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

Rebellion grows among Israeli reserve officers
Phil Reeves, The Independent, February 1, 2002

Israel's armed forces are struggling to contain the most serious internal challenge of the 16-month Palestinian intifada after more than 100 combat reservist soldiers signed a petition saying they would not serve in the occupied territories.
[The complete article]

Innocent Muslims killed as Bush allies 'crusade'
Jonathan Miller and Rob Lemkin, The Observer, February 3, 2002

Syed Kaing Mabbul was a coconut farmer on the exquisitely beautiful island of Basilan in the southern Philippines, the hottest new target in President George W. Bush's global war on terrorism. His misfortune, his mother told us, is that he has the same name as a commander of the Abu Sayyaf, a bloodthirsty group of Islamic extremists financed by robbery, piracy, ransom and - in the past, at least - by Osama bin Laden.
[The complete article]

Government gangsterism at work
Ted Rall, AlterNet, January 31, 2002

Unbridled legal hypocrisy is a recurring theme of the ideologically-impoverished Bush imperium. When it suits their immediate aims, the Bushies wield the law like a club. As soon as the law proves inconvenient, however, they chuck it out the window like a gum wrapper.
[The complete article]

'Axis of evil' crumbles under scrutiny
Michael T. Klare, Pacific News Service, January 31, 2002

The president's rousing words will hinder rather than help American efforts to make the world a safer place.
[The complete article]

Shall we leave it to the experts?
Arundhati Roy, The Nation, February 18, 2002

Fifty years after independence, India is still struggling with the legacy of colonialism, still flinching from the "cultural insult." As citizens we're still caught up in the business of "disproving" the white world's definition of us. Intellectually and emotionally, we have just begun to grapple with communal and caste politics that threaten to tear our society apart. But meanwhile, something new looms on our horizon. On the face of it, it's just ordinary, day-to-day business. It lacks the drama, the large-format, epic magnificence of war or genocide or famine. It's dull in comparison. It makes bad TV. It has to do with boring things like jobs, money, water supply, electricity, irrigation. But it also has to do with a process of barbaric dispossession on a scale that has few parallels in history. You may have guessed by now that I'm talking about the modern version of globalization.
[The complete article]

Letter from Pôrto Alegre
Marc Cooper, The Nation, February 1, 2002

Flanked by swaying palms and under a sky streaked with flaming orange and pink, more than 50,000 people from around the world filled a water-side amphitheater and, singing "Another World Is Possible," celebrated the official opening of the second World Social Forum.
[The complete article]

World Social Forum opens with an attack on the American-led war on terrorism
Robert E. Sullivan, Earth Times, January 31, 2002

The World Social Forum (WSF), a gathering of some 10,000 peasants, intellectuals, teachers workers, and social activists of many stripes joining here to join in a fight against "neo liberal globalization" began Wednesday with an attack on the American-led War on Terrorism.
[The complete article]

When should we fight?
King Kaufman, Salon, January 31, 2002

With the war on terrorism expanding, Salon talks to a group of average Americans about the U.S. military's role in the world today.
[The complete article]

Saudi bomb victim's torture ordeal - and Britain's silence
Paul Kelso, The Guardian, January 31, 2002

A British victim of a terrorist explosion in Riyadh was tortured by Saudi secret police and forced to confess to the bombing in which he was injured, the Guardian can reveal. Ron Jones, 48, a tax adviser from Scotland, was seized from the hospital bed where he was recovering from the explosion by agents from the feared interior ministry, and taken to an interrogation centre where he was systematically tortured for 67 days.
[The complete article]

George Bush's delusion - Tragedy does not give America a free hand
Leader, The Guardian, January 31, 2002

A tendency among politicians to exploit the September 11 tragedy has been apparent from the very first. In Israel, Russia and China, governments were quick to use America's agony to justify the unjustifiable in Palestine, Chechnya and in Xinjiang. Pakistan's ostracised regime found in September 11 a return route to international acceptance. Its arch rival India, in its turn, used one crisis to dramatise another, in Kashmir. From Tehran to Khartoum to Harare, political leaders climbed aboard the anti-terrorism bandwagon with a view to domestic advantage as well as Washington's aid and approbation. Even Tony Blair's post-September 11 empathy offensive was not totally devoid of similar calculations.
[The complete article]

Both saviour and victim - Black Hawk Down creates a new and dangerous myth of American nationhood
George Monbiot, The Guardian, January 29, 2002

