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Author Condemns U.S. Military Action

Christian Parenti, author and professor of sociology at The New College in San Fransico, criticized military action in Afghanistan and Bush’s anti-terrorism bill in a lecture Thursday. The event brought to over a hundred people to the Smith Center Ballroom.

Parenti’s dissenting approach attracted many thinkers, some sporting dreadlocks, mohawks or even torn frocks.

“The idea that the U.S. can bomb Afghanistan and not reap repercussions in one, two, 10 years is folly,” he said. “The U.S. government has lacked the imagination to see that its war on terrorism could ‘blow back’ on them.”

Parenti said “blow back” is a term used by the CIA to describe retaliation from another government in response to defective U.S. military action.

He suggested that the trade center bombing was blow back from the Gulf War. Further military intervention, then, could cause a similar response.

“If this is blow back from the Gulf War, give it another 10 years. What will we get then?”

Parenti noted that blow back from terrorists in the future could be even more detrimental than their response on Sept. 11.

“If the terrorists fly a plane into a nuclear power plant, that would be it for a large part of the East coast … Nuclear power plants are sitting ducks in our country.”

And another terrorist hijacking incident, Parenti said, is more realistic than we may think.

“Most of our security measures are just theaters … Only five percent of bags checked in as carry-on luggage are even screened.”

Parenti didn’t only criticize the ineffectiveness of some government regulations; he also criticizes their deceptiveness. He said some laws have been created with ulterior motives rather than to halt terrorism.

For example, the anti-terrorism bill that Bush signed on Oct. 26 acts under the pretense of giving government authorities broad new powers to investigate and jail those who plot or carry out acts of terrorism.

But in reality, he said, the new law erodes civil liberties. Since those suspected of being linked to terrorism may be prosecuted, many innocent people may pay dearly.

“To the FBI,” Parenti said, “many peaceful activists qualify as terrorists.”

In Parenti’s recent book, “Lockdown America,” he suggests that the government’s reason for wanting to reduce civil liberties is to control “social dynamite,” “those who pose an actual or potential political challenge.”

As a result, the government must “manage” and “contain” this group.

“They are contained and crushed, confined to the ghetto, demoralized and pilloried in warehouse public schools, demonized by a lurid media, sent to prison and at times dispatched by lethal injection or police bullets,” he said.