Why is your organization called “Why War?” ?
We feel the name reflects a very fundamental question people should ask themselves. Since Oct. 7, 2001, America has killed at least three times as many civilians as Osama bin Laden, and occupied two countries.1 The American public has been told a series of conflicting things about this war. While at first it was hailed as a war on terrorism directed at bin Laden, his name has not been publicly mentioned in several months. At each step in this campaign of global domination, George W. Bush has shown his true intentions of not democracy and freedom but occupation and bloodshed instead. We also believe that our name is particularly important given the fact that both Bush and Tony Blair openly lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program — these leaders can no longer be trusted.
Can you tell me more about your organization?
Sure! Why War? is an entirely student-run organization that formed on the Swarthmore College campus in October of 2001. Since that time, we’ve maintained the why-war.com website, which has been linked to by major newspapers including the Guardian and the Nation2 and has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. We were even photographed protesting in New York City by the New York Times on Feb. 4, 2002 [small, large]. We are currently pursuing 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
Do you support Osama bin Laden? Or think the attack on the Sept. 11, 2001 was justified?
We’re always happy when people ask this question, because it means they still remeber that this war was supposed to be about Osama bin Laden. We absolutely do not support terrorism, in any form, and we believe all attacks on civilians constitute terrorism.
Do you have an alternative to the war?
We feel that there are a multitude of alternatives being offered by many highly-qualified individuals and organizations. When evaluating alternatives to war, one must also look at the reasons why terrorism occurs. This is not done to justify terrorism, but instead to attack it at its source. In many ways, the supreme lesson America should take from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is that no country should ever be allowed to degrade to the level that Afghanistan did. Afghanistan had been suffering from civil war for two decades and had a population whose life expectancy was only 46 years. Osama bin Laden, like many terrorist organizations, used this situation to his advantage by aiding the Taliban in building infrastructure. Many Why War? members feel that one obvious method to combat terrorism would be to ensure a fairer distribution of global wealth.
Are you actually objectively questioning the war, or have you come to your own conclusions already?
Although there are many individuals who may have already determined that they morally oppose war in general, this is not necessarily the opinion of everyone in Why War?. We feel there are special circumstances about this war on terrorism that make it a situation that cannot be attacked in typical ways. Al Qaeda, for instance, is a highly organized operation. It relies on a 7,000-page guide on terrorism,3 and has cells throughout the world. Furthermore, it has many asset streams including, but not limited to, the sale of diamonds,4 drugs, and oil. It is an organization that has been trained by the CIA and the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence). Bin Laden alone has $300 million — he is not the same as a nation-state, but is an individual who has for a decade cultivated global terrorism with the single goal of creating a world under Islamic rule. Bombing and invading countries in which terrorist networks operate will merely strengthen the resolve of this opposition, and provide ammunition to the terrorists’ recruiting of the oppressed.