The more powerful a nation becomes, the more it asserts its victimhood. In contemporary British eyes, the greatest atrocities of the 18th and 19th centuries were those perpetrated on compatriots in the Black Hole of Calcutta or during the Indian mutiny and the siege of Khartoum. The extreme manifestations of the white man's burden, these events came to symbolise the barbarism and ingratitude of the savage races the British had sought to rescue from their darkness. Today the attack on New York is discussed as if it were the worst thing to have happened to any nation in recent times. Few would deny that it was a major atrocity, but we are required to offer the American people a unique and exclusive sympathy. Now that demand is being extended to earlier American losses.
[The complete article]

"PoWs or common criminals, they're entitled to protection"
Judge Richard Goldstone, international human rights expert, tells Clare Dyer why al-Qaida suspects must not be tried in secret

The Guardian, January 30, 2002

Judge Richard Goldstone is a worried man. What's troubling him is America's response so far to the atrocities of September 11. The way the US deals with the captives of its war on terrorism, he believes, will be crucial to preserving the fragile coalition put together for a battle the superpower, for all its might, will not be able to fight alone. And behind his concerns is a fear that America's reaction to the loss of belief in its invulnerability could even damage the edifice of international humanitarian law built up in the aftermath of the second world war and the Holocaust.
[The complete article]

The real opposition to globalisation will not be on Manhattan's streets
Paul Vallely, The Independent, 30 January, 2002

The "anti-globalisation" movement has always been a ragbag alliance. A motley collection of crusties, anarchists, revolutionary socialists and lovers of recreational violence has routinely made the headlines with its hatred for the culture of modern capitalism. But the vast majority of protesters were environmentalists, human rights activists, trade unionists and aid agency campaigners who were not so much against globalisation as demanding globalisation of a different kind.
[The complete article]

Dubya's dream
Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, January 30, 2002

This is the state of the union address George W should have given to Congress last night - but didn't dare

Americans need to expand their view of the world
Arlene Stein, Newsday, January 29, 2002

Today, many Americans are experiencing a newfound sense of solidarity. But the promise of national togetherness without a sense of its limits is hollow indeed. That's why many, while recognizing the importance of banding together now, have been pushed toward a renewed sense of internationalism. Across the nation, there is a thirst for knowledge about Islam, the Mideast, Afghanistan, foreign policy, even germ warfare and an answer to that vexing question: Why do they hate us so?
[The complete story]

The next clash of civilisations?
Paul Kingsnorth, Open Democracy, January 16, 2002

To travel through the ‘developing’ lands during the current war is to encounter a level of anger and protest against the West that reveals a core fissure in global politics. Not the terrorist challenge to the civilised world, but rising opposition from communities across the globe to the stifling embrace of materialist consumerism.
[The complete article]

The media: Pro-US tendency is seen in survey
Mark Jurkowitz, Boston Globe, January 28, 2002

In November, a survey by the Pew Research Center indicated that the public's traditionally jaundiced view of the news media had warmed significantly. Compared with just a few months earlier, the proportion of people who felt journalists ''stand up for America'' grew from 43 percent to 69 percent while those inclined to believe the press ''protects democracy'' rose from 46 percent to 60 percent.
[The complete article]

The Bush administration may form coalitions when it suits the United States but its overriding mission is to show the world why the American way is best
Paul Rogers, The Observer, January 27, 2002

There was much talk of coalitions after the traumatic events of last September. Critics of Washington's policies hoped that their agenda of international cooperation would find new favour. They have been disappointed. What is right for America is regarded by the White House as right for the world.
[The complete article]

How two football-mad English lads ended up in chains at Camp X-Ray - Families baffled and distressed by fate of friends who disappeared
Steven Morris and Jeevan Vasagar, The Guardian, January 28, 2002

As teenagers, they rebelled against family and teachers as so many youngsters do, by smoking, drinking or causing mischief on their estate. After school they did well, one becoming a law student, the other working full time but finding time to do voluntary work at a community centre. Yesterday the secret life of childhood pals Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal emerged to the astonishment of their friends and bewilderment of their families. The Foreign Office confirmed that Rasul, 24, and Iqbal, 20, who grew up in Tipton, West Midlands, are being held as suspected Taliban or al-Qaida members in Camp X-Ray, the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
[The complete article]

Long after the air raids, bomblets bring more death
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, January 28, 2002

They are tiny, silent killers, dropped from the bellies of the American bombs that pulverised the Taliban defences, and striking long after the air war on Afghanistan has ended.
[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.