18 November 2001 |
Nature of Terror and Terrorism
911+ Questions in Seeking UnCommon Ground (Part 4)
- / -
Part 4 of 911+ Questions in Seeking UnCommon Ground and protecting the Middle Way from Binary Thinking (2001)
Ubiquity of "terrorism" and definitional game-playing
Is it not the tragedy of modern civilization that no fundamental transformation
of socio-political reality - including the independence of USA, Israel
and many developing countries -- has been achieved in history without attacks
that could be labelled by those in power as "terrorism" and "evil"?
How many modern states have been headed by people who could be legitimately
described as having engaged in terrorist activity? What then is the nature
of the "entire western world" of which "terrorists" are
the "enemies" (Tony Blair, 14 September 2001)
An act of resistance is very different from an act of terrism. Would key nation-builders
such as George Washington (USA), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Oliver Cromwell
(UK), and Charles de Gaulle (France) not be labelled as "terrorists"
according to current criteria? Can President Charles de Gaulle, who fought for
the liberation of France, be accused of being a terrorist? Should those people
resisting occupation be defined as terrorists? (Syrian President to Tony Blair,
30 October 2001)
From the British point of view in the 1770s, were independence fighters in
America terrorists? From the Yankee point of view in the 1860s, were Confederate
soldiers guerrillas engaged in acts of terrorism?
How is a "terrorist" to be distinguished from a "freedom fighter"?
How many modern states, including the USA, have sanctioned or supported terrorism
in one form or another -- at least in the eyes of others?
How is it that all members of the United Nations condemn "terrorism"
unequivocally and yet there is no universal agreement on what it is they condemn
as "terrorism"? Does this in fact parallel, in reverse, the situation
with regard to support for the pursuit of "peace", "health",
"sustainability", "security", "education" and
other such goals?
Should military attacks by armed forces of any state be deemed acts of terrorism
when civilians are killed?
To what extent were NATO bombings of the former Yugoslavia acts of terrorism
and violations of the national sovereignty of a UN member state? Is not the
assassination of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to be considered as
acts of state terrorism?
How is the USA to provide a satisfactory legal definition of "terrorism"
to cover its intended targets -- but which will avoid including official US
support for state violence and extra-judicial assassination (even by its closest
allies), or US assistance to IRA terrorists (including failure to extradite
duly convicted terrorists as requested by one of its closest allies), or its
training of Contra terrorists for action in Nicaragua?
As a key feature of the definition of "terrorism", will it not be
difficult to characterize "violence or the threat of violence against civilian
populations" in a way that will avoid including some aspects of past, present
and currently planned US-led operations in the Middle East?
Given that there is as yet no universally accepted definition of "terrorism"
(even within Europe), will those disagreeing with the USA's definition be necessarily
considered as antagonistic to the USA in its "war on terrorism"? Will
traditionally neutral countries, such as Switzerland, be considered as pro-terrorist
if they fail to participate in the US-led coalition?
Why do efforts to define "terrorism" exclude the terror experienced
by vulnerable people exposed daily to violence and threats of violence in their
own neighbourhoods? Would such "terrorism" become "international"
if the perpetrators carried foreign passports or if they belonged to "international
If "violence is as American as apple pie" (H. Rap Brown), then what
If no policy that the USA has ever pursued can be construed as "terrorism"
-- or support for "terrorism" -- what universal agreement is possible
on the meaning of "terrorism"?
Is it not curious that the US-led "war on terrorism" has been qualified
by George Bush (18 September 2001) as a war against those forms of "terrorism"
that affect the interests of the USA? How is it possible to form a worldwide
coalition against terrorism which fails to take account of forms of "terrorism"
which do not affect American interests -- even though their supporters may have
bases and networks within the USA, or within the coalition countries (Tamil
Tigers, IRA, ETA, etc)?
Is war not terrorism? Is a warrior a terrorist?
Depending on the time, the place and the cause in which it is comitted, is
"terrorism" an expression of the absence of dialogue, the failure
of negoitation or a determination of a few to undermine the popular will --
or a mixture of all three? (Gary Younge, Guardian, 15 October 2001)
How is it that violent movements with only local ambitions are "on a different
list" (as Colin Powell puts it)?
