At Pearl Harbor
on December 7th, 1941 -- the day that will live in infamy
-- 2403 American lives were lost. A military attack on a military target, during a period when the world was at war. The death toll on September 11th, 2001 seems surely to surpass that. When the last battered body is dragged from the rubble of the World Trade Center
the toll may be treble or quadruple Pearl Harbor.
President Bush has said that he, nay we, will not discriminate between those who committed the acts and those who harbor them. In the 20 hours since the attack more and more signs point to an arabic group with ties to Osama Bin Laden. He is being "contained" by the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan. They will not extradite him to the US for past crimes. The President's words were calculated.
Isolationism. Follow that path. Stay out of world affairs. I've heard this so many times I know their arguments better than they do. It's an ivory tower idealist's argument. What is the response to krystalnacht? What is the response to the Final Solution? What is the response to Tianamen Square? What is the response to Pearl Harbor? Nothing. Words. It's not our business.
If you are unwilling to fight for anything, you're either a pacifist or a coward. A pacifist I can live with. I can admire them. I often thought I was one. But in the end I know, that I will fight for my family. I will fight for my children. And I will fight for those less fortunate than myself. If you're only willing to fight for your own, you're selfish - and short-sighted.
It is said that violence begets violence. This is to some extent true. But it is also true that violence can simply exist on its own. Just because you are peaceful doesn't mean your brother, much less your neighbor, is going to leave you alone. Ask Abel. Ask the jews or gypsies of Europe circa 1941. Violence may beget violence - but peace does not beget peace.
I am not a christian. I admire the teachings of Jesus Christ. I wish that I could be that strong. But if someone kills my child, I will not turn the other cheek. The lord will have to share his vengeance.
Deterrence. If the US were to essentially ignore this act, we would not see a lessening of terrorist acts. We would see more. We have as a country tried to rely on the courts. Yes, we've had some ineffective bombings of usually vacant terrorist training camps - we've even mistakenly killed civilians. We do it mistakenly. Terrorists do it on purpose. If you cannot see the difference - then you are blind.
If, and please take note of the "if", Osama Bin Laden is responsible for these crimes, then Afghanistan has committed an act of war against the United States. They have taken the responsibility for "containing" him. They harbored him against our protests.
You do not win wars by playing an eye for an eye. You win wars with overwhelming force and at the least cost to your side. Every military target in Afghanistan should be hit. Their leaders should be targeted as well. That's how you win wars. That's how you show countries that if they knowingly harbor terrorists - they will pay, not just the terrorist.
The United States has often been on the "wrong" side in my liberal opinion. I can list you all the dictators we've supported, countries we've invaded, and governments we've subverted. Not this time. We are legitimately the good guys here.
Oh, but you're war-mongering, the peanut gallery whines. Well, I'm an anarcho, pacifist-until-pushed-to-the brink, liberal. Yesterday was the brink. I'm not war-mongering, Afghanistan is war-mongering. I'm responding in kind.
I've also served four years in the army -- though I probably have as little respect for it as anyone you know. But you have the right to be a libertarian, pacifist, socialist, conservative, etc., etc., in this country ONLY because someone else -- many millions of someone elses -- fought, killed, and died to preserve for you that right. Else we'd be kneeling before the Queen or giving each other seig heils.