Paul D’Amato Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Paul D’Amato

The decline of anti-imperialism

(January 2002)

From International Socialist Review, Issue 21, January–February 2002.
Downloaded with thanks from the ISR Archive Website.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Paul D’Amato is associate editor of the International Socialist Review

THE OPENING phase of the U.S. “war on terrorism”–the relentless air assault on Afghanistan supplemented by warlord armies on the ground–has toppled the Taliban regime and replaced it with these same warlords. This phase of the war enjoyed virtually unanimous support among liberals and liberal organizations that in peacetime would be identified as critics of the Bush administration. Both the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the NAACP, for example, backed Bush’s war drive, with the NAACP demanding that “justice must be served.” NOW president Kim Candy, in reference to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, remarked, “The smoldering remains of the World Trade Center are a stark reminder that when such extremism is allowed to flourish anywhere in the world, none of us is safe.”1

There are also the usual suspects, people such as former sixties activist Todd Gitlin and writer Christopher Hitchens, who pawn themselves off as part of the left in order better to attack the antiwar movement and legitimize U.S. intervention. “Anti-war absolutists,” writes Gitlin,

cannot leave behind the melodramatic imagination of noble white hats in the “Third World” at war with imperial black hats. They have a hard time seeing America as a wounded party and seeing totalitarian Islamist groups like al-Qaida as world-class menaces.2

The worst example of this trend is Salon magazine editor David Talbot. Talbot explains that by the time of the 1999 Kosovo war,

I had come fully round to a conviction I had not embraced since I was a boy: America is not only capable of using its unrivaled power for good–it must. When waves of American bombers began striking at Serbian military installations and power plants in spring 1999, I felt a kind of unmitigated pride.3

More disturbing are the new defections from the anti-intervention camp. Richard Falk–after prefacing his October 29, 2001, Nation article “Defining a just war” by saying that he has never supported any U.S. shooting war since his childhood–describes the war in Afghanistan as “the first truly just war since World War II,” and adds, “[I]n retrospect I think the NATO war in Kosovo achieved beneficial results.” Falk explicitly rejects the “form of antiwar advocacy [that] rests on a critique of the United States as an imperialist superpower or empire”:

Whatever the global role of the United States–and it is certainly responsible for much global suffering and injustice ... it cannot be addressed so long as this movement of global terrorism is at large and prepared to carry on with its demonic work.4

For Falk, the demonic work of American imperialism can be dealt with only after we side with that very same imperialism while it carries out its demonic work in Afghanistan. Falk’s views are shared by Nation editors, who have written more than one article calling Bush’s war “just.” They consider their role to be advisers to the Bush administration on the best means to administer a “prudent” war and to avoid “excesses.”

Some who have taken a pro-war line have attempted to portray their position as antiwar, using left jargon to cover it. Carl Davidson, a 1960s radical and a national committee member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, favors taking an antiwar position within the “front vs. terrorism,” rather than “campaigning against it from an old perspective of a front vs. imperialism from the 1960s.”5 Yet Davidson is decidedly in favor of U.S. military intervention. He calls for “all necessary forces–police, civil authority, national guard, intelligence and military, here and abroad” to defeat al-Qaeda, but he proposes that “within” the antiterrorist front, the left should “project a progressive voice and vision.” To project this vision, Davidson calls for a tactical alliance with Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has “maintained a ‘narrow the target’ focus on al-Quaida and has worked to build a broad coalition of support.”

But Powell’s “disagreement” with more hawkish cabinet members is not over whether the U.S. should pursue other targets such as Iraq, but simply over the timing of such actions. Davidson’s article still uses left-wing rhetoric to cover his tracks, even acknowledging that the U.S. is an empire that “seeks security for its sources of energy, stability for its markets, reliable and expanding returns of its investments, fear and respect of its military power, and hegemony for its politics and culture.”6 Yet, it is precisely this “empire” that Davidson has allied himself with.

