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Shortly after President George W. Bush reiterated that the “Cold War is over,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “my friend,” Moscow attacked Bush’s conduct of the war against terrorism, as well as the corporations supplying the weaponry to fight the war.
In rhetoric reminiscent of Soviet era-propaganda produced during the depths of the Cold War, Moscow lashed out against the U.S. “military-industrial complex” and “Washington politicians,” who combine to ensure “a long war against terrorists … in which weapons manufacturers will get billions in profits,” according to official Russian sources.
As the war against terrorism in Afghanistan continues, Moscow is charging that the Bush administration “has chosen not to discuss” the problem of civilian casualties incurred during those military operations.
The statements were broadcast over the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.
The Bush administration commenced military operations against the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan following its refusal to surrender Osama bin Laden, identified as leader of the terrorist network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and the Pentagon.
Observing that stock market shares in defense corporations tend to increase during times of national emergency, Moscow remarked that modern weaponry is “costly enough,” and that “the companies producing them are looking forward to new orders.”
The longer military operations continue in Afghanistan, Moscow declared, “the more profit it will bring to weapons-producing companies.”
“Doesn’t that explain why Washington politicians connected with the companies now are not talking about pinpoint attacks against targets in Afghanistan, but about a long war against terrorists?” Moscow asked.
“A war in which the demand for more Tomahawk missiles, war planes and helicopters will increase daily, and in which weapons manufacturers will get billions in profits,” Moscow stated.
“As for civilian casualties that the use of new weapons will entail, Washington has chosen not to discuss it.”
No mention was made during the broadcast of the profits made by Russian defense contractors during the continuing – and controversial – war in the rebellious Russian republic of Chechnya.
The Bush administration, following the events of Sept. 11, has consistently warned both U.S. citizens and its allies that the war against terrorism could be long in duration and acknowledged the possible cost in human lives as a result of the conflict.
The U.S. State Department Internet website carries a page entitled, “Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan,” which details U.S. aid to Afghanistan.
During the State Department’s daily briefing on Oct. 11, press spokesman Richard Boucher reiterated the Bush administration’s position regarding civilian casualties.
In response to a reporter’s question concerning non-combatant deaths caused by U.S. military actions, Boucher stated, “We have taken every possible step … to avoid civilian casualties, to make sure that the U.S. military response is carefully targeted, as the president has said.”
Moscow’s concern about the possibility of future Afghan casualties comes after two consecutive years of U.N. condemnation of the Russian Federation’s conduct in the rebellious Russian republic of Chechnya.
In April 2001, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights passed the latest resolution, introduced by the European Union, citing the Russian military for the use of disproportionate and indiscriminate force, forced disappearances and arbitrary executions.
Russia’s representative to the commission responded to the resolution deeming it as “unacceptable.”
The war against terrorism, however, could have an unintended benefit for Moscow. In return for Russia’s cooperation, the West may reconsider its earlier concerns over the behavior of its military in Chechnya.