Is the USA's definition of "terrorism" designed to exclude people
and actions which would require it to proceed against citizens of the USA whom
others would perceive as acting in support of "terrorism"? Is this
why it has withdrawn its support of the International Criminal Court?
In a country that refuses to pay reparations for slavery, the FBI spent the
equivalent of $500 million to "neutralize" black leaders -- with frightening
success. At a time when the FBI is arresting everyone whose first name rhymes
with Osama, the Klu Klux Klan is operating openly and legally in 50 states of
the USA. Would black Americans have strong justification for perceiving the
KKK as being America's own al-Qaida? (Jonathan D Farley, Guardian, 17
Is it in the interests of the USA to avoid a definition of the term since any
definition will only serve to curtail the legitimization of their own resort
to terrorism in the future -- at least in the eyes of the world at large? Or
are such actions to be sanitized under some definition of state-sponsored violence,
permitting the continuation of resort to military means where other means have
Condolezza Rice, George Bush's national security adviser declared (23 September
2001). "We are not going to declare that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists.
There's terrorism. And if you sponsor terrorism, you are hostile to the United
States." Does this deny any significance or legitimacy to the perception in
many other countries that the USA has engaged in state-sponsored terrorism?
Or does this imply that there are some people hostile to the USA within its
Donald Rumsfeld (20 Sept 2001) declared: "There are a number of nations
on the official public list of terrorist nations, nations that either have sponsored
terrorism or been involved in it." Is that an international "official"
list? How is "terrorism" defined for inclusion on that list? Have
not some credible international groups argued that the USA itself has "either
sponsored terrorism or been involved in it"?
For Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense: "Terrorism, of course, has
a lot of definitions and people have different views as to what it means precisely.
For myself, I think of the word as meaning an act whereby innocent people are
involved and killed. (Interview with Al Jazeera, 20 October 2001). What
does that include in practice?
Less than 24 hours before the USA came under terrorist attack, the United Nations
was celebrating the fact that 83 of its 189 member states had ratified some
12 existing UN conventions against international terrorism. Why has the USA
signed 11, but refused to ratify any of these treaties -- adopting a "sign
yes, ratify no" policy?
The 1996 Declaration of Lima To Prevent, Combat and Eliminate Terrorism
refers to terrorism as "a serious form of organized and systematic violence,
which is intended to generate chaos and fear among the population, results in
death and destruction and is a reprehensible criminal activity." The 1998 Commitment
of Mar del Plata calls terrorist acts "serious common crimes that erode peaceful
and civilized coexistence, affect the rule of law and the exercise of democracy,
and endanger the stability of democratically elected constitutional governments
and the socio-economic development of our countries." What acts are carefully
excluded from such definitions?
Addressing the UN's Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism (February 2001), US delegate
Robert Rosenstock said the proposed major international conference to combat
terrorism would have no practical benefits. He raised the question whether the
issues suggested as possible subjects at such a conference had historically
confounded a practical solution?
In extending definitions of involvement in "terrorism" to include
those who recommend violence, or who express their hatred and radical opposition
to governments in power, how are those acting against "terrorism"
to exclude their own military advisors and instructors, directors of military
academies, and those who articulate strategies to overthrow governments (cf
the Henry Kissinger case)? Can such people be subsequently held responsible
for the application of these lessons by their students in "terrorist"
activities (cf US responsibility in the Noriega case)? Or is deniability of
involvement in "terrorism" to be considered plausible by one class
of policy advisor but inadmissible by another?
Is it not the case that any group that feels excluded will find a way to punish
those who have left it behind? For those with no other options, is terrorism
not one of the few acts in which they can engage in a hostile modern civilization
-- especially when they have nothing to lose but their lives?
Given the unambiguous manner in which George Bush has defined his opposition to terrorism and those associated with it, how is it that his choice for a major diplomatic role -- as under secretary state for the western hemisphere -- was a Cuban exile found by the Comptroller General in 1987, during his previous government role, to have "engaged in prohibited, covert propaganda activities" on behalf of the Nicaraguan Contras then engaged in a guerilla war against an elected government? (Duncan Campbell, Guardian, 28 November 2001)
Following attacks on students by paramilitary police, Zimbabwean students have circulated a petition declaring that the "Zimbabwe national army is now a terrorist organization" which has effectively declared war against students (Michael Hartnack, Guardian, 28 November 2001). What other national armies might be labelled as "terrorist" from this perspective?
