I do not know the content of what was here before, if indeed anything was here before. I came here from the node "Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan: Statement on the Terrorist Attacks in the US" after seeing a softlink. I felt this shouldn't be an empty nodeshell, and that a writeup here should at least attempt to address those issues broached upon in the title.

Let it be known that I support going after the terrorists, and trying to make our nation more secure against terrorism. However, we need to keep certain things in mind as seek out those responsible and those who harbor the responsible parties. We need to remember what we have done that has enabled this attack against us, and reflect upon what effect our government's policies has had upon those who would seek to destroy us.

In May of 2001, President George W. Bush gave $43 million in aid to the Taliban Militia of Afghanistan, after they declared the cultivation and processing of opium to be illegal and "against the will of Allah". This is a further example of how corrupt our government has become in fighting the War on Drugs. It was well known even at that time that the Taliban Militia, which controls most of Afghanistan, was known to harbor fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden, who was connected to the twin bombings of US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

When I first heard about the transaction earlier this year, I said to my friends and family that at least some of this money would probably come back to us as an explosive "care package" from Osama bin Laden. Whether or not that money came into the hands of Al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden is not known to me, but certainly it will come back to haunt us as we try to track down those responsible in Afghanistan.

On September 11, 2001, we found out just how those funds might be used, when 4 commercial airliners were hijacked, 1 of them crashing in Pennsylvania, 1 crashing into The Pentagon, and two crashing into each of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, NY.

One has to wonder what our President was thinking in granting that money to Afghanistan. Is the War on Drugs such a priority that we would give money to the mostly unrecognized government that harbors terrorists that have formerly bombed two of our embassies in Africa, and bombed the USS Cole while it was fueling in Yemen?

Now that we have committed this nations resources to fighting terrorism globally, there are issues that we must face. One issue is what effect the $43 million dollars we gave to the Taliban will have upon our effort to remove the Taliban from power, and capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Remember, Afghan fighter have repelled other foreign powers such as the former Soviet Union and Great Britain with far less funds. True, we have something they didn't: The desire to seek atonement for barbaric acts which took the lives of over 6,000 of our citizens.

The second issue we must face is how power are we going to give our government within our own borders? There is already talk of legalizing warrentless searches including and in addition to increased wiretapping powers. There is nothing more permanent than a "temporary" measure. With the stated goal of elimination world terrorism, such measures would never be temporary, as we will never totally eliminate terrorism from this world. We also must worry about such powers being used for investigations into subjects other than terrorism.

The last issue I will raise is that of the War on Drugs. After we have seen Plan Colombia in action, and the $43 million dollars given to the Taliban militia, I think a reevaluation of the War on Drugs is long overdue, for domestic and international reasons. The Taliban has indicated that if the United States takes military action against Afghanistan, that they will make legal once again the cultivation of Opium. Of course, the trade and export of opium (as well as the refinement of opium into heroin and the export of heroin) is controlled by the Taliban. They profit greatly from the black market on opium and heroin, as criminality vastly increases their profit margin. Some say that if we were to legalize drugs, we would cut the legs out from under many rebel and terrorist groups around the world, or at least cripple their ability to fund their campaigns.

In closing, we must evaluate our policies, and the effects it has both domestically and internationally. There are several issues I have not ever touched upon that have brought us to where we now stand. We must look at what has brought us here, and learn from the mistakes we have made. We must carefully examine the actions of our politicians, our government, and our military, and try to figure out what our mistakes were. Certainly, there is nothing that can justify the slaughter of 6,000 people and the destruction of our national symbols. However, we must admit our contributions to tragedy, and try to ensure we never invest in the unwarranted and wanton slaughter of our people, or any other people, ever again.

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Statement at Press Briefing on New U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for Afghans
Washington, DC
May 17, 2001

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, everyone. Afghanistan is in crisis. After more than 20 years of war, and now the third year of a devastating drought, the country is on the verge of a widespread famine. Nearly 4 million Afghans are at risk. If the international community does not take immediate action, countless deaths and terrible tragedy are certain to follow.

At the direction of President Bush, I am today announcing a package of $43 million in new humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan, including 65,000 tons of wheat, $5 million in complementary food commodities, and $10 million in other livelihood and food security programs within Afghanistan. We also expect to soon announce additional assistance to Afghan refugees.

Even before this latest commitment, the United States was by far the largest provider of humanitarian assistance for Afghans. Last year, we provided about $114 million in aid. With this new package, our humanitarian assistance to date this year will reach $124 million. This includes over 200,000 tons of wheat.

We will continue to look for ways to provide more assistance for Afghans, including those farmers who have felt the impact of the ban on poppy cultivation, a decision by the Taliban that we welcome.

We distribute our assistance in Afghanistan through international agencies of the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations. We provide our aid to the people of Afghanistan, not to Afghanistan's warring factions. Our aid bypasses the Taliban, who have done little to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, and indeed have done much to exacerbate it. [Edit.: Emphasis mine] We hope the Taliban will act on a number of fundamental issues that separate us: their support for terrorism; their violation of internationally recognized human rights standards, especially their treatment of women and girls; and their refusal to resolve Afghanistan's civil war through a negotiated settlement.

UN sanctions against the Taliban are smart sanctions and do not hurt the Afghan people, nor do these sanctions affect the flow of humanitarian assistance for Afghans. America seeks to help the neediest, wherever they may be. I call upon the international community to mobilize and respond generously to help avert this looming humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Secretary General Annan and I have discussed this situation before, and I will ask for his further assistance to raise the international community's awareness about this crisis and to impress upon the international community the necessity to respond with energy and with dispatch.

Colleagues of mine from different parts of the government, as well as including the United States Agency for International Development, will be available to provide more detailed information, should you have questions.

Thanks for playing.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.