The U.S. bombing raid in Libya has made the world "less secure and more dangerous" and "terrorism and counterterrorism more likely," the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson told an audience of more than 1,000 at the founding convention of the National Rainbow Coalition last night.
Jackson, an outspoken opponent of many Reagan administration policies, became one of the first political figures here to criticize this week's military raid.
"The street-corner rhetoric and the 'eye for an eye' and 'tooth for a tooth' approach that is passing for this administration's foreign policy could leave the world blinded and toothless," he said.
"We were told that only military and terrorist targets were sighted and struck. Yet we see women, infants and children who are dead and wounded in Libya as a result of our actions," he added.
Jackson implied that the U.S. action violated international law and he called upon the administration to bring evidence of Libyan terrorism before the United Nations, the Congress and the American people so "the whole world can be convinced that our actions were justified."
He said that while "we must be against state-sponsored terrorism . . . we must be against it regardless of the state doing the sponsoring . . . . Thus, when our government funds terrorism in Angola . . . practices terrorism with murder manuals and mined harbors in Central America, ignores terrorism until one minute past midnight in the Philippines . . . then when the president condemns terrorism in the Middle East, he is not believable in the eyes of the world. He does not have moral authority.
"I am against terrorism -- everyday, everywhere and in every way."
Before he spoke at the D.C. Convention Center, the group heard from representatives of the African National Congress, which is fighting apartheid in South Africa, and from two people engaged in that struggle in this country -- one of his sons, North Carolina A&T student Jesse L. Jackson Jr., and former president Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, a student at Brown University.
The convention, which ends today, attracted more than 600 official delegates from 40 states. It represents Jackson's effort to create a permanent political organization out of the remnants of his 1984 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Earlier in the day, Jackson addressed a "Save the Family Farmers" breakfast in a room filled with 300 blacks, labor leaders and rural farmers.
To the thunder of repeated standing ovations, he told the racially mixed group that the Rainbow would put the "urban eaters and the rural feeders" together in "a new majority that has the ability to go all the way from here to the White House."
Roger Allison, executive director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, told the breakfast meeting that when Jackson spoke to several thousand farmers in Chillicothe, Mo., earlier this month, many "had never seen a black person before, and if they had seen a black person before they certainly hadn't seen one who could stand up and articulate our issues better than we could."
Jackson, who has been making speeches to farms groups all over the country, had arranged for the farmers from Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin to be bused to his convention, and for the transportation tab to be picked up by two progessive labor unions -- the American Federation of Government Employees and the International Association of Machinists. A total of 200 farmers came, according to Rainbow officials.
In his speech last night, Jackson outlined a farm program that called for a moratorium on farm foreclosures, emergency federal funds for planting, a restructuring of farm debt and affirmative action for black farmers.