Evidence of American intelligence agency involvement in "terrorism" is widely reported, documented and rumoured -- as well as being extensively fictionalized. Former CIA directors and operatives freely admist to having hired terrorists as part of their operations in Latin America -- notably prior to the 1995 "scrub order"? How should the different degrees of such involvement, purportedly in defence of national security, be distinguished from the forms of involvement that are currently subject to extreme sanction by the Bush administration through executive orders and new legislation? Is the distinction to be made on the same basis as that between possession of weapons of mass destruction (by the USA) and possession of such weapons by other countries (such as Iraq)?
If the US-led coalition is to act, as proposed, without distinction against
both terrorists, and the governments and bodies who tacitly or actively provide
"haven, support, information, financial and other assets" (Colin
Powell, 14th September 2001) to them, how will it respond to the support of
"terrorism" in Northern Ireland by groups within the USA -- or to
US support for activities in Latin America labelled there as "terrorist"? Why
is there no media discussion of this?Why do neither George Bush nor Tony Blair
make any mention of this major example of "terrorism" within the coalition
The US Congress has authorized the use of force against any individuals or
countries the President determines to be involved in the attacks. How would
Congress have reacted if Nicaragua had adopted this doctrine after the USA had
rejected the orders of the World Court to terminate its highly destructive "unlawful
use of force" against Nicaragua and had vetoed a UN Security Council resolution
calling on all states to observe international law?
How is it possible to comprehend the stigmatization of the perpetrators as
an "enemy waging a war by stealth" (14th September 2001) by the president
of the country that is the proud inventor of "stealth technology"
for use in a "Stealth" Bomber scheduled for extensive use in Afghanistan?
To what degree was the bombing of Hiroshima an act of stealth? What of the "covert"
and "clandestine" operations extolled in every American spy novel
The key anti-terrorist unit of the US is the Delta Force (based at Fort Bragg)
whose existence is never formally discussed. They are trained to attack with
stealth in small teams. Would it be correct to characterize the operations of
US Special Forces in action in Afghanistan as primarily dependent on such "stealth"?
Why is it that US General Franks has been subject to criticism for being too
hidebound by military doctrine to lead special forces campaign requiring guile
and stealth? (Guardian, 6 November 2001)
How is it that a "peace-loving country", acclaimed as the "home
of freedom and democracy", is so well-served by the conflicts around the
world -- that it happily exacerbates through massive arms sales to its own commercial
Given that the coalition members all claim to be "peace-loving" (Tony
Blair, 7 October 2001), to what extent is the action against Afghanistan a demonstration
of use of military equipment against an unruly population in order to promote
-- to countries faced with that problem -- the arms sales on which the economies
of the most industrialized "peace-loving" countries are so dependent?
Arundhati Roy lists (Guardian, 23 October 2001) the countries wtuh which
America has been at war, or has bombed, since 1945: China (1945-46, 1950-53),
Korea (1950-53), Gyuatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60),
Belgian congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia
(1969-70), Grenada (1983), Mibya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s),
Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999).
How is it that in announcing the air strikes against Afghanistan (2001), George
Bush was able to declare "We're a peaceful nation"?
Tony Blair argues (Embargoed version of speech for 30 October 2001, as provided
to journalists): "Whatever faults we have, Britain is a very moral nation
with a strong sense of right and wrong. That moral fibre will defeat the fanaticism
of those terrorists and their supporters". Does he truly believe that the
extensive support by his government for the UK arms industries is the mark of
a "very moral nation" with a strong sense of "right"? What
"moral fibre" has he demonstrated to "defeat the fanaticism"
of UK arms manufacturers and their supporters? [The quoted statement was
omitted from the speech as finally given, which instead focused on Brtain as
a "principled nation" engaged in a "principled conflict"]
"Since what is good for business is good for America", to what degree
is the defence of "freedom" equated indistinguishably with "freedom
for US business interests" to implant themselves in any country whether
or not this constrains the population's degrees of freedom in ways of which
How is it that the "home of freedom and democracy" (George Bush,
13th September 2001) trains people for activities perceived elsewhere as "terrorism",
has a reputation for political assassination, openly manufactures instruments
of torture for profit, and prides itself on its arms industry -- and yet is
astounded at some of the "irrational" reactions and hatred that this
The slaughter of 5,000 people is a reasonably common occurrence in developing
countries, as the massacres in Cambodia and Rwanda demonstrated. Is there not
some danger that the dramatic efforts to mobilize in response to the WTC attacks
may be seen as highly conditioned by the privileged position that the victims
held in society? Would the calls for "justice" have been so intense
if the deaths had been in an urban slum area, or in a developing country?