The decline of anti-interventionism

The left in the U.S. developed a proud tradition of opposition to U.S. military interventions abroad because of the Vietnam War and the movement against it. The “Vietnam syndrome”–the reluctance on the part of the U.S. to engage in full-scale military intervention after its defeat in Vietnam– was paralleled on the left by a view that U.S. intervention abroad, whatever its stated motivation, was about projecting U.S. power at the expense of the world’s oppressed and exploited. For the Marxist left, anti-imperialism was more than just an opposition to intervention, but a framework for a world capitalist system dominated by a handful of great powers. Even those on the left outside the Marxist tradition held a deep-seated hostility to U.S. intervention.

Anti-interventionism held through the 1980s, when activists in the U.S. condemned Ronald Reagan’s interventions in Central America against insurgent struggles in El Salvador and against the Nicaraguan revolution. Less demonstrative were the left’s responses to Reagan’s brief invasions of Grenada and Panama–small but brutal wars designed to rehabilitate U.S. intervention–in part, because these wars were so short.

As the U.S. began, in the 1980s, to overcome the Vietnam syndrome and reestablish its “right” to intervene with impunity around the world, anti-interventionism began to falter. This erosion paralleled the decline of the left in general and the overall political shift to the right under Reagan. The trend away from anti-interventionism accelerated in the 1990s–after the decade opened with a sizable movement against the 1991 Gulf War that involved tens of thousands of new activists.

The decline of anti-interventionism has its roots in a number of factors. The end of the Cold War, and with it the superpower rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; the end of the 1980s and 1990s national liberation movements in Latin America and Africa; and the efforts by the U.S. to cloak its military interventions in humanitarian colors in Somalia, Haiti, and, above all, the Balkans–all of these helped to disarm the left.

Some of the ideas that are prevalent in the global justice movement today also reflect a trend toward the abandonment of imperialism as a framework for understanding the global system. The idea that transnational corporate power has replaced the state and, by extension, imperialism, combined with the idea that institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization are threats to state sovereignty, has confused and divided the global justice movement over the question of Washington’s current war.

Whole sections of the left had been able to oppose U.S. intervention on the grounds that it was facing off against legitimate national liberation movements in Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other places. However, the post–Cold War configuration, in which the U.S. wages war against former allies who have “slipped the leash” and suddenly become “new Hitlers,” has confused many. In each case, the U.S. has used the image of the dictator gone mad as a pretext for intervention. Never mind that the U.S. has been (and continues to be) perfectly happy with regimes that are dictatorial and violate human rights and suppress women’s rights–so long as they do Washington’s bidding. But since the Cold War, the world’s biggest bully has brandished its guns against far smaller bullies–and has called its actions just.

The only sections of the left able to hold their ground against this development were those that understood “the main enemy is at home.” This idea, in turn, was anchored by the idea that in a world dominated by imperialist rivalry, one need not identify with the politics of a particular regime in order to oppose the right of the world’s biggest superpower to invade and bomb any regime into submission. One need not offer political support to the Taliban, for example, in order to oppose Washington’s war in Afghanistan and to support the right of Afghans to determine their own future.

The record of intervention

The irony is that the U.S. record of wars in the last decade–from Iraq to Somalia and from Haiti to Serbia–refutes any idea that its interventions had anything to do with the rhetoric they used to build support for them.

