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Big News: When Bombing Activates Peace Activists

BIG NEWS with By Dave Crampton

When Bombing Activates Peace Activists

Well, if it wasn’t for the war, the Taliban would still be in Kabul - and so would the eight Christian Aid workers who were detained for three months after being accused of preaching Christianity. The bombing did sufficient damage to allow the Northern Alliance into Kabul and the Taliban just took off.

As a result, for the first time in five years, those living in Kabul can have a shave, play music in the street and fly kites. If you are a courageous woman you can even lift your burqa for the first time and see what it really looks like outside. Women can also walk alone in the streets and also get a job. They couldn’t do that last week.

Now did peace marches achieve this, or did bombing achieve it more? Whatever, there is more hope in Kabul now, but bin Laden still has to be hunted down. The war is costing a billion dollars a day – and that’s just the cost of the US effort.

Bin Laden’s sister-in-law has said on American TV that the Saudi Arabian Government is backing bin Laden financially with big dollars. (After all, bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian). After the terrorist attacks, the Saudi’s visited the destruction and handed a $100 000 cheque to the Mayor of New Your City. He rejected it. He found out later that all but three of the terrorists were Saudis. But the US are hesitant to bomb Saudi Arabia because they want their oil.

One person from California e-mailed me and said he was so sick of hearing cries for peace and justice without any punishment for evil, as if simply ignoring evil is just and will bring peace. As if fighting evil is unjust and should be avoided. As if evil and good are equal and must be tolerated by each other in today’s pluralistic society.

And another, from Malaysia: “If I was opposed to the war (I`m not, I am in favour) I think my response would be… there are enough violent crazies in the American forces to escalate this thing way beyond a contained military response and turn it into a vengeful bloodlust.”

So far it is a contained military response. But there is a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan – there has been for years - and peace campaigners appear to be using this as an excuse to campaign against bombing. If they were that concerned about the humanitarian crisis they would have campaigned for years – not starting just after terrorist attacks.

Furthermore there are millions of Afghans who have crossed the border into Pakistan. They are also part of the humanitarian crisis, but I don’t hear any campaigning on behalf of these people by these same campaigners. That’s because, in their opinion, halting bombing is more important than campaigning for humanitarian aid. The saddest thing is that those who campaign against bombing in the name of a humanitarian crisis were not campaigning before the bombing began, and I reckon most weren’t even aware of the humanitarian problem. Even if they were, their campaigning would only be intensified if bombs were dropping.

The other smokescreen peace campaigners are using is the holy month of Ramadan, which is coming up. They say bombing should stop for Ramadan so Muslims can worship their God. I wonder if the militant terrorists feel the same way about Thanksgiving, which Americans are currently gearing up for. I suspect if September 11 was Thanksgiving, the only reason the terrorists would choose another day to hit the towers would be because nobody would be there – they would be at home eating all day.

I got criticised by a few Christians due to my stance on my just war theory –from both the US and New Zealand. I was even accused of being “unbiblical”, without a scrap of evidence. Many American Christians support the bombing in Afghanistan – due to US patriotism, rather than their religious beliefs. Some who want the bombing paused, or even stopped will say their patriotism is compromising their religious beliefs, and I think that is a fair comment.

But will pausing bombing for Ramadan really assist in justice for the sake of a little peace? What about the fact that the Taliban are also taking lives and destroying buildings. Why aren’t peace campaigners complaining about these atrocities? The Taliban are not dropping bombs, that’s why.

Driving the Taliban out of Kabul is a step in the right direction, but bin Laden and his cronies have to be brought to justice.

And that’s what this war is about. Justice leads to peace, not the other way around. You can’t have it both ways, “not now, not ever” as another e-mail noted.

In other news – the Salvation Army is having a gay old time. Last month the Sally Army in the US permitted its territories to set their own employment benefit policies. So last week one territory said they would break with tradition and offer domestic partner benefits - including gay couples. I guess that fits in with local human rights legislation, but not with Sally Army style as they consider homosexuality unacceptable. But when wind of the move got to the national organisation they put the skids on it, despite saying regions could set their own employment benefit policies. Obviously tradition still caries a lot weight in the Sally Army.

Commissioner Lawrence R Moretz said in a written statement: “We will not sign any government contract or any other funding contracts that contain domestic partner benefit requirements.”

So that means the territories can set their own policies - but they can’t. You have to wonder why they even suggested they could do it in the first place.

If you’re gay and work for the Sallies in the US, make sure your partner gets employment benefit policies instead.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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