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‘Attacks on Afghanistan Inhuman, Ineffective and Counterproductive’

8 October 2001

‘Attacks on Afghanistan Inhuman, Ineffective and Counterproductive’

The Socialist Party of the Netherlands is the only Dutch parliamentary political party to have spoken out in opposition to Bush and Blair’s war. Their five Members of the "Tweede Kamer", the lower house of the Dutch parliament, condemned unequivocally the approach taken by the United States in the fight against terrorism, viewing the Anglo-American attacks as inhuman, ineffective and counter-productive.

The bombing of Afghanistan by the US and Britain is inhuman. All the experience of the past shows, moreover, that innocent people are always killed when massive bombardments using bombs and cruise missiles are conducted, while new floods of refugees are created and growing poverty and disease afflict the population. Exactly the same things happened at the time of the bombing of Sudan, Baghdad and Belgrade.

Such attacks are also ineffective. Osama Bin Laden and, still more importantly, the entire terrorist network of which he forms part, is established throughout the world and cannot be eliminated through the bombing of one of the world’s poorest countries.

The attack will also prove counterproductive. One of its most important consequences will be that still more people will be attracted to bin Laden and his terrorist ideas. The outrage over the bombing attacks and their results will make many more people believe that they can expect nothing from the West other than indiscriminate (counter)terror.

The claims by Bush, Blair and KOK that this new war is not aimed at the Afghan population or against Islam will persuade few. Drops of food and medicine change nothing. Many people will justifiably ask themselves: why can they do this now when during the last five years they could do nothing for us?

The SP parliamentary group is astonished that Prime Minister Kok was not informed in advance of when this ’new war’ would begin, what sort of attacks would be launched or the war aims. On September 11th, immediately after it was proposed by the US, The Netherlands voted in favour of the ’activation’ of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, and the week before the attacks were launched took eight related measures with possibly far-reaching consequences. Despite this, and just as was the case at the time of the Kosovo war, Washington did not deem it necessary to inform, let alone consult, its ally. That the government of the Netherlands is content with this is quite as astonishing to the SP parliamentary group as is the attitude of the rest of the Tweede Kamer. Every other group stands four square behind the military action, despite having as yet been allowed to see no proof whatsoever of the guilt of Osama bin Laden, knowing nothing of the Americans’ strategic plan or of the consequences any bombardment might have.

The SP parliamentary group believes that those responsible for the 11 September attacks must be arrested and tried. The fight against terrorism in general must principally be aimed at the isolation of terrorists by doing away with the conditions which breed fanaticism and hatred.

This statement was issued on October 8 by the Socialist Party’s parliamentary group of 5 MPs: Jan Marijnissen, Remi Poppe, Agnes Kant, Harry van Bommel and Jan de Wit.

You can also read the article Rights Can’t Be Traded for Security by Erik Meijer, Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist Party of the Netherlands.

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