As there is now talk of doing in Somalia what has been done in Afghanistan, it’s worth reviewing what the last invasion there was really about. The U.S. sent 30,000 marines into Somalia in December 1992 on what it dubbed a “humanitarian” mission, ostensibly to feed starving people by protecting food convoys that were reportedly being interrupted by rival warlords. Many liberals and some leftists were sympathetic to “Operation Restore Hope” on the grounds that U.S. troops were helping to distribute food. According to observers, however, the death rate in Somalia had been reduced by 90 percent before the U.S. invasion. Moreover, the U.S. paid no attention to treating the health effects of the famine that were responsible for most of the deaths–effects of dysentery, malaria, and pneumonia. The reasons for the intervention were spelled out clearly by the Wall Street Journal at the time: “What Desert Storm did for America’s military credibility, Somalia may do for its moral credibility.” The article continued, “There is a word for this: colonialism.”7

Somalis increasingly viewed U.S. forces as a hostile, occupying army. U.S. and UN forces killed thousands, including many civilians, especially in Mogadishu. Reports surfaced of Belgian and Italian soldiers torturing and murdering Somalis for sport. Canadian troops videotaped beatings of Somalis for entertainment. The U.S. singled out one rival military faction leader, Mohammed Farah Adid, as the cause of Somalia’s problems and launched a military campaign to capture him–with an eye toward uniting the country under his rival. “Americans are the major tribe now,” remarked a consultant to the UN development program.8 The now-famous firefight that killed 18 American troops and left more than 1,000 Somalis dead prompted U.S. forces to withdraw, leaving behind a country that was more, not less, riven by violence. The CIA estimated that 10,000 people were killed during the occupation.

Less than a year after the December 1992 invasion of Somalia, President Bill Clinton ordered 20,000 U.S. troops to occupy Haiti. The invasion was dubbed “Operation Restore Democracy” because it reinstalled elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been overthrown by the Haitian military in 1991. Many on the left and many leading Black political figures supported the invasion. Still, the Clinton administration was not concerned with democracy in Haiti. It wanted only to end Haiti’s political crisis and to return thousands of Haitian refugees who had fled to the United States.

Once American troops landed, the U.S. allowed the main leaders of the military regime of Raul Cedras to escape overseas, where they could tap into the millions of dollars stored away in their Swiss bank accounts. Emmanuel Constant, who was on the CIA’s payroll when he organized the death squads that killed more than 5,000 Haitians under the military regime, lives freely in the U.S. today. Instead of targeting the Haitian military, U.S. forces directed their fire at Haitian workers and peasants who sought revenge against their former oppressors. “Often patrolling alongside American soldiers are former members of the deposed dictatorship’s feared military police,” the Chicago Tribune wrote. “They comprise most of Haiti’s interim police force.”9 Journalist Bob Shacochis summed up the real purpose of the invasion:

The objective of the U.S. military is now conclusive–to protect the rich people up on the mountainside from the wrath of the hundreds of thousands of poor people in the slums below, whom the troops have ostensibly come to liberate.10

Meanwhile, the U.S. ordered Aristide to impose a disastrous free-market economic plan to ensure Haiti’s continued role as a source of cheap labor. When Aristide balked at the full extent of the plan, the U.S. cut off food aid to one of the poorest countries in the world and resumed efforts to undermine Aristide’s presidency–which they had offered only reluctant support to in the first place. This is the reality behind U.S. “humanitarian intervention.”

Perhaps the biggest slide on the left toward support for U.S. intervention came around the conflict in the Balkans. In the case of Bosnia, much of the left called upon the U.S. to lift the arms embargo on Yugoslavia so that the Bosnian Muslims could arm themselves against the Serbian “aggressor.” Many on the left were blind to the fact that Croatia had made a secret deal with Serbia to carve up Bosnia, and that Muslim forces were also engaging in ethnic cleansing. Western intervention, in the form of the 1995 Dayton peace accords, simply ratified the bloody ethnic divisions established by months of warfare on the ground. The accords created a UN-controlled protectorate that divided Bosnia into separate Croatian, Serbian, and Muslim enclaves, with its borders policed by foreign troops and its politics run by a UN official who, to this day, has final say over what goes on in Bosnia.

