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 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"


The Shebergan famine
Editorial, Washington Post, April 26, 2002

The signs of growing disorder and lawlessness in Afghanistan are abundant. There are the gangs of thugs who swagger through the streets of Khost, openly brandishing their Kalashnikovs and grenade-launchers. There are the rival militias that continue to fight for control of the north of the country, making a mockery of the central government's authority. And then there is the prison in Shebergan, 60 miles west of Mazar-e-Sharif, where conditions for the 2,700 inmates -- all men who were captured by U.S.-backed forces in last year's military campaign -- are so bad that the International Red Cross was forced to step in last week to avert mass starvation. Nearly 100 prisoners were put on an emergency diet of liquid feeding, and officials say up to 500 will soon have to be moved into tents for medical treatment. In a way, they will be the lucky ones: The rest of the detainees at Shebergan will go on living 50 to a room, without toilets, clean water or sanitary measures, in an environment where tuberculosis and cholera are rampant. Scores have already died.

Some may think this shameful and inhumane treatment is the just deserts of fighters who joined with the Taliban and al Qaeda. And yet most of those held at Shebergan had little or nothing to do with either Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization or its Afghan allies.
[The complete article]

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September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.