Socialists Doubt Bin Laden Behind Attacks on US

By Michael Betsch | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - Seizing on its long-established anti-war platform, the Socialist Party USA is again touting pacifism as the only legitimate response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

On its Website, the Socialist Party-USA defines its mission as that of making the world safe for democracy, but it insists such a thing is possible only by refusing to fight those who are willing to die in the attempt to destroy democracy and the United States.

The Socialist Party-USA says conflicts through the ages are almost always defined as "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."

In the current war on terrorism, that theory may need some revising, however: Osama bin Laden himself is a rich man who - according to some reports - has bought himself the protection of a poor country's illegitimate government.

The Socialist Party-USA does not believe that bin Laden is responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

"I refuse to believe that Osama bin behind all of these things he's been accused of," said Shaun Richman, the co-vice national chairman of the Socialist Party USA.

In an October 7 statement on the bombing of Afghanistan, the Socialist Party-USA expresses "outrage" at the US-led attack, calling it "retribution' and "aggression" that will lead to more violence.

Such "endless cycles of retribution," the statement said, make the U.S. "no better than the September 11 hijackers," whose attacks on the U.S. are seen by the Socialist Party as "retribution for perceived U.S. crimes."

By Richman's account, the demands that the U.S. placed on the Taliban and the ensuing military action is a clear example of the U.S. "dictating terms against a pretty much powerless perceived enemy and then bombing when they don't go along with it."

The Socialist Party statement does not criticize bin Laden.
War for war's sake?

Richman believes that there is a "bigger part" to the U.S. war on terrorism. He is convinced that the State Dept. and "the powers that be" want a war. "It's a quick war," he said. "It means a bigger military budget and everybody's happy. There was never any doubt that there would be any response but a war."

Richman considers the "war on terrorism" unjust - until some "damn good evidence" is s account produced against bin Laden.

Richman pointed to a recent Washington Post article that indicated the Sept. 11 hijackers may have been an isolated cell," acting alone.

"Most of the people who planned it (Sept. 11 attacks) died in the execution of it," he said.

"At best, there were a couple of fly-by-night meetings between representatives of al Qaeda and these terrorists," Richman contends. "There certainly is no smoking gun connected to Osama bin Laden, at least from what's been presented."

Richman insists that the people of Afghanistan "have never been, and will never be, our enemy." President Bush has also made it clear that the people of Afghanistan are not our enemies. But Richman said he's not even sure he sees the Taliban and bin Laden as the enemy.

"I would like to see more facts," he commented.

Even if credible evidence is presented against bin Laden, Richman said, "You really have to question whether this (military strike) is going to do much good and if this isn't just really creating the terrorists of tomorrow."

However, Richman concluded, "The people who did this, if there are people who did this that are still out there -- they should be put on trial at The Hague."

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