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"WW III? No thanks...!" On-Line Library

What is an appropropriate response?
Political and philosophical considerations after the attack on the Word Trade Center


    "In individuals, insanity is rare;
    but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule."
    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Most US citizens do not appear to know what atrocities the CIA has been 
visiting on large parts of the world in recent decades, and they also do 
not show much understanding of how either the people in "the third world" 
or they themselves are used as pawns and cannon fodder in the deadly games
the CIA plays in the service of the real superpower of today, the 
military-industrical complex of the US.

Excerpt from the book "The CIA's Greatest Hits" by Mark Zapezauer

During the Reagan years, the CIA ran nearly two dozen covert operations 
against various governments. Of these, Afghanistan was by far the biggest;
it was, in fact, the biggest CIA operation of all time, both in terms of 
dollars spent ($5-$6 billion) and personnel involved. Yet it not only 
generated little controversy, but enjoyed strong bipartisan support. 
That's because its main purpose was to "bleed" the Soviet Union, just as 
we had been bled in Vietnam.

Prior to the 1979 Russian invasion, Afghanistan was ruled by a brutal 
dictator. Like the neighboring Shah of Iran, he allowed the CIA to set up 
radar installations in his country that were used to monitor the Soviets. 
In 1979, after several dozen Soviet advisors were massacred by Afghan 
tribesmen, the USSR sent in the Red Army.

The Soviets tried to install a pliable client regime, without taking local
attitudes much into account. Many of the mullahs who controlled chunks of 
Afghan territory objected to Soviet efforts to educate women and to 
institute land reform. Others, outraged by the USSR's attempts to suppress
the heroin trade, shifted their operations to Pakistan.

As for the CIA, its aim was simply to humiliate the Soviets by arming 
anyone who would fight against them. The agency funneled cash and weapons 
to over a dozen guerrilla groups, many of whom had been staging raids from
Pakistan years before the Soviet invasion. Today, long after the Soviet 
Union left Afghanistan (and, in fact, has ceased to exist), most of these 
groups are still fighting each other for control of the country.

Besides tossing billions of dollars into the conflict, the CIA transferred
sensitive weapons technology to fanatical Muslim extremists, with 
consequences that will haunt the US for years to come. One notable veteran
of the Afghan operation is Sheik Abdel Rahman, famous for his role in the 
World Trade Center bombing.

The CIA succeeded in creating chaos, but never developed a plan for ending
it. When the ten-year war was over, a million people were dead, and Afghan 
heroin had captured 60% of the US market.


Recently the Bush government gave money to the Taliban government, 
purportedly for their support in the "War against Drugs". Osman bin Laden,
who enjoyed the support of the Taliban for years, has been suspected as the
mind behind a number of attacks on US installations in the world. The 
Taliban are brutal in their oppression of women and disregard for other 
human rights. But the US waited until now to take action against the 
Taliban. What is the hidden agenda of the US? And who supplied the Taliban
with weapons and mines?

Afghanistan: Taliban's War on Women

Physicians for Human Rights newsletter, October 1998

The extent to which the Taliban regime has threatened the freedoms and 
needs of Afghan women is unparalleled in recent history. Taliban policies 
of systematic discrimination against women seriously undermine the health 
and well-being of Afghan women.

Enveloped by the shroud-like burqas (a head to toe covering for women that
have only a mesh cloth to see and breathe through) that they are forced to 
wear or else face beatings, the women and girls of Afghanistan are today 
facing a crisis that threatens their very survival. Most Afghan women are 
prohibited by the Taliban from working, from going to school, from moving 
anywhere outside their homes without an immediate male family member as 
chaperone, restricted from visiting doctors, hospitals or clinics, and 
from collecting humanitarian aid.

Recently, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) carried out an unprecedented 
health and human rights study of women under Taliban rule. The results of 
200 interviews were devastating: the vast majority reported a decline in 
their physical and mental state during the past two years of the Taliban's
reign. But their deteriorating mental health was the most disturbing impact
of the Taliban's gross gender discrimination.

A striking example of this discrimination is the Taliban's insistence that
women may only visit a few designated hospitals in Kabul. PHR received 
testimony from a young mother who, with her two-year-old daughter 
suffering from diarrhea, was turned away from a "men's only" hospital 
because of their gender. The little girl died and the woman spent the 
night with the child's body, huddled within the rubble of a bombed 
building because it was after curfew. Women who make it to the few 
facilities designated for them do not fare much better. The Rabia Balkhi 
hospital has no oxygen, clean water, intravenous fluids, medicine, or 
x-ray machines. The maternity hospital appeared to offer only beds for 
women to lie in - six to seven per room, poor treatment, and no medication.

Even visits to doctors, dentists, and clinics have been severely 
restricted. Male doctors are prohibited from seeing any unaccompanied 
women. Women doctors have been largely prohibited from working at all.

The source of women's anguish, despair, and poor health is evident in the 
streets of Kabul. Women who were administrators, nurses, and teachers
(fired from their jobs because of their gender) have sold everything they 
own to feed their children. They now beg on the streets. Those caught on 
the street without a close male relative as -a chaperone or caught 
revealing an ankle, face, or wrist, risk being beaten on the spot by 
fervent religious police who wander the city brandishing metal cables in 
search of dress code violators. Girls over eight may not go to school. 
Younger children may attend classes limited to teachings of the Koran. The
city's 30,000 widows are particularly helpless.

A further explanation for the extraordinary high rates of depression and 
trauma experienced by Afghan women is the climate of terror that the 
Taliban has created in Kabul. Every Friday night, the regime carries out 
punishments handed down by courts devoid of due process. The citizens of 
Kabul are summoned to the sports stadium where they watch beheadings, 
hangings, or amputations of alleged criminals. Such sights terrify and 
traumatize women and their children who have already suffered the loss of 
family members, dislocation, landmine injuries, and the mortaring and 
shelling of their homes.


A related link: Making The World Safe For Hypocrisy