Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement on September 11 Attacks
[This statement was posted on the Internet by the
National Office of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc. Our thanks to Bill
Onasch for forwarding it to Labor Standard.]
The terrorist attacks on September 11 horrified and
outraged people throughout this country and the world. Within hours, the World
Trade Center’s twin towers and part of the Pentagon lay in flaming ruins with
many thousands injured, missing, or killed. Firefighters, EMS workers, police,
and ordinary citizens mounted a heroic rescue effort, but, sadly, the death toll
is now approaching 7,000.
After the initial shock and disbelief wore off, angry
voices began calling for retaliation and revenge. The President declared war
against international terrorism and Congress quickly voted to give the White
House unrestricted authority to respond. But who was responsible? Who are we
going to war with?
Government spokesmen quickly pointed the finger at the
Al Qaeda network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, living in Afghanistan. The
President demanded that the Afghani government surrender bin Laden and his
lieutenants or face attack while the Pentagon began deploying troops, aircraft,
and ships to the region.
Events are moving quickly and directly toward major
U.S. military action against Afghanistan. It is time we take a look at the road
our government is taking us down. Will war bring those responsible for these
criminal acts to justice? Can massive military action protect us from further
We agree with Congresswoman Barbara Lee that
“military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism
against the United States.” The use of massive military power will only
escalate the cycle of violence, spreading death and destruction to more innocent
people with no end in sight.
Afghanistan has already been destroyed by 20 years of
foreign occupation, civil war, and religious repression. Both the British and
Soviet armies failed to conquer that country. We see many parallels between
Vietnam and Afghanistan, but the lessons we should have learned from the war in
Vietnam are being ignored today.
We are an organization of veterans of the armed forces
of this country. We have been to war and have seen what military power can and
cannot accomplish. We know what war does to those who fight it and those who
live where it is fought. We hear our government loudly pledge support for our
servicemen and women as they are sent into battle but have seen it turn its back
on many when they returned, suffering physical and mental wounds, from the
Vietnam and Gulf wars.
We speak out of duty to our country and the world,
solidarity with those serving in the military and love of our families and
friends when we take this stand:
We condemn the criminal attacks of September 11 and
demand that those responsible be held accountable and brought to justice.
We mourn for the victims and offer our heartfelt
sorrow and sympathy to the families and friends of those we lost.
We condemn bigotry and violence against Arabs,
Muslims, and immigrants, which threaten these communities because of their race,
nationality, and religion.
We oppose efforts to curtail our basic civil liberties
and democratic rights and must defend the Constitution from those who are
We do not believe that militarism and war will provide
justice or security, and we oppose major U.S. military intervention in
Afghanistan or other countries.
On a more fundamental level, our country has to address
the reasons behind the violence that has now come to our shores. The seeds of
this anger and hatred were sown over many years.
For over a century, Western corporations have dominated
the Middle East to profit from its oil. For the last 50 years, the United States
has supported Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and helped prop up
corrupt regimes in some Arab countries The continued American troop presence in
Saudi Arabia and the suffering of the Iraqi people under economic sanctions has
added to this resentment.
As long as U.S. foreign policy continues to be based on
corporate exploitation and military domination, we will continue to make more
enemies in the poor, underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin
America. We can achieve enduring security and lasting people only through
domestic and foreign policies based on social and economic justice. That will
come about only when the American people demand it.
September 27, 2001
Joseph T. Miller, USN, 1961-1968, National
Member , VVAW C-U Chapter
National Office, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.
PO Box 408594
Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 327-5756; (217) 328-2444