If Not War, Then What?
Alternatives to the "War Against Terror"
The Friends Committee on National Legislation
(FCNL) Newsletter, February 2002
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) opposes
the use of U.S. military force in response to the September 11
attacks. War is not the answer to either international terrorism
or weapons of mass destruction. Many ask, If not war, then what
should the U.S. do instead to respond to the horrific attacks
of September 11? We recommend the following steps.
1. Cooperate with law enforcement agencies around the world
in bringing to justice those involved in international terrorism
to the full extent of U.S. and international law. Toward that
end, the U.S. Senate should pass legislation to implement the
International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing.
In response to earlier bombing attacks against Pan Am flight 103,
the World Trade Center, and the U.S. embassies in Africa, U.S.
officials worked successfully with law enforcement agencies around
the world to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of those
2. Lead the international community in cooperative action
to stop the flow of financial resources that support violent terror
networks. Toward that end, the U.S. Senate should pass legislation
to implement the International Convention on the Suppression of
the Financing of Terrorism.
3. Through the UN Security Council, call for the establishment
of a special international tribunal (or authorize an existing
tribunal) to investigate and prosecute the September 11 attacks
as crimes against humanity. To have legitimacy and to receive
full cooperation from other countries, these cases should be tried
before an international tribunal rather than before a U.S. court
or military tribunal. To help deter and prosecute future crimes
against humanity of this magnitude, President Bush and the Senate
should join the world community by ratifying the Rome Statute
for the International Criminal Court.
4. Preserve civil liberties for U.S. citizens and non-citizens
alike, maintain full public accountability of U.S. governing institutions,
and protect vulnerable groups in the U.S. from racial profiling,
hate crimes, and harassment. The U.S. must not and need not sacrifice
its core values in the process of defending them from acts of
terror. Rather, the U.S. should demonstrate its enduring commitment
to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the
way it pursues justice.
5. Through the UN Security Council, lead the international
community in bringing diplomatic, political, and economic pressure
and incentives to bear on governments that give support or shelter
to terror networks or that contribute to the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction. If international sanctions are applied,
they should be focused narrowly so as to isolate and limit the
capacities of those in political power while avoiding harm to
6. Respond with compassion and generous, sustained humanitarian
and development assistance to the suffering of the innocent peoples
in Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, the Congo, Iraq, the Sudan,
Pakistan, and other zones of conflict. War orphans, refugee children,
and youth without hope, today numbering in the millions, are especially
vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist organizations.
7. Intensify U.S. efforts to secure a just and lasting peace
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a major source of deep anti-U.S.
sentiment throughout the Arab world.
8. Lead the international community in cooperative efforts
to de-alert, reduce, and eliminate existing stockpiles of nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons in the U.S., Russia, and elsewhere.
This includes increasing substantially U.S. funding for the "Nunn-Lugar"
cooperative threat reduction programs with Russia. To reduce the
threat from weapons of mass destruction further, the Bush Administration
and Congress should support the pending protocol to the Biological
Weapons Convention, ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
and preserve the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. If the U.S. does
not lead, the danger from these weapons will continue to grow.
9. Support an international code of conduct on arms transfers
and a ban on the sale and transfer of weapons to zones of conflict.
Weapons sales and transfers increase acts of violence, suffering,
and the collapse of civil society institutions. The U.S. is the
world's largest exporter of weapons. It should not export weapons
to regimes that are undemocratic and violate human rights.
10. Develop environmentally sound energy and transportation
policies to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, a driving factor behind
U.S. military intervention and violent conflicts in the Persian
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