In the light of the massacres of over 500 people at Mazar-i-Sharif following
its takeover from the Taliban by the Northern Alliance (supported by US special
forces), how is it that a superpower can kill so easily and proudly from on
high -- but can claim to be so totally impotent to stop massacres on the ground
that result from that bombing?
A century ago, most leading Muslim intellectuals was in love with the West.
So what happened in the intervening years to transform all that admiration and
respect into the hatred that incited the acts of heinous terror of 11th September?
(Karen Armstrong, Guardian, 13 October 2001)
In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI
(Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history
of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to
the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn
Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually
destabilise it. Is it possible that the Russian enthusiasm for the US-led coalition
against a jihad in a somewhat different way?
In freezing the assets of Islamic groups suspected of links to terrorism, why
was no consideration given to freezing the assets of other groups in the USA
linked to terrorism in other countries -- notably those in the US-led coalition?
In justifying the tracking of the finances of the Islamic groups, why was this
not extended to other groups suspected of terrorist links?
For a government that proudly came to power with the objective of reducing
government interference in American society, is it not curious that the Bush
administration is engaging in massive bail-out measures and massively increasing
legislation to constrain civil liberties? What happened to the market mechanism
acclaimed as the prime mechanism in capitalist societies -- or does it only
work when a society is problem-free?
Why, if the USA has in recent years repeatedly warned of the danger of proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction, does it refuse to support the draft protocol
that would strenthen an iknternational agreement prohibiting and preventing
the proliferation of biological weapons? In asserting that it will use "all
possible measures" to "wage war on terrorism", surely this is
one such measure? (Helen Hughes, Guardian, 18 October 2001)
Who benefits financially from security scares? Who benefits financially from
the anthrax scare? How is a market-oriented society vulnerable to unscrupulous
promotion of remedial products and services?
When black Freedom Riders challenged America's apartheid laws, they were firebombed
and beaten. Why did the police and FBI not hunt down the "evil-doers"
responsible for these crimes -- rather than assist them, as they often did?
(Jonathan D Farley, Guardian, 17 November 2001)
Who is America fighting? On 20 September, the FBI said that it had doubts about
the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush
said, "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting
them." Does the president know something that the FBI and the American public
From an Arab perspective, when Americans have enemies they are "terrorists"
or "madmen" or "evildoers". When Arabs have enemies, they
are asked to compromise with them. They have bin Laden as their friend. People
like bin Laden are trained and supported by the Americans as "freedom fighters"
to topple regimes in the Arab world unfriendly to America -- and then condemned
as "terrorists" when they become dangerous to American interests.
The Americans have Sharon as their friend. Whose hand does George Bush shake?
Is it not curious that a US Republican administration, imbued by its own role
in supporting freedom and democracy, that should see the only means of resolving
the political situation in Afghanistan as being through the reinstallation of
a monarchy -- in the name of democracy and freedom?
Why is it that a major international coalition is sought to bring the Muslim
Osama bin Laden to justice "dead or alive", whilst efforts to bring
the prime Christian suspects of the Kosovo massacres to justice have been notably
dilatory -- as with the heads of international criminal networks? Insufficient
bodies or wrong passports?
