Thursday, August 26, 2010

More about War

I am fortunate that most of the opinion letters that I send to the Perkasie News Herald are published. While I am not receiving much feedback from those letters, I know some people are reading them. The following is the letter I sent today.

To the editor:

In addition to the Perkasie News Herald, I am an avid reader of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I make a point of reading the opinion page, especially the readers' opinion letters that are published daily. When a letter writer has supplied their e-mail address, I will contact those readers with whom I disagree. I have started a number of correspondences in this manner and have exchanged numerous, civil e-mails in discussion of the topics of the day.

One such letter recently suggested that we should have bombed a city in Afghanistan (after telling them which city) after the 9/11 attacks rather than spending so much money and losing so many American lives. My response to the writer was as follows:

At first glance, the newspaper supplied title to your letter almost made me skip down to the next letter. But, as I have made an effort to read and respect everyone's opinion, I pressed on and read yours.

The jist of your letter seems to be that we should have used the full strength of our missiles and long range offensive weapons against our enemies rather then spending billions of dollars and wasting thousands of our own young American lives. Your premise is based on the reasoning that by demonstrating our willingness to use the sheer destructive power that we possess, our enemies will think twice about future attacks. It seems based on sound logical thinking.

I see a few problems with the idea.

1. By warning Afghanistan ahead of time, the truly guilty for the attack of 9/11 will surely flee, leaving only the poor and innocent to be slaughtered by our weapons.

2. While this may save thousands of American lives, what about the thousands of Afghani lives that would be lost. Are their lives worth any less because they happen to live in Afghanistan?

3. While the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attack were Muslim, the vast majority of them were from Saudi Arabia, as is Osama Bin Laden. In fact, many people believe that most of the funding came from the Saudis oil wealth. Shouldn't we then be bombing Saudi Arabia?

4. If we had bombed Afghanistan as you suggest, isn't it possible that this attack against innocent civilians would have galvanized those radical Muslims (and perhaps some moderates as well) in their belief that America is at war with their religion?

Not knowing you, I am assuming that your letter reflects an understanding that we have wasted a huge amount of money, time and American lives in the past nine years in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I also assume that you are angry that all those resources have done little to exact revenge against the monsters who planned the attack. You lament our apparent impotence at gaining justice.

Perhaps it is not the method of how we seek revenge but the need to seek it that we should be questioning. Hatred breeds hatred. Let's not forget that we supported the Taliban in their war against Russia and that we supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. To many people of that region, we are only concerned with our interests, and we will use and/or kill anyone who opposes us. To think that we were brutally attacked on 9/11 for no reason, does a disservice to our intelligence. Revenge is what keeps this conflict alive. Turning our back on revenge, may be the only way to break the cycle.

Many of today's pundits believe that we are at war with Islam. The justification for waging that battle is the belief that Islam is at war with America. But if we continue to kill Muslims (remember, we have probably killed 75-100,000 of them since 9/11) in the name of rooting out terrorism, what other conclusion will some Muslims come to than that we are at war with them, therefore they should kill more Americans. And so it will go on and on.

How about if we show them that Christianity means more than just loving those who think like us, look like us, believe in the same things we believe. How about if we show them that the spirit of Christianity demands that we love our enemies as well. That we try, through examples of love and tolerance, to prove that we really believe in the teachings of Christ.

How about if we save all that money and all those lives by not seeking revenge at all?

No comments:

Post a Comment