Sep 16, 2003

Tufts Students and US Foreign Policy: A Call to Citizenship | by Jerry Meldon | Published in The Tufts Daily, September 16, 2003


Two years after the ghastly events of 9/11/01 George W. Bush’s squint-eyed Marlboro Man persona has changed little. Steadfast, he declares his unwavering commitment to rid the world of terrorists who, he says, despise our freedom, democracy and free market ethos. He sees nothing but success abroad even as he eats crow soliciting UN intervention in Iraq. How much longer will you accept at face value what he says?

The terrorist attacks of 2001 shocked, wounded and frightened all Americans, most of whom responded with angry calls for revenge and tough-sounding bumper stickers.

The president’s confident, determined demeanor won the hearts of many, making them forget the president’s dubious 2000 electoral mandate, the sensational revelations of Wall Street’s criminal venality, White House links to the Enron Ponzi scheme, and Mr. Bush’s sponsorship of tax relief for the rich just when the economy headed south.

We’ve stood by passively as the Bush administration, in pursuit of its war on terrorism:   

  • Invaded Afghanistan, ousted the Taliban from Kabul, then couldn’t locate the Taliban’s sponsor and number one guest Osama Bin Laden. Not only were our troops redeployed to Iraq before stabilizing Afghanistan, Washington has withheld financial assistance promised to the government of Hamid Karzai – whose authority evaporates at the outskirts of Kabul while regional warlords pocket millions trafficking in heroin, of which Afghanistan is again the world’s primary source. History is also repeating itself on the battlefield, where regrouped Taliban and Al Qaeda forces are again waging guerrilla war against coalition forces, leaving Washington and its partners little choice but to dispatch reinforcements lest the Karzai government – and the entire country – fall.

Meanwhile in Iraq:

  • We’ve won yet another war against a vastly inferior enemy but are evidently clueless about maintaining the peace; and Saddam Hussein, like Bin Laden, still haunts us. Mr. Bush’s continued insistence that Baghdad aided the 9/11 hijackers – his justification for invading Iraq, along with those elusive weapons of mass destruction – has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. One-hundred-thirty thousand American soldiers are not magnets for vengeful Islamic militants who – inflamed by Washington’s unwavering support for Israel and the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt; and its partnership with the corrupt, repressive, but oil-rich rulers of Saudi Arabia – are leaping at the opportunity to site GI’s in their crosshairs. Under these circumstances it is the moral imperative of Tufts students –

who are among the very brightest and most privileged citizens of these United States, and are attending a university that prides itself on promoting citizen ship – to:

  •  keep yourselves informed about potential and actual consequences of US foreign policy
  • do so by tapping a variety of information sources
  • discuss what you learn with classmates, family and friends
  • participate actively in what the approaching presidential election promises to be a nationwide debate about priorities and policies

If not, you might as well be living in a military dictatorship like the one Gen. Augusto Pinochet headed in Chile following a CIA-instigated coup d’etat on September 11, 1973.


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