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February 26, 2024
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What Does the American Flag Mean?

What exactly does flying the American flag mean right now? Not that we care, but if they were able to articulate their feelings, what would the children who are dying of cholera in Pakistani refugee camps say about it? They might mention something about the extreme depravity and callousness of people who look on such things and celebrate. We need to take a deep look at our callousness, because it feels like a crime to be alive in America right now.

What is going on in Afghanistan and what are we responsible for?

Before September 11 there was a humanitarian crisis going on in Afghanistan. Reports in the New York Times stated that prior to September 11th, between seven to eight million people were on the edge of starvation, surviving on international aid. On September 16th the United States demanded from Pakistan the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan’s civilian population, so casually condemning, without comment from the New York Times, millions to starvation.

Convoys did begin again in the first weeks of October-halted once the bombing began-but resumed later at a much reduced pace. During the first week of the bombing the NYT reported that according to the UN “7.5 million Afghans would be in acute need of even a loaf of bread and there are only a few weeks left before the harsh winter which will make deliveries to many areas totally impossible, but with bombs falling the delivery rate is down to 50% of what is needed”. In other words, we are anticipating the slaughter of 3-4 million people, again without significant comment.

USA Today reported that 300,000 children about 1% of the Afghan population die each year, but according to a UN official, the US bombing will probably result in an extra 100,000 dead children. This not insignificant fact, except to us may be, was contained in the last paragraph of a two page report-again without significant comment-actually in this case no comment.

In other words there is a silent genocide going on for which we are directly responsible and could easily do something about. Assuming that we are not responsible for the situation in Afghanistan prior to September 16 (a considerable stretch for some) there is no doubt we are responsible for our actions right now.

What if, as Madeline Albright would say, ‘the price is worth it?’ What if our war on terrorism is worth three million dead Afghans? Note that this war on terrorism has yet to kill (let alone) bring to justice a single terrorist. Of course only the truly naive can really believe that we were waging a war on terrorism-we aren’t and we never intended such a thing.

What we are waging is genocide. At least if one takes current estimates as counting as genocide, perhaps three million is not enough? But regardless, so long as the papers keep their silence we can continue to wave our flags and more Afghani children can die.

Adam Rossi

CAS 2003

Sources: NYT, USA Today, ZNET.org