How is it that Radovan Karadzic, who signed the Dayton peace agreement in December
1995 -- after sanctioning the Srebrenica massacre that cost 7,500 Muslim lives
in July 1995 -- has not been brought to trial? Given that NATO forces have had
control of the region in which he is hiding since that time, what does the coalition
hope to achieve in gaining similar control of the much vaster region of Afghanistan
in its pursuit of bin Laden? (Henry Porter, Guardian, 17 October 2001)
To what degree has the establishment of the coalition itself been unfortunately
manipulative? Is the war that America's allies thought they had signed up for
going to be different from what they understood?
How is it that Tony Blair was so precise in his explanation of the coalition's
targets (the al-Qaida network in Afghanistan alone) on the day the riposte was
launched -- but the following day was confronted by the formal communication
of John Negroponte (US Ambassador to the UN) to the UN Security Council that
"We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to
other organizations and other states"? If this was indeed "nothing new"
(as subsequently claimed by a White House spokeman, since President Bush had
already stated that the hunt for those responsible might lead to suspects outside
Afghanistan), does this imply dangerous miscommunication within the coalition?
We have seen a slippage from bin Laden to the Taliban as supposedly justified
targets. How can we be sure there will not be a further slippage to other countries
or perhaps to aspects of Islam, despite the pious words? (Sarah Cemlyn, Guardian,
29 October 2001)
Richard Perle, Chairman of the US Advisory Defence Policy Board, argued (BBC,
11th October 2001) that the prime objective in the tresponse to terrorism was
taking the weapons out of the hands of terrorists in order to protect the citizens
of the USA. However in the case of the attack, the prime weapons were box cutters
and these, with other sharp objects of any kind, are indeed now being removed
from the hands of air travellers. However, curiously, US citizens are themselves
the most heavily armed in the world, and little is said of how to distinguish
between a heavily armed citizen and a terrorist. And much to the embarrassment
of the USA, one of those citizens, Timoth McVeigh was responsible for a home-grown
terrorist disaster through the Okaloma bombing -- using as weapons argicultural
chemicals. What weapons are to be removed from the hands of whom?
How is it that the US Defense Secretary on the same day first asserted that
it might improve difficult, if not impossible, to capture Osama bin Laden, and
then "clarified" this to mean "I think we are going to get him"
(Independent, 27 October 2001)
How does the Bush administration reconcile the USA's strong attitude to patent
protection -- as emphasized in the early response to the desperate needs of
the African AIDS crisis -- with the subsequent turnaround reflected in its policy
with regard to drugs under patent needed in response to the anthrax and smallpox
crises in the USA? Why should not the American patent-holders be allowed to
charge whatever price they can get from the richest -- according to market principles
-- rather than accede to requests to charge a more accessible price?
After snubbing Europeans and others on every major global issue, is it not
ironic that the Bush administration now pleads imperiously for "world"
unity on a "global" issue that has just emerged as a priority for
the USA -- although carefully reframed by George Bush (18 Sept) as limited to
"terrorism" affecting "interests of the USA"?
On the day he announced the bombing, George Bush declared "If any government
sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and
murders themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril".
How is it that for 55 years the USA has been operating what amounts to a "terrorist
training camp" whose victims massively outnumber the people killed by the
11th September attacks? Among the graduates of what has been renamed the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (previously the School of the
Americas) are many of the most notorious torturers, mass murderers, dictators
and state terrorists of Latin America (George Monbiot, Guardian, 30 October
2001)? Were the attacks of 11th September one of the perils on this lonely path?
Two weeks previously the US military announced that they had "run out
of targets in Kabul". How is it that they now announce that Kabul had been
subjected to "the two heaviest nights of bombing so far"? What sort
of new targets did they find? (Mark Steel, Independent, l November 2001)
The responsibility of the USA in ensuring the original success of the Taliban,
as opponents of the Russians, is well-recognized. Is it appropriate then to
point to them as proof of the backwardness of Islam in general? How come there
are then so many Afghan women professionals in the opposition in the north of
Afghanistan? (Ahdaf Soueif, Guardian, 6 November 2001)
Evoking and amplifying terror
The aim of "terrorists" is to ensure that a population experiences
terror -- violence being one of the means of achieving this. They only cause
terror through the manner in which people allow themselves to become fearful
-- or to fear their own fear. Whose "terror" is it?
In the absence of the 24-hour daily media focus, would the "terror"
have been so widely evoked in the US population and around the world?
