News Release

As Bombing Proceeds: Now What?

JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings was in Afghani refugee camps in Pakistan this May. He has been involved in humanitarian work for the past 20 years around the world. Jennings said today: “The conditions of the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan earlier this year were the worst I have ever seen — and I have seen a lot. The camps inside Afghanistan are in even worse shape; for example in Herat there are 600,000 people on the verge of starvation. Food drops from high altitudes alone absolutely cannot provide sufficient and effective relief that is urgently necessary to prevent mass starvation. If you provide one pound of food per day, the minimum for bare survival, it would take 500 planeloads a month to supply the one camp in Herat alone, and Afghanistan is the size of Texas. The administration has stated that two aircraft are being used for food relief so far — for all of Afghanistan. Three weeks ago the head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad said that the food would run out — in three weeks.” [In response to the U.S./U.K. attacks, the World Food Program today suspended food convoys to Afghanistan.]

AS’AD ABUKHALIL
Author of the forthcoming book Bin Laden and Taliban: The New American War Against Terrorism and associate professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus, AbuKhalil is a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He said today: “Both Bin Laden and Bush say that you are either with them or against them; yet much of the Middle East stands in opposition to both. Al Jazeera is showing demonstrations in Oman against the U.S. strikes, which is very rare — protests are illegal there. Bin Ladin clearly is attempting to reach out to an audience well beyond a small community of followers.”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes is senior policy analyst and Middle East editor at the Foreign Policy in Focus Project and author of the articles “U.S. Policy Toward Political Islam” and “International Terrorism.” He said today: “The use of heavy bombers against a country with few hard targets raises serious doubts about the Bush Administration’s claim that the attacks are not against the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban has allowed Bin Laden and his followers sanctuary, but there is little evidence that they have provided the kind of direct financial or military support that can be crippled through air strikes.”
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JOHN QUIGLEY
Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley said: “We have to ask, ‘Will this protect the U.S. from further attacks?’…. Military action should have been done through the Security Council at the United Nations. As it is — a U.S. and U.K. military action — it is illegal under international law.”

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