News Release

A Way Out?

At the National Cathedral today, President Bush said “this nation is peaceful.” The following analysts are available for interviews.

HOWARD ZINN
A renowned historian who has authored numerous books including A People’s History of the United States, Zinn was a bombardier during World War II. He said today: “The images on television horrified and sickened me. Then our political leaders came on television, and I was horrified and sickened again. They spoke of retaliation, of vengeance, of punishment. I thought: they have learned nothing, absolutely nothing, from the history of the 20th century, from a hundred years of retaliation, vengeance, war, a hundred years of terrorism and counter-terrorism, of violence met with violence in an unending cycle of stupidity. Will we now bomb Afghanistan, and inevitably kill innocent people, because it is in the nature of bombing to be indiscriminate? Will we then be committing terrorism in order to ‘send a message’ to terrorists? Yes, it is an old way of thinking, and we need new ways. A $300 billion military budget has not given us security. Military bases all over the world, our warships on every ocean, have not given us security. Land mines, a ‘missile defense,’ will not give us security. We need to imagine that the awful scenes of death and suffering we are witnessing have been going on in other parts of the world for a long time, and only now can we begin to know what people have gone through, often as a result of our policies. We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.”

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KEVIN GRAY
An activist and contributing editor to Black News in Columbia, S.C., Gray is working on a book entitled The Death of Black Politics. He said today: “People who feel hopeless fly into buildings. And now we’re going to get mad and kill them. Well, they’re already willing to die — they’re already dead. People have focused on the who, what, where and how — but we need to ask and think about the why. U.S. policies have caused enormous levels of death and destruction around the world. From Nicaragua to Chile to Iraq to Cuba to Palestine to Timor to Cambodia to any number of other places, one clearly sees the callousness with which U.S. policies treat the lives and property of especially non-white peoples. A declaration of war will — rather than reducing the threat of terrorism — eliminate basic civil liberties and strengthen the existing tendency toward a racist and classist police state.”

JULES LOBEL
Professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Pittsburgh, Lobel co-wrote the Yale International Law Journal article “The Use of Force to Respond to Terrorist Attacks — The Afghanistan and Sudan Bombing.” He said today: “We live in a culture of violence. I was in a courtroom arguing about how to deal with violent inmates when the judge told us of the attacks. I spent hours wondering if my sister — who worked on the 50th story of the WTC — was safe. I thought about whether our bombing another country and killing people would give her possible death meaning. It was an empty feeling. When our leaders talk of a disproportionate response that would inevitably kill many civilians — what exactly distinguishes that response from this heinous act? The only hope is if this tragedy forces us to re-evaluate our role in the world.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167