In 1999, the U.S. and NATO began bombing Serbia ostensibly to protect Kosovar refugees from ethnic cleansing. The NATO bombing created two catastrophes: a refugee crisis in Kosovo, which had not existed before the air attack, and the devastation of Serbia’s cities and towns, where NATO bombs destroyed bridges, roads, and power and sewage systems, and killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. This war was not about helping refugees, but about using their plight as means to reassert NATO’s credibility as a U.S.-led military force in the post–Cold War period. Carlos Westendorp, the UN “boss” of Bosnia, told the British Daily Telegraph, “You can’t make any agreement stick unless you have complete power.” Serbia and the Kosovars need to be told, he said, that Kosovo “doesn’t belong to either of you. It’s ours. It’s the new empire. It’s the new colonialism done in the name of the international community.”11

The current confusion on the left has been compounded by the fact that the September 11 attacks happened on U.S. soil. The left, broadly defined, has come under tremendous pressure–a continual ideological bombardment, in fact–to support the U.S. government’s “right of self-defense.” The result has been an antiwar movement on the defensive–especially as Washington has achieved quick a victory in Afghanistan and cloaked it in terms of getting food to starving people and liberating Afghan women. Currently, only a razor-thin difference exists between the most conservative elements in the antiwar movement and liberal war supporters.

“Something must be done”: The albatross of the antiwar movement

The main weakness in the antiwar movement today is its acceptance of the same framework used by supporters of Washington’s war: “Something must be done” to stop terrorism. Former antiwar advocates who have joined Bush’s camp share in common the idea, again to quote Falk, that combating terrorism is “the central challenge of restoring some sense of security among our citizenry and in the world generally.”12 But antiwar activists and groups–in particular, pacifist organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee–also accept the same logic. The Washington Newsletter of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, for example, leads with a letter to Bush, urging him to stop the bombing. “We seek your leadership,” the letter says to Bush, “to end the downward spiral of attacks and reprisals.” It concedes graciously, “We know that your administration’s intent is not to harm innocent civilians.”13 As a substitute for “military force,” the newsletter suggests as its first point that Bush “mobilize and lead law enforcement agencies around the world to investigate, apprehend, and bring to justice those responsible” for September 11. In addition, they call for the campaign against terrorism to be carried out “multilaterally” under the rubric of the United Nations.14

This argument makes the assumptions that the U.S. government has the moral authority to address the problem of terrorism and that its declared war aims–to make the world safe from terrorism–should be taken at face value. These forces on the left, who prefer to call themselves “peace” rather than “antiwar” activists, see it as their responsibility to offer police actions and international tribunals as alternatives to bombing. But this position ducks the question. What would be the difference between a heavily armed “police action” involving thousands–since al-Qaeda is heavily armed and had thousands of fighters in Afghanistan by all reports–and a military action? This position, therefore, ends up supporting military action through the backdoor.

The organization Global Exchange perhaps expresses the confusion most sharply. Its online pamphlet, “No more innocent victims,” calls for “justice, not war,” and proposes, “[T]he architects of the September 11 attacks must be apprehended and brought to justice in full compliance with international law.” It then adds, “But in pursuing that justice we must not allow innocent civilians to be harmed or killed.”15 A December report written by the Global Exchange Women’s Delegation to Afghanistan reveals the devastating impact of the U.S. bombing on civilians. “It is unconscionable,” the report states,

for the U.S. to focus solely on the destruction of the Taliban regime and the Al-Qaeda Network ...

If the U.S. contributes to the starvation of thousands of people, it will feed the cynicism and anger that people in the region feel toward the U.S., setting back the larger campaign against terrorism. [emphasis added]16

The authors conclude that the U.S. and the international community must “use their financial muscle to ensure gender equity” in the new government. But in offering this opinion, Global Exchange implicitly accepts Washington’s “right” to do so–one it has earned by mercilessly bombing Afghanistan to help a murderous proxy army to power. Global Exchange also fails to take a stand against the “larger campaign against terrorism,” though this larger campaign, as the Bush administration has made clear, means committing more atrocities in several other countries. Any acceptance of the U.S. “right” to respond to terrorism internationally will lead the movement to fall into these traps.

