The New Cold War and State Terrorism
By Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. and NATO have been desperately searching for a new global enemy. The so called, "War on Terrorism" is like a new Cold War.
What is terrorism? Terrorism is using violence against innocent civilians for political purposes.
Over the past 50 years, millions have died in wars. An increasing percentage of the victims in those wars have been civilians. Civilians nowadays make up about 90% of the casualties in war.
Therefore, war is terrorism.
War is Terrorism
The U.S. knows a lot about war and terror. Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Timothy McVeigh and bin Laden. What do they have in common? Yes, their crimes are horrific but what's more, they were all supported and controlled - for a time - by U.S. military and U.S. intelligence agencies. They have all come back to haunt the U.S.
But it is unfair to compare their horrific crimes with those of the U.S. military. Noriega, Hussein, McVeigh and bin Laden are mere amateurs compared to the U.S. military.
During the recent terrorist strike against the U.S., it appears that about 20 terrorists were killed and about 7,000 civilians died. Compare that to the war against Vietnam in which about 55,000 U.S. troops were killed. But in Southeast Asia, the death toll was about 4 million, and they were mostly civilians. Under the tutelage of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Canada happily provided napalm and billions of dollars worth of other kinds of weapons and military equipment to the U.S. for use in that war.
Four million dead. That's just a number. Brace yourselves for a horrific image. If you piled up all those bodies, how high would it be? A pile of three bodies would be about one metre high. So, one thousand bodies would be 330 meters high. A million bodies would be 330,000 metres high. So, the bodies of four million people killed in Southeast Asia, by the U.S. war, would create a pile 1,333 kilometres high!
The World Trade Center towers were about 415 metres tall. One would have to pile up about 3,200 such towers to reach as high as the stack of 4 million bodies killed during the U.S. war against Vietnam.
The U.S. has armed, trained and financed some of the world's worst terrorists, including Indonesia's dictator Suharto, whose military was responsible for perhaps a million murders. The death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala killed almost a half million people. In Iraq, Canada helped the U.S. bomb water purification facilities, sewage treatment plants, power stations. This unleashed widespread epidemics and diseases. This was biological warfare. The bombs, the disease and the economic blockade since then have killed about 1.5 million Iraqis, mostly civilians, mostly children.
This new "war on terrorism" is just what they need to rationalize their bloated military spending. The U.S. government spends half of its total budget on the military, about half a trillion dollars a year.
About 80% of the world's total military equipment is produced by NATO member states. Six NATO members are among the world's top ten military producers: the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Canada. The U.S., U.K. and France alone account for 70% of world's total weapons production.
The U.S. military budget is more than twenty-two times as large as the combined spending of the seven "rogue" states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria).
The U.S. is the real rogue. It is a rogue superpower. It is immune from international law. It is immune from prosecution for its crimes against humnanity. We must try to build support for holding the U.S. and NATO accountable for their crimes.
The U.S. and its close allies spend more than the rest of the world combined, accounting for 63% of all military spending.
After the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO became increasingly irrelevant and needed a reason for its continued existence. NATO's illegal war against Yugoslavia provided a viagra-like boost to NATO.
Prior to September 11, NATO member states had committed themselves to increase their military abilities for "power projection, mobility and increased interoperability." European NATO countries had already increased their expenditures for military equipment by 11% since 1995. Military budgets in the U.S. and Canada have also increased over the past two years.
The military budgets of NATO countries amounted to about 60% of the world's total military spending (US$798 billion) for the year 2000.
Rather than focusing on such genuinely humanitarian priorities as providing food, housing, health care, education, environmental protection and public transportation for their populations and the rest of the world, NATO is intent on increasing their military budgets for future interventions even farther afield.
This new Cold War means more military spending, more wars, more civilian deaths and more terrorism.
Militarism is used to maintain the unjust global economic order. A tiny fraction of the world's population controls the world's wealth. To keep their wealth they need brutal regimes that massacre union organizers. They need vicious death squads to massacre people struggling for human rights; people who struggle to build their communities; who push for education, health care, housing, food and basic human needs. If these regimes that we help put in power and keep in power through the provision of weapons, training, money and diplomatic support are unable to maintain control over their populations, if they are unable to allow our corporations to gain unfettered access to natural resources or to keep their people working like slaves - to create wealth for a small elite of corporate businessmen - then we send in the military to do the job for them.
NATO is a criminal organization. It is a creature of the Cold War and it should be abolished, not expanded under the aegis of a new Cold War. The time is ripe for a campaign to get Canada out of NATO.
Source: Presentatation at the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's Vigil for Nonviolence, Oct. 6, 2001, in Ottawa.