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Corporate press begins to detect growing anti-war sentiment in US

This in from AP.
Some Urge Restraint, Introspection
By Cheryl Wittenauer
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, Sept. 16, 2001; 12:08 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK –– When Americans flew Old Glory last week, Joanne Sheehan reached for her dove-of-peace banner.

Given U.S. resolve to retaliate militarily against Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the East Coast anti-war activist saw the banner as a purer symbol of peace.

Sheehan, who chairs the London-based War Resisters International, said the United States cannot wipe out terrorism by bombing it away: It's both impractical and morally appalling.

"Our response should not be to kill more innocent people," she said. "Calls from the Bush administration would do just that."

Pleas for restraint and justice by other, nonviolent means such as diplomacy or an international war crimes trial, are echoed by pacifist demonstrators and world leaders – Pope John Paul II, former South African president Nelson Mandela, and Cuban President Fidel Castro among them.

It is a minority view: Recent polls show most Americans believe the United States should retaliate, even if innocent people die in the process.

Those in the U.S. who are against retaliation are even urging national introspection into why the country was targeted for terrorism.

"It's not good and evil, us and them, it's more complex than that," said Larry Leaman-Miller, Colorado director of the Quaker group, American Friends Service Committee.

Years of U.S. economic and military domination, and U.S. foreign policy have hurt and exploited people, and left them feeling helpless to respond except by terrorism, Leaman-Miller said.

Additionally, Arab resentment has been building over U.N. sanctions and bombing in Iraq, military support for Israel, and U.S. refusal to criticize the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, he said.

Filmmaker and social critic Michael Moore, in an e-mail circulated widely last week, wrote of thousands of children orphaned around the world with "our taxpayer-funded terrorism" in Chile, Vietnam, Gaza, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

In an essay in The New Yorker magazine, American writer Susan Sontag criticizes U.S. public officials and media commentators for trying to "infantilize" the public in the wake of the attacks.

"Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?" Sontag wrote in the Sept. 24 issue of the magazine, due out Monday.

In small ways around the country last week, some U.S. citizens pressed for nonviolent solutions to the cause of the nation's heartache.

In Brooklyn, a sign urged residents to lobby Congress for a peaceful resolution.

At a prayer service in Plainfield, N.J., Presbyterian minister Bob Hillenbrand warned of the high cost of inflicting yet more violence, a tack anathema to all faith traditions, he said.

Dave Robinson, national director for Pax Christi, USA, a Catholic peace movement that began after World War II, said once the nation has stopped grieving, it must look within itself.

"This is a time when America can be a light to the world," Robinson said. "It's a moment for conversion from a sea of weapons and escalating violence ... letting God's way show us the direction, not our basest fears and emotional reactions."
 
 

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