It's Not Nothing!

Identifying Positive Alternatives to War

The other day, someone wrote the following in response to one of our articles here on Magniloquence Against War:

"Well, we have to do SOMETHING about these terrorist attacks. We can't just do NOTHING. What do you propose we do besides saying our government is WRONG WRONG WRONG?"

Looks like we need to say this loud and clear: engaging in reckless acts of war is hardly the only "something" that one can do to counter the scourge of terrorism, and opposing the war is hardly equivalent to saying we should do "nothing."

The fact is, there are a lot of things we could be doing right now besides blowing people up by the bushel. Use your imagination! What, you don't have any? Well, OK, then, let me get you started. We could...

  1. stop the war now
  2. allow the International Red Cross to re-establish aid programs to the people of Afghanistan
  3. Re-open diplomatic talks with the Taliban, and NEGOTIATE for the extradition of Bin Laden and his accomplices, providing EVIDENCE that Bin Laden is connected to the September 11 attacks (I believe that this is normally required for extradition of criminals)
  4. Prosecute Bin Laden and his accomplices for the crimes they have committed
  5. Continue all efforts to restrict money-laundering activities of criminal networks such as Al Quida around the world
  6. Stop providing all aid but humanitarian relief to totalitarian regimes such as Pakistan and revolutionary groups known to have extremist ideologies and histories of horrific human rights abuses such as the Northern Alliance
  7. Provide extensive assistance in the form of training and funding to credible organizations working toward the peaceful establishment of egalitarian democracy within Afghanistan
  8. If no such organizations exist, find individual Afghan exiles who are interested in such a project and bring them together for extensive training (if we can provide military training for Northern Alliance forces guilty of mass rapes and murders in Kabul, we can provide political training for able Afghan exiles) with substantial financial support to form a government in exile
  9. Work with the citizens of ALL totalitarian regimes around the world in such a manner
  10. Work with willing neighbors of totalitarian regimes to find political solutions to the development of militant religious fundamentalism and international networks of criminal violence
  11. Pull all American troops out of Saudi Arabia and Iraq
  12. Make all arms sales and arms donations from companies based in the United States illegal
  13. Make all further aid to Israel contingent upon the sustained cessation of hostilities with the Palestinians within one year, lasting at least 3 years without interruption
  14. Make support for a Palestinian state contingent upon the sustained cessation of hostilities with the Israelis within one year, lasting at least 3 years without interruption
  15. Increase humanitarian aid to reliably democratic nations
  16. Provide scholarships to any Afghan woman to get a degree in any non-technical or non-scientific discipline (so as not to provide indirect technical expertise to any potential future enemies of the United States)
  17. Provide university scholarships to any Afghan male who wishes to major in women's studies
  18. Sponsor junior-high and high-school age children from nations with totalitarian regimes and nations at risk of falling to the rule of militant Islamic fundamentalists who wish to visit the United States for one year
  19. Take reasonable security precautions within the United States that do not interfere with civil liberties
  20. Restore Americans' protection from unreasonable search and seizure, ended with the security legislation passed this October
  21. Fund research institutions and think-tanks to develop understandings of the cause of attacks such as those of September 11 that are based on more substantial ideas than the accusation that "they're evil"
  22. Charge these institutions and think-tanks with the task of recommending non-violent methods of undermining rogue international crminal networks
  23. Follow these recommendations
  24. Reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum (which is the reason we have a military presence in Saudi Arabia and Iraq in the first place) by enforcing strict fuel efficiency guidelines, encouraging carpooling and developing more reliable and sustainable systems of public transportation
  25. Re-build the financial district in New York City
  26. Re-build our national economy
  27. MOVE ON so that the government can address the vital business of running our country in a sane manner.

That's just off the top of my head, but the point is that we need to stop bombing hospitals and killing people who had NOTHING to do with the attacks of September 11, recognize the underlying issues that provoked the inarguably insupportable attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center and address these issues in creative ways that will not perpetuate international resentment and fury at the United States.

Is that a good enough start for you?

- Josephine Cook
Contributing Editor, Irregular Times

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