WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders on Monday expressed hope that news of the killing of Osama bin Laden marksa new stage, in which US troops are withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan; air assaults on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya are halted; the US presses Israel to observe full human rights and justice for the Palestinian people; and violations of domestic civil liberties are overturned.
On September 11, 2001, the Green Party strongly condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as an international crime and called for capture and prosecution of the perpetrators (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_09_11_01.html and http://www.gp.org/articles/responses_9_11.shtml). Â Greens argued that concerted police action, with international cooperation, was the way to bring the 9/11 criminals to justice, and that war would only lead to mass death and destruction, deeper international conflict, and erosion of civil liberties and the rule of law in the US.
But Greens expressed alarm at the changing story of the May 1 raid, which, according to changing news reports (complicated by the apparent destruction of on-the-scene evidence), has begun to look more like a targeted assassination or summary execution than an attempt to arrest Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
"The American public has responded to this news with various reactions ranging from celebration to anxiety about the future of global security. Â Green Party members also lost friends, neighbors, and co-workers in the 9/11 attacks.Â We understand these reactions and are focused on the next steps ahead.Â The Green Party of the United States supported action in which bin Laden would be arrested as a suspect, tried on the evidence, and if found guilty punished for his actions to the fullest extent of the law short of execution -- the Green Party strongly opposes any use of the death penalty. Â In custody, bin Laden might have provided vital intelligence," said Justine McCabe, co-chair of the International Committee.
"Nonviolence is a key principle of the Green Party, and Greens condemn any and all killing of unarmed civilians, in any country and on any side of a conflict. Â Greens understand the connection between global security and protection of human rights. Â Every US bomb dropped on a village, every case of torture motivates someone to take Osama bin Laden's place," said Sanda Everette, former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and a longtime peace activist.
Greens noted that decades of US support for dictators, plundering of resources, maintenance of military bases in the Gulf region, and manipulative policies (e.g., arming of the Mujahedeen) have led to hostility against the US, which was aggravated by the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. Â Green Party leaders called on the Obama Administration to reverse direction and adopt a peaceful, fair, and non-imperial foreign policy, to minimize the number of new enemies we create and bring peace to the region.
"As Greens anticipated in 2001, the Bush Administration's wars on Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, many more wounded, while leaving the environment and infrastructure of both countries in ruins.Â In the case of Iraq, the US invasion was justified by false claims that Saddam Hussein had participated or cooperated with al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.Â The severity of the attacks have also been used to justify torture in the US, denial of habeas corpus, and other abuses of power and violations of constitutional and international law, as well as pointless 'homeland security' policies and the USA Patriot Act," said Farheen Hakeem, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
Greens said that many unanswered questions remain about the 9/11 attacks, such as the sources of funding for the terrorists (including connections with Pakistan and Saudia Arabia), CIA and FBI intelligence on the hijackers, and ignored evidence of the impending attack, all of which deserve extensive independent investigation (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_04_28_04.html).Â The two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have stated their belief that the Bush Administration established the Commission in a way that ensured that it would fail. Â One lingering mystery is the President Bush's refusal of the Taliban's offer to turn Osama bin Laden over for trial before and after the 9/11 attacks (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bush-rejects-taliban-offer-to-surrender-bin-laden-631436.html).