re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Neil Blanch (
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 23:57:20 MST

In v6#361 Brian wrote: "It's time the U.S. started paying more attention to
it's national interests.

As a U.S. taxpayer I would object to my funds being given to a foreign
company for this purpose, local workers exempted. If companies in other
countries want the business/charity work, let them convince their
governments to shell out the Bucks/Marks. Peso's whatever.

Part of the U.S.'s problem in the world is simple PR. During the holidays I
was watching TV as a man in Afghanistan was criticizing the U.S. with a bag
of wheat clearly labelled "USA" slung over his shoulder. Had I been standing
there I would have "pulled a Giuliani", dragged it away from him with an
explanation as to why,
and told him to try eating dirt.

In marketspeak the US needs to push it's brand, and quit catering to the
prejudices of the rest of the world."

Brian - to be frank your comments disturb me in their arrogance. The USA is
dropping bombs on these people for god's sake! The USA is at least partly
responsible for the rise of the Taliban to power. The USA helped create,
train & directly funded, elements in Afghanistan that are at least partly
responsible for the terrible years of war & bloodshed that the country has
endured. How many Afghanis have died as a direct result of American
policies? Should the people of Afghanistan say "Well the US fucked us over
for the last twenty years, they helped psychotic religious nuts become our
government by giving them guns & missiles, they've bombed the crap out of us
day & night for the last few months, they killed twenty people in my village
by mistake last week, but now they just gave me a bag of wheat so now USA is
A-OK". Do you really expect twenty odd years of utter bastardry to be just
forgotten, just because NOW you've decided to act with SOME decency?

There are people in this world who hate America & America has given them
plenty of good reasons to have that hate. If you truly want the US to be
safe then the US must act responsibly. It must stop its political & military
support of terrorists (sorry, they're "freedom fighters" - at least they are
until they start bombing YOU) against legitimate elected governments. It
must stop its support of governments & dictators that torture & kill & rob
their own citizens. It must stop putting the well-being of its business &
military interests above the basic human rights of other people, regardless
of their citizenship.

It will not be more security that will prevent more terrorist attacks. It
will not be the death of every Al Quada member that prevents more terrorist
attacks. It will not be facial recognition software & the automatic
detention of every Muslim that will prevent more terrorist attacks. It will
not be American military might that will prevent more terrorist attacks.

America must become responsible & decent. The empty rhetoric of "liberty &
justice for all", the lie of "the protector of freedom" & the "champion of
justice" must become true. America could become what the dream of America
has always been, America can lead the world, and not just militarily or
commercially but ethically as well, if only the government & the people of
America have the strength and courage.

There can be no justification for the events of 9/11 just as there can be no
justification for the many atrocities & crimes of convenience that have been
committed in America's name. The cycle of hatred has to stop somewhere or we
will see the events of 9/11 happening again. And again. And again.

America can be more than just America the great, it could truly become
America the good, America the just, America the free, if only the nation &
it's people have the courage & the humility to change for the better, to
give as well as receive, to heal instead of harm, to become a true leader of

The rebuilding of Afghanistan is only the first challenge, but it is an
important one. It is a chance for the US to show that there is more to it's
motives than simple revenge. It is a chance for the US to show that it can
rise up against anger & grief & hatred. There was no shortage of bravery
among the fire-fighters & police who risked all on 9/11 - can America the
same selfless courage as a nation?

Neil Blanch 12/31/01

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