Suggestions about the use of international law to combat terrorism can’t avoid these traps either. International law is not a democratic expression of the world’s people but of the world’s ruling classes. The 1991 Gulf War should offer proof enough that “international coalitions” are only those initiated and sanctioned by the world’s most powerful rulers–in particular, those of the United States. All other expressions by the “international community,” including the numerous UN General Assembly resolutions that condemn Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Given that our side lacks the clout to shape an international court, we should be clear that any such court will be selective. It will go after those figures deemed war criminals by the U.S. (often former allies such as Slobodan Milosevic) and let the rest off the hook–a victors’ court, in other words, and therefore not an alternative to war but a component of it.

To those who say that “something must be done to fight terrorism,” we must answer: By whom and against what? Do we call upon the biggest mafia don to impose “peace” by killing all of the smaller dons and raining death and destruction on the neighborhoods they control? If “we” are to fight terror, “our” main target should be the state most responsible for funding terror (think here of the contras, al-Qaeda, the CIA); harboring and training terrorists (think here of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, or Haitian death squad leaders); and committing countless war crimes (think here of the deaths of millions of civilians through bombing in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, and, now, Afghanistan). The movement must be clear that our idea of “justice” is very different from that of the Bushes and Ashcrofts, because our justice puts their kind at the top of the war criminal docket.

Our alternative to “doing something” is not do “do nothing,” but to fight to get the U.S. out of the Middle East, to stop funding Israel’s terror, to close the School of the Americas, and to end funding for Colombian death squads. These and other struggles–by weakening American imperialism–will truly make the world a safer place.

The globalization movement and the war

It is accepted as common currency that “globalization” represents a process whereby the power of transnational corporations is replacing the power of states. “Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, corporate financial interests and their mass media vehicles have together stormed governments with an overwhelming agenda for world corporate rule,” reads a typical analysis.17 Implicit in this argument about the weakening state is a rejection of the idea that the world remains dominated by imperialism: the struggle for economic and military dominance by the world’s most powerful states. In some cases, the argument is explicit, as in the new book Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri:

The United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the center of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over. No nation will be world leader in the way modern European nations were.[emphasis in original]18

However, the idea that imperialism (U.S. “hegemony”) is no longer an effective way to understand world affairs makes it impossible to understand the current “war on terrorism.” While many in the global justice movement actively oppose Bush’s war, others see it as an interruption that needs to be more or less waited out until conditions are more favorable to resume the struggle against corporate domination.

Still others see the war as an opportunity to advance state-led Keynesian reforms to curb global capitalism. The most egregious examples of this line of thought are put forward by William Greider and Susan George. At a November global justice conference in New York, George explained that she was rethinking her views on the war in Afghanistan after seeing the positive reaction of the Afghan people to the Taliban’s fall. In an article she penned for the ATTAC newsletter, George offered no opposition to Washington’s war. Indeed, her reference point is September 11, not the bombing of Afghanistan. She describes five “clusters of crisis”: environmental destruction, poverty and inequality, lack of democracy and empowerment, economic crisis, and, finally, the September 11 attack. “We now face,” she warns,

a shadowy, undeclared, non-territorial enemy who is not fighting for traditional goals, who respects none of the “rules of war” evolved over past centuries and who brings the full horror of unpredictability into the homes and work places of the wealthy, the democratic, the law-abiding.

