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

Operation Destroy the Data
Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, April 24, 2002

It's a scene that is repeating itself in hundreds of Palestinian offices taken over by IDF troops for a few hours or days in the West Bank: smashed, burned and broken computer terminals heaped in piles and thrown into yards; server cabling cut, hard disks missing, disks and diskettes scattered and broken, printers and scanners broken or missing, laptops gone, telephone exchanges that disappeared or were vandalized, and paper files burned, torn, scattered, or defaced - if not taken. And it's all in rooms full of smashed furniture, torn curtains, broken windows, smashed-in doors, walls full of holes, filthy floors and soiled bathrooms. Here and there, the soldiers left obscene graffiti or letters full of hatred, but compared to the data that was destroyed or taken, the insults read like poetry. Even the overflowing toilets look more like human weakness compared to the organized vandalism reflected in the piles of smashed computers. [...]
The scenes of systematic destruction show how the IDF translated into the field the instructions inherent in the political echelon's policies: Israel must destroy Palestinian civil institutions, sabotaging for years to come the Palestinian goal for independence, sending all of Palestinian society backward. It's so easy and comforting to think of the entire Palestinian society as primitive, bloodthirsty terrorists, after the raw material and product of their intellectual, cultural, social and economic activity has been destroyed. That way, the Israeli public can continue to be deceived into believing that terror is a genetic problem and not a sociological and political mutation, horrific as it may be, derived from the horrors of the occupation.
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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.