D.C. Chapter Social Welfare Action Alliance Statement on the September 11, 2001 attacks.
We grieve the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. As an alliance of poor, disenfranchised people and social service advocates, we work to healing suffering and to preventing the circumstance that cause it.
We extend our condolences to the families that have been shattered, the coworkers bereaved, the helping professionals overwhelmed, and to all those with lives profoundly damaged. We know that as survivors we are forever changed. Yet, now more than ever, we must protect and retain the democracy, human rights and ideals that best represent our country.
We work and struggle for freedom and justice every day.
We believe we must not think and act like the terrorists by taking revenge on innocent civilians. Our country’s previous responses to terrorist attacks, including bombs in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan, did not deter violence. Instead, new and worse terrorism was fueled by the violence of such actions. Now anger and fear threaten to reduce justice and freedom.
Fear must not drive us to become like the terrorists.
We believe that sanctions imposed by the U.S.A. against countries accused of sheltering terrorists have only deprived families of food and medicine. No government has been weakened by this punishing foreign policy. Therefore, in pursuit of real freedom and justice, we encourage our government to spend the more than $40 billions allocated by Congress not for war, but to rebuild and heal New York and Arlington, VA.
War cannot be just if it punishes the innocent.
Starting a war will cause further harm to our population, to the soldiers, to their families, to the whole society, in addition to murdering and adding to the suffering of multitudes of other vulnerable human beings. The domestic price of our most recent war, in the Persian Gulf , was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, family disruption, bereavement, chemical contamination, cancers, birth defects, and many unseen long term costs. Perhaps the greatest price of The Gulf War was that we became the target of terrorist attacks. The 9/11 attackers deliberately aimed at our most significant economic center. Subsequently our economy declined dramatically. We believe a war economy will not restore stability, but will instead lead to greater losses of jobs and human services. The most vulnerable of our population will suffer the first blows, but soon all of us will feel it. Waging war will surely worsen our situation here at home. Instead, we need to restore the Public Health System, including mental health services, and to provide water, gas, phones, housing, jobs, and schools all now in increasing disrepair and jeopardy.
War makes us a less democratic society, unable to care for our people.
We who seek economic human rights, see that this war is already giving unequal power to the war industries, which will determine the outcome of future elections by controlling the economy and the media. Believing in freedom, we oppose infringements on civil rights and personal freedoms issued in the name of national security. War and a state of emergency, can not realistically, protect us from people who are willing to die to kill others. The perpetrators of the 9/11 war crimes can and should be brought to trial. Just as our vast intelligence services identified and apprehended Timothy McVeigh, the worst terrorist to operate in the United States until now, they can locate and bring to trial the perpetrators of these attacks. The US government would undoubtedly earn the support of the world community by capturing these criminals.
Bread, not bombs!
But we believe that greater peace and security would grow from a show of good faith in foreign aid, debt relief, and just trade practices. This would gain more allies for the United States than a show of military force. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi taught us that hate does not decrease hatred and neither does violence reduce violence.
We stand for peace and economic human rights!
We poor and disenfranchised people and our allies in the field of human services have a duty to advocate for healing and to protest against harm. We stand against demonizing any race, class, or culture. We must educate our population about the real economic and social conditions in the Middle East and the real price of war. We must hold our government accountable and demand that it act in the true best interests of us all.
Our only path to real safety, is through international peace, stability, and economic human rights.
DC-SWAA contact: Athena 202-332-6615 Email firstname.lastname@example.org