News Release

Critical Perspectives on the Current Crisis


Barratt is the spokesperson for Oxfam International in Islamabad. He said today: “So much more needs to be done to prevent mass starvation in Afghanistan this winter. Prior to the crisis, the World Food Program, with the help of Oxfam and other groups, was feeding 3.7 million people. That has stopped. The airdrops will — at the very best — feed 130,000 people.”
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Chancellor professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Aruri is author of the book The Obstruction Of Peace: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians and the essay “America’s War Against Iraq: 1990-1999.” He said today: “Bush seems to be pleased that Arafat is reining in protests and free expression. There is still ambiguity on the U.S. stance on Iraq, though we should recall that the U.S. is continuing to bomb Iraq, as it has on a weekly basis for two years now. Bush’s emphasis that this is not a war against Islam does several things, including helping protect U.S. client regimes.”
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Last night, President Bush said: “I’m amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us.” Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, said today: “It’s not that Arab and Muslim people hate us, rather, they feel a deep ambivalence — they respect us as people, but are highly critical of our government’s policies. They see deep contradictions between our government’s stated goals and reality: It talks about self-determination, but it helps Israel deny that to the Palestinians. It talks about justice and fairness, but the U.S.-led sanctions on Iraq punish the Iraqi people for the crimes of their brutal dictator. It claims to be peaceful, but its bombing has already killed innocent people in Afghanistan.”
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Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Lubin said today: “The children in Afghanistan have been suffering for over 20 years. It is cynical for President Bush to ask American school children to each send one dollar to the White House to help them while our government is bombing their country day and night. We must look at our government’s policies in that region including the sanctions on the children of Iraq and our support for the brutal occupation of Palestine.”
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Hagopian, professor emerita of sociology at Simmons College in Boston and author of several articles on the Arab world, said today: “Since the end of World War II, when the U.S. took over where the colonial powers left off, the U.S. in essence has undermined democracy and supported so-called moderate Islamic regimes and so-called ‘liberal regimes’ — in which the president ‘wins’ 99 percent of the vote. In both cases they’re not democratic. As grievances have built up in the Mideast, the fanatic figures, whether they are Bin Laden or the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, are able to offer an outlet for that anger. Democracy in Arab countries would mean that popular opinion could be acted upon and that Arab states could deal with the U.S. based on equity.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167