Thursday, October 7 marks the 20th anniversary of America’s perpetual wars when we attacked Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks.
Our mission there was to bomb the terrorist camps and get out, not invade and take over the entire country. A further mission was to follow the numerous ties of the terrorist network involved to their source, Saudi Arabia, and hold them accountable.
But instead, we gave Saudi Arabia a complete pass so thorough we suppressed for years 28 pages in the Congressional 911 report that connected the Saudis to the attacks. Relatives of 911 victims suing the Saudis continue to be stonewalled by the U.S. government.
The Bush Administration, in a deadly sleight of hand, pivoted from Saudi Arabia, an ally against perceived enemy Iran, and our best weapons customer, to launching perpetual wars against much of the Middle East and Africa perceived as our enemies. Afghanistan, Iraq, were invaded with hundreds of thousands of troops. Libya, Syria, Pakistan, as well as Yemen and Niger in Africa were subjected to bombing by planes and drones. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have all been turned into failed states from America’s Day of Infamy.
Our frenzy for endless war was so self-destructive and deceitful, we supported, even armed forces connected to anti American terrorists to change out regimes in Libya and Syria.
All of this was immoral, illegal and criminal. It has killed over a million needlessly, including 7,000 Americans. It has injured or displaced millions, adding to a worldwide refugee crisis. It has squandered trillions in treasure critically needed to alleviate monumental problems at home.
This October 7, the 20th in America’s era of perpetual wars, is for me a Day of Infamy. In a bitter irony, it is not infamous from an attack on America such as at Pearl Harbor in 1941, but from America’s 20 yearlong attack on the Middle East and Africa.
But it doesn’t have to be. The nationwide peace community, led by the Ban Killer Drones network proposes to observe October 7, 2021 as "A Day of Atonement", a day to repent for the war crimes of our government and military in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world.
It calls for an end to drone bombing strikes everywhere, particularly in Afghanistan which America has pledged to continue using ‘over the horizon’ bases in neighboring countries. Upwards of 90% of all deaths from such strikes are innocent civilians, such as the 10, including 7 kids, obliterated by a US drone strike in Kabul August 29.
Forces such as weapons makers, military careerists, congressional hawks, and pro war media are ferocious in their efforts to keep October 7 a Day of Infamy. That requires every American of peace and goodwill to work as vigorously to make it a Day of Atonement.
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com