Have irresponsible media been trapped in the mindsets of the advertising hype
they normally purvey and committed themselves to competitively escalating the
level of terror they evoke?
Could media be sued by businesses for irresponsible incitement to terror and
consequent loss of consumer confidence?
If governments are highly concerned with population panic in response to disaster
of any kind, why were the media (such as CNN) encouraged to serve the terrorist
cause so effectively by evoking terror by as many means as possible over such
an extended period?
How have different governments struck a balance between evoking more terror
in order to justify mobilization in response to the attacks, and calming the
population to avoid exacerbating terror and further eroding population confidence?
How responsible have been the statements of George Bush and Tony Blair in this
In time of "war" is it not usual to limit information causing unnecessary
panic? Why has the focus been instead on limiting information relating to security
The only country in the US-led consortium not to have experienced attacks on
its own soil for more than 150 years is the USA itself. The populations of its
European allies have had to come to terms with the experience of bombing, widespread
urban destruction, and the terrors of anticipating unpredictable attacks (such
as the V2 bomber attacks on London). Many have more recently had to come to
terms with terrorist bombing -- some by groups funded from the USA (cf Canary
Wharf). This has not evoked widespread terror or paralyzed their countries.
In fact the effects have been constrained to local urban blocks. Why has terror
spread so rapidly amongst Americans?
Why do Americans need exposure to their "terror" to be spread worldwide,
to the point of effectively blackmailing the world's population into an inappropriate
American revenge agenda through sympathy with the victims of horrendous attacks?
Are Americans aware that others experience variations on such existential terror
On a global scale over the last 50 years people were much more likely to die
from weaponry developed by the arls manufacturers of the US-coalition than by
a terrorist bomb? Many more die annually from road accidents within the US-coalition
than from the attack on the WTC. Why so much deafeatist nervousness? (Tom Paterson,
Observer, 4 November 2001)
Would the terror have become so rapidly global in a non-globalized world? Does
anti-globalization foster terrorism -- as some are proposing opportunistically?
Or does globalization foster terrorization of much larger populations -- as
others might respond?
Who really believes that we will never switch on a TV and see again scenes
of once unimaginable hooror in western cities -- which will be translated as
al-Qaida saying "we told you so"? (Mark Lawson, Guardian, 17
Citizens of many countries are frequently exposed to terrorism which they bear
with fortitude. They do not abandon their civil liberties or turn their existence
into some anthrax stew of panic. The Spanish have exposed and jailed ministers
for illegally organizing state assassination squads. They have learnt to do
the best they can without deluding rhetoric (Peter Preston, Guardian,
12 November 2001). Why have the USA and the UK demonstrated such relative immaturity
in this crisis?
Who is more responsible for the irresponsible globalization of terror in the
mind of public opinion around the world -- the attackers, government leaders
stressing the vulnerability of civilization, or the media stressing public vulnerability
worldwide? Who has been most responsible for public loss of confidence -- leading
to business failures and loss of jobs? As a marketing campaign "tied in"
to the actual attack, how successfully has media action served the terrorists'
When systemic effects can be rapidly amplified around the globe in the absence
of the buffers and bulkheads that inhibited such processes in the past, is there
not a case for reviewing arguments against "protectionism" and reframing
some of them as necessary "buffering" -- notably against the spread
of destabilizing panic? Should irresponsible globalization be reframed as irresponsible
What credence can be given to George Bush's claim (6 November 2001) that al-Qaida
was seeking biological, chemical and nuclear weapons? To what extent is this
claim a manufactured threat (with "evidence" from colluding states
in the coalition) to force other nations into conformity with the US world view?
How is the world to distinguish between genuine claims of threats and those
made solely in support of self-interested national objectives? What credibility
will be given to a genuinely catastrophic emergency if fabricated threats --
hoaxes -- are increasingly used by government?
Is the USA progressively desensitizing the public to the level of destruction
now taking place in Afghanistan -- from medium-sized missiles, to bunker-busting
bombs, to carpet bombing using cluster bombs, now followed by the daisy cutter
ordnance? Are Bush and Blair scaremongering when they claim that Osama bin Laden
has acquired access to nuclear weaponry? (Rizwan Ahmed, Guardian, 8 November