“It’s important that we do not equip students in our universities with ideologies or partisanship – they can do that on their own,” said As’ad Abukhalil in his message to students, faculty and Ann Arbor residents in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union last night. “Skepticism, however, is necessary at this point with the approach of the largest U.S. propaganda campaign since World War I.”

Abukhalil, a professor of political science at California State University, spoke last night on the relationship between Israel, Afghanistan and U.S. propaganda to the impending war on Iraq.

“I want to dispel myths about the U.S. administration, why they say they are going to war and their true actions taken thus far,” Abukhalil added.

“He gave us cold hard facts with sources to back those facts up at every citation,” first-year Law School student Michelle D’amico said.

“I like that we can check out all his information and that it will probably be correct,” D’amico added.

Abukhalil addressed Israel’s role in the possible war, primarily the country’s relationship with the United States.

“Israel, along with the U.K., is the only other country that will be notified about the war before it actually happens. … Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait, the countries who will likely be the most affected, will not receive advance warning,” Abukhalil said.

He stressed the importance of open dialogue concerning U.S. propaganda and its role in war enthusiasm, using Sept. 11 as his primary example.

“We should be upset about September 11, but other people have suffered numerous September 11ths. The U.S. itself has inflicted countless September 11ths on Iraq but no fuss was made. When casualties are dark-skinned and Muslim to boot, people don’t tend to care, but shed even one drop of American blood … suddenly everybody is furious,” Abukhalil said.

Abukhalil mentioned the suffering of the people that tends to be overlooked in this “war on terror” – the Iraqi people themselves.

“The Iraqi people are victims of double oppression – the Saddam Hussein dictatorship as well as constant U.S. attacks. How many people know that in the past week, the U.S. has been bombing Iraq everyday?”

“This war seems to me, a terrible thing to institute,” Ann Arbor resident Anne Remley said. “It goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for. Think how upset we were when 3,000 people died on September 11. We’ll kill a lot more innocent civilians than that if we go to war.”

Abukhalil cited the food drops in Afghanistan followed by constant bombing of the country as a major example of propaganda used to appease the American people.

“It’s like having a gun to an Afghani civilian’s head and asking ‘Would you like fries right before I kill you?’ It was merely a method to force the American people into believing in their government’s humanitarianism. The line of thinking is – if the Afghans were getting food, little as it was, then it shouldn’t matter too much that they were being bombed,” Abukhalil said.

Abukhalil finished by emphasizing that America was its own enemy in the “war on terror” due to its policies and actions in the Middle East.

“U.S. rhetoric and actions have been a better recruiter for Bin Laden than Bin Laden himself … America has certainly done a good job of having the U.S. government detested in the Middle East. Such a good job that even kooks like Bin Laden get a little sympathy because of strong anti-American views.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.