The Old Anti-War Arguments Don’t Apply To Afghanistan December 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm
3,000 innocent civilians were killed on 9/11. They didn’t deserve it. Over 7,000 innocent civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. They didn’t deserve to die either. The difference is that al-Qaeda kills civilians on purpose. And that is a huge difference.
My country has done horrible things in my name. Fighting terrorists is not one of them. That doesn’t mean that everything is justified in the war on terror. We didn’t need to torture. We didn’t need to invade Iraq. It’s one thing to challenge the strategy in fighting terrorism, and quite another thing to deny the reality of the threat.
When Obama announced this latest troop increase in Afghanistan, many peace advocates were quick to oppose the decision. The situation looks all too familiar: the American imperialist empire subjugating the disempowered with its military might. But does this perspective describe the reality?
I’m full of discontent with my country. As a nation, we’re not even close to perfect. Just check my twitter stream for regular updates of my grievances. The terrorist threat is played up for a number of reasons, from the sinister to the cynical. This is extremely unfortunate, because it distracts from the serious work of preventing terrorist attacks. Let’s protect our freedoms and prevent war spending from bankrupting our nation, but let’s not return to the pre-9/11 air of invincibility (See: Nobody could have predicted…).
America is the biggest, toughest guy in the room, and he’s been a bully in the past. That doesn’t make it OK for any douchebag with a chip on his shoulder to walk up and bitchslap his daughter.
We’re not fighting Vietnamese Communists and we’re not Soviet invaders. Is there any treasure worth plundering in Afghanistan? The old anti-war arguments don’t apply here.
The fog of war is thick, and I may be wrong. It’s possible that the escalation of troops in Afghanistan was authorized based on ulterior motives. This may be the case, but I haven’t yet seen any strong evidence supporting this perspective. If you have, then by all means share.
Peace advocates serve a crucial purpose: they require the leadership to provide a strong justification for the sacrifices of our military and the deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire. Reasonable opposition to the war can pressure our leaders into bringing it to a swift conclusion. Likening the war to a quest for U.S. global dominance is a bit old-fashioned.