It’s hard to believe that George, who has lived through half of the 20th century, could believe that the United States and Europe respect any “rules of war” that the victims of Hiroshima or Auschwitz could recognize. After she describes the perpetrator of September 11 as “a fanatical, post-state enemy,” she asks, “What paths might we choose to defeat his purposes while at the same time bringing remedy to the clusters of crisis outlined above?” George’s solution: a “new, updated and globalized Keynesian strategy,” involving various reforms such as taxing international financial transactions and canceling Third World debt.19

Greider, too, in a November Nation article, positions himself as a patriotic opponent of footloose capital in the wake of September 11:

Where does loyalty reside for those American corporations that have rebranded themselves as “global firms”? Our resurgence of deeply felt patriotism, with official assurances that Americans are all-in-this-together, raises the same question. At a deeper level, the patriotic sense of unity collides with familiar assumptions advanced by the architects and cheerleaders of corporate globalization.20

While Greider is no doubt right to point out capital’s wartime profiteering, he is otherwise completely wrong. The world is not divided between democratic nation-states striving to serve their own populations and callous multinationals that turn their backs on them. The Bush administration is stoking the fires of patriotism precisely because the U.S. state represents the interests of American multinationals that depend on it to back up McDonald’s with McDonnell Douglass, to paraphrase New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman. Sadly, Greider’s mistaken view allows him to be a staunch critic of corporate power while at the same time a “patriot” in Bush’s war against Afghanistan.

Greider’s view fits nicely with those of Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing editor Joel Rogers, who see the war as an opportunity for progressives. “Sept. 11,” they write, “has made the idea of a public sector, and the society that it serves, attractive again.”21 Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair have answered this best:

You want to be reminded of what Big Government has been up to in the past few weeks? The Antiterrorism Act passed by Congress at the President’s request in late October guts the Constitution’s guarantees of habeas corpus, presumption of innocence, and due process.

It allows the federal government in the form of the Justice Department, CIA, FBI, and INS to detain noncitizens on nonexistent or secret evidence, conduct wiretaps and surveillance without evidence of wrong-doing, conduct searches and seizures without warrant, eavesdrop on private conversations between defendants and their lawyers in violation of attorney-client privilege, and investigate private citizens without “probable cause” ... . Add to this trashing of the Bill of Rights the president’s order for military tribunals. All this, and the liberal Democrats see this as a time of opportunity to invoke the benefits of big government! On this form, these people would hail concentration camps as encouraging pointers towards a “new sense of collectivity.” This is crackpot realism on an epic scale.22

Conclusion: In defense of “knee-jerk” anti-imperialism

Any success for the U.S. in its current “war on terrorism” will strengthen U.S. imperial arrogance and give U.S. war makers a go-ahead to wage war and impose their will wherever and whenever they like. This is not a positive, but a negative outcome in terms of the interests of the world’s oppressed and exploited. The “war on terror” is an excuse to ratchet up the scale of “wholesale terror,” to quote Noam Chomsky, in reference to the mass terror committed by the United States around the globe used to strengthen its imperial reach. The Vietnam syndrome, resulting from the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, was a good thing. We should aim to build a movement that pushes U.S. imperialism back again.

Our job as revolutionaries is to act as a left pole inside the antiwar movement, providing the strongest and most consistent anti-imperialist arguments. We must expose those in the antiwar movement whose views adapt so far to the right (in the name of gaining a wider hearing) that they barely qualify as antiwar–such as the post–September 11 statement of the Student Peace Action Network (SPAN). The statement reads, in part,

We’ve got Special Forces in Afghanistan right now lazing “targets,” i.e. mud piles and rubble. Reconstitute their mission to search-and-destroy mode. Shoot these Al-Qaeda fighters between the eyes from 1,000 yards out ... you know we can do it.23

But we must, at the same time, make a distinction between the organized forces that represent the conservative wing of the antiwar movement and are unlikely to change, and the activists who are groping for answers that they haven’t yet found.

As the “war on terror” progresses–claiming more civilian lives and imposing colonial-style control over Afghanistan and elsewhere–the politics of the movement will shift leftward and build on more solid ground. Out of that movement will come increasing numbers of people who seek not to remold American foreign policy, a utopian snare, but to fight for a world where wars for markets, profits, and resources (dressed up in various garbs for public consumption) are a thing of the past.

