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Transmuting Heat into Energy -
A Call to Action

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The Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft condemns the use of all violence whether it takes the form of terrorism or U.S. military action. While we continue to mourn the death of so many innocent lives in the September 11th attacks, our grief has been heightened by the loss of equally innocent Afghani civilians due to the unwarranted and unjustifiable attacks by the United States government on Afghanistan.

Many people in the peace and social justice community expected and predicted a U.S. military response to the terrorist attacks. History shows us that military force is the preferred U.S. "problem solving" method, despite the reality that violence only breeds more violence. Now people in the U.S. are possibly facing additional terrorist attacks in response to U.S. military action in Afghanistan and arrogant and ignorant U.S. foreign policy - a policy that promotes, finances and fosters violence and human rights violations throughout the world.

So what actions should the U.S. government take? First, the U.S. should immediately cease its attacks on Afghanistan and allow the system of international law to bring those responsible for the September terrorist attacks to justice. Then, the U.S. should shut down its own terrorist training facility, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas). This should be followed by the withdrawal of financial and military support to the Israeli government, as well as all other oppressive and militaristic governments. The next step would be to cooperate with the international community to establish states for the Palestinian people and other oppressed nations, including the Kurdish people in Turkey (a NATO ally) and Iraq. Also, the murderous non-military sanctions against Iraq must be discontinued.

Finally, the U.S., rather than disregarding international laws, treaties and conventions (except when it's convenient for its own agenda), must fully comply with international law and work to strengthen democratic institutions and promote human rights worldwide. In short, the U.S. must become a responsible member of the international community.

By taking the steps outlined above, the U.S. can do much to eliminate many of the root causes of terrorism and erode support for terrorists within the countries where they base their activities. Only then will the chances of further terrorist attacks be reduced.

There is no doubt that the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world in terms of economic and military power. In the past, it has willingly used these strengths to needlessly wage war and destruction in Viet Nam, Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq and Yugoslavia (among others), and now in Afghanistan. Millions have died due to misguided U.S. military interventions, and many more will die unless the U.S. government alters its foreign policy. The enormous amount of anger in the U.S. can be used to further the cycle of violence or it can be harnessed to make meaningful changes in the dynamics of U.S. relations with the international community. Mohandas Gandhi once said, "I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world."

It is time for the world to be moved.

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft
P.O. Box 15195, San Diego, CA 92175

This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (www.comdsd.org).
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