Raising the Standard for News and Views
Passion concert results in spiritual sensation
Save American pride with peace
In light of the recent United States military strikes against the Taliban, I am affected because of my experiences working with refugees from Afghanistan. I realized immediately that I could not write about the plight of refugees without mentioning the realities of war. Many people continue to see war as a distant opportunity for America to flaunt its power. Such an ideology is not only false but also dangerous. I love the U.S. and democracy as much as any other American. There are certain reasons, however, that make bombing Afghanistan inhumane, indecent, and illogical.
Recall with me that this is not the first time the U.S. has used military strikes as a means of action against aggressors. The most recent military campaign was against Yugoslavia, even though we were not bombing in the name of the U.S. The philosophy behind that particular campaign was the same as the present philosophy.
We believed if we bombed strategic points within Yugoslavia, Milosevic would cease his brutal treatment of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. What the United States failed to realize was that Milosevic was not the type to give in to such retribution. Human carnage to him was necessary for upholding nationalism. Milosevic is similar to Osama bin Laden in that he condemned the U.S. Milosevic proceeded to lead a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Albanian Kosovars. That was his response to the U.S. military campaign against Yugoslavia. It is sad that we have not learned from that incident in history.
The U.S. has also bombed the Middle East in the recent past. We have not got any results. Certain governments of the Middle East continue to condemn the U.S. and support certain terrorist groups. The one result we did get came on September 11,2001 in the form of death and destruction.
The types of governments we are bombing do not respond to human carnage in the way that we believe they will. For them nationalism is a way of life. These governments are far more complex to think, “ Oh, the U.S. is bombing us, let us give in.” If we bomb them we will just fuel their anger. They feel they must uphold their nationalism at any cost, including the lives of their own people.
Many people—including the media—are under the impression that all of Afghanistan is mobilizing for war. Let me make a few clarifications.
I very much doubt that the people of Afghanistan are mobilizing for anything but flight. In fact, the majority of the population probably has no idea of what is going on. Afghanistan has been plagued by civil war for over twenty years. As a result, it is an impoverished and war-torn country. The Taliban came into power relatively recently and have done nothing to help their country’s economy. They have made it only worse through the brutal repression of their own people.
The majority of Afghans do not even support the Taliban government and are, in fact, quite terrified of them. They did not elect the Taliban into power. The Taliban took power by force. Furthermore, Afghanistan is presently experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades. As a result of war, political repression, and drought, millions of Afghans are either displaced or refugees. They are an impoverished people who are just trying to survive day by day.
We need to ask ourselves if an entire population is on the move, how do we know whom we are bombing? Millions of Afghans are also refugees in Pakistan and other surrounding countries. By bombing Afghanistan we are creating even more refugees and straining such countries even further. Furthermore, the Taliban is rich and obviously retains a certain level of intelligence. There is a large possibility that they have taken protective measures in the wake of the recent bombings (such as leaving Afghanistan) and it is innocent civilians who suffer the consequences of our military strikes.
There are many who say that killing such innocent people evens the score for the innocent Americans killed on September 11th. Such a state of mind is similar to that of a terrorist. Terrorists do not discriminate between true culprits and innocents when fighting for nationalism. If we have bombed all of Afghanistan in the name of American nationalism, many innocent lives were lost. Does this not bring us down to the level of the terrorists? Do we really expect the bombs will solve anything when experts have predicted a 100% chance of retribution by Bin Laden and other terrorists?
By bombing Afghanistan, the U.S. has chosen the path of war. By choosing war, we are throwing ourselves into the violent black hole in which much of the world lives. War is a vicious cycle of violence and death that we, as Americans, cannot begin to fathom.
Volume I, Issue III