* * *


1 Both the NAACP and NOW positions are quoted approvingly by New Republic senior editor Andrew Sullivan in “The agony of the left,” Opinion Journal, October 4, 2001.

p class="note">2 Todd Gitlin, “Liberal activists finding themselves caught between a flag and a hard place,” San Jose Mercury News, October 28, 2001.

3 David Talbot, “The making of a hawk,” Salon, January 3, 2002.

4 Richard Falk, “Defining a just war,” The Nation, October 29, 2001. Falk later retracted his support for the war on the grounds that the “means”–cluster bombs and “Vietnam-era tactics”–were too extreme, though he continued to support the “ends”–destroying al-Qaeda. Then, in a December 24 Nation article titled “In defense of ‘just war’ thinking,” he reversed himself again. “Now,” he wrote, “given the unexpectedly rapid collapse of the Taliban regime and the obvious impact on the operational nexus of Al Qaeda, there seems, at least temporarily, to be a restored sense of proportionality between means and ends.” Translation: I was worried about the bombing of innocent civilians, but it seems to have “worked,” so it’s got my support again. This is a good example of how a consistent antiwar position must question both the means and the ends.

5 Carl Davidson, “Responses to ‘On Political Strategy,’” Portside online news service and discussion group of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, October 8, 2001.

6 Carl Davidson, “Terrorism and the present danger: A perspective for the American left,” Portside, November 19, 2001.

7 Quoted in Sharon Smith and Bill Roberts, “The invasion of Somalia,” Socialist Worker, January 1993.

8 Quoted in Phil Gasper and Helen Redmond, “The Americans are the major tribe now,” Socialist Worker, December 1993.

9 Quoted in Lance Selfa, “The myth of humanitarian intervention,” Socialist Worker, April 9, 1999.

10 Selfa, “The myth of humanitarian intervention.”

11 Quoted in Lee Sustar, “From Bosnia to Kosovo,” Socialist Worker, June 18, 1999.

12 Falk, “Defining a just war.”

13 “Stop the bombing,” Washington Newsletter, Friends Committee on National Legislation, October 2001.

14 The Gainesville, Florida, Community Coalition Against War and Terrorism makes a call for “coalition building” in such a way as to make it unclear whether it really opposes the war or it only opposes a unilateral war without a UN fig leaf. They write in a pamphlet, “But we had to do something ...”: “Intervention (diplomatic or military) to bring stability to a government should involve the international community, unlike the US-UK in Afghanistan. An international force will increase international stability and deflect criticism towards the nations involved.” (How this is an antiwar position is beyond me.)

15 Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen, “Hearts and minds: Avoiding a new Cold War,” AlterNet, October 18, 2001.

16 “Reconstructing Afghanistan: Statement by Global Exchange Women’s Delegation to the Region,” December 2001, available online at.

17 John McMurtry, foreward, in Wayne Ellwood, No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization (London: Verso Press, 2001), p. 4.

18 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2001), pp. xiii–xiv.

19 Susan George, “Clusters of planetary contract,” Sand in the Wheels, available online at

20 William Greider, “Pro patria, pro mundo,” The Nation, November 12, 2001.

21 Katrina vanden Heuvel and Joel Rogers, “What’s left? A new life for progressivism,” Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2001.

22 Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, “The left’s “silver lining”: Hurray! The era of big government is back ... as big police?” Counterpunch, December 4, 2001.

23 The SPAN statement, which has since been removed from their Web site, also backs sanctions against Afghanistan. It should be remembered that in Peace Action’s former garb, SANE-FREEZE, it supported sanctions against Iraq as an “alternative” to bombing in 1990–91, using the slogan “Let sanctions work.” It was only after the sanctions had “worked”–by way of killing thousands of Iraqi children–that the organization reversed its stand on the Iraq sanctions. The SPAN statement is available from the author.

Paul D’Amato Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 15 August 2022