Statement of the National Coordinating Committee
Green Party of the United States
October 9, 2001
The Green Party of the United States is shocked by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. We extend our deepest sympathy to those most personally affected by these horrific events. We remember especially the injured, the loved ones of those who have died, the innocents who lost their lives in the midst of an ordinary day’s work, and those heroic firefighters, police officers and other relief workers who gave their lives unquestioningly. These were our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members. As Americans and as members of the human family, we are all irrevocably affected by this terror.
GREEN PARTY URGES ADHERENCE TO INTERNATIONAL LAW
Greens fully support the right and obligation of the U.S. to seek justice. The complete disregard for the sanctity of human life displayed by the perpetrators of these atrocities must be countered by a just and lawful response. Justice is the goal and mark of a civilized society. Thus, we call on the United States Government to exercise caution and restraint as we form a response to these attacks. Indiscriminate military actions and acts of vengeance would only escalate violence and generate additional hatred.
Furthermore, a unilateral and indiscriminate military response, especially on the Afghan or Arab peoples, can easily be misperceived as an attack on Islam. This would undermine international support for the US, further fanaticism and terrorism and ultimately imperil the possibility of peace in the future.
Therefore, we believe that the September 11, 2001 attacks on innocent civilians should, in accordance with domestic and international law, be characterized as an international crime against humanity, not a war. A full investigation, undertaken with international cooperation, must take place before the President and Congress attempt to bring those responsible to justice. Accordingly, the identification of any perpetrator of these offenses and their supporters must be based on solid and credible evidence not by innuendo or conviction in the media. A sound legal case must be made and brought to federal and international courts for arrest and extradition as necessary. American declarations of war inhibit rather than promote this international cooperation. Attempts to unilaterally seek redress through bombs and missiles, rather than a court of law, will undermine international law, and set back recent international successes in bringing those who have committed crimes against humanity to justice.
Accordingly, the Green Party specifically opposes any attempt by President Bush to wage war outside the scrutiny of Congress and the American public for whom they speak. The US Constitution addresses war powers explicitly and does not, under any interpretation, allow a president a “blank check” power to wage war.
GREENS FEAR EROSION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES AT HOME
No matter who the perpetrators of the September attacks prove to be, unjust attacks in the US or abroad against Arab-Americans, Arabs, Muslims or anyone else of Middle Eastern ancestry are unacceptable and un-American. Therefore, we encourage President Bush and other public officials to continue to denounce sentiments and behavior that target ethnic or religious groups in revenge for the September 11th attacks.
The September 11th attacks struck out at American democracy as well as the World Trade Center and Pentagon. By definition, terrorism opposes representative government, undermines civil liberties, and represses religious freedom and ethnic diversity. Therefore, our response to terrorism must not erode these very same civil liberties and constitutional rights. While we understand the immediate need for measures like increased airport security, we oppose any restriction on civil political dissent, which would, in effect, make democratic accountability a casualty of the September 11th attacks. Critical, open and honest civic debate about our past and future policy is essential to a solid and lasting democracy. We urge our fellow citizens to be vigilant in supporting our civil liberties, which are always vulnerable during times of conflict.
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO TERRORISM AND VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS
While there is never any justification for acts of terror against innocent civilians — indeed it is the quintessential act of dehumanization — the events of September 11th bring Americans the unique occasion to reconsider our government’s role on the world stage. The Green Party calls attention to the fact that, even in the midst of our national anger, grief, and fear, the US remains the most militarily powerful and influential country in the world at present. In accord with this and our identity as a leading defender of democracy, we have the obligation to act democratically and model moral and just standards for others.
Thus, in seeking to prevent further terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere, the Green Party urges our nation to reassess our government’s policies and actions, which at worst, may have served to justify terrorism in the minds of our attackers and their sympathizers, and at least, may continue to be sources of frustration and anger for many freedom-seeking peoples around the world.
The Green Party asserts that a significant aspect of preventing future terrorist attacks on the United States is to insure that our foreign policy is firmly based on economic and social justice. Specifically, we call on the U.S. to end the economic sanctions against Iraq which have resulted in the death of over a half million innocent Iraqi children and civilians. We also call on the U.S. to insist that international law be strictly observed with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Furthermore, the Green Party of the United States urges our fellow citizens and people everywhere to view September 11th as an opportunity to call for an end to all violence towards civilians. As our platform states, the Green Party seeks strength through peace and asserts that security and liberty prosper together. While we recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations, we trust that non-violence provides the surest road to peace.
Therefore, at this turning point in world affairs, we strongly urge President Bush to lead the world forward, toward a realignment of peoples and nations, not backward into an era of military and economic conquest characterized by endless violence. We can signal this new era with a declaration strictly banning the targeting of civilians and non-combatants and the use of weapons of mass destruction. This new era can be sustained by a rededication of our vast resources away from producing more weapons and towards eradicating the poverty, disease and ignorance that foster despair and insecurity for most of the world’s people. Finally, we urge people and governments around the world to join us in the most pressing challenge of this new millennium: to create a culture of peace. It is in meeting these demands of peace, that we will know what peace truly is. The deaths of over 6000 innocents demand it.