2002

The East African nation of Somalia is being mentioned with increasing frequency as the next possible target in the U.S.-led war against international terrorism. With what passes for the central government controlling little more than a section of the national capital of Mogadishu, a separatist government in the north, and rival warlords and clan leaders controlling most of the rest of the country, U.S. officials believe that cells of the Al-Qaida terrorist network may have taken advantage of the absence of governmental authority to set up operation.
[The complete article]


September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.