Most Americans were overjoyed to hear of Osama bin Laden's death. The world is certainly better off now that he is feeding the fish in the Indian Ocean. But this leads one to ask, why are we still fighting in Afghanistan? Isn't getting him the reason we invaded the country nine long years ago? The CIA admits that there are probably less than 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan today. Is that justification for us maintaining over 100,000 troops there? This is a war that is costing us eight billion dollars a month with no end in sight. As near as we can determine, the 9/11 event was planned in Germany. Why not invade that country?
Most Americans are not asking many questions about the circumstances under which our Navy Seals killed bin Laden, but the citizens of Pakistan are, and so are students of international law. (Obama, have you forgotten what you used to teach?) It is now fairly clear that this was an assassination.outlawed by American as well as international law. How would we react if some other country, Russia for example, flew helicopters into an American city to assassinate one of their enemies? Anti-American fervor had already reached a very high peak in Pakistan and this along with our almost daily drone attacks is likely to exacerbate it. Can we afford to have this nuclear-armed, Moslem country hating us?
We must not celebrate the death of one mass murderer while justifying or ignoring the deaths of hundreds of thousands due to our own violence. Probably over 100,000 Iraq citizens have been killed and a couple of million displaced from their homes, because our neo-cons decided that we should attack that country under trumped up excuses. The search for non-existent weapons of mass destruction has also cost us upwards of a trillion dollars so far, along with over 4,000 G.I. Deaths and thousands of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries and amputated limbs.
It is easy to say that we made a bad mistake, or that we over-reacted to the tragedy of 9/11, but the sad fact is that we are a country addicted to war and violence, being egged-on by the corporate interests which directly benefit from war. Fear is a powerful motivator which makes us easy prey for those who promote "an eye for an eye" and "get them before they get you" as national policy.
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Martin Luther King said: "Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation."
In November of 2001, a group of people walked from Washington D.C. to New York City carrying a banner that said, "Our grief is not a cry for war." Several of the walkers were people who had lost loved ones in the attacks on 9/11. When the walk ended, they formed a group called "Families For Peaceful Tomorrows" to continually represent the belief that our security is not founded on violence and revenge.
Many of the newly elected, right-wing, tea party Republicans are for cutting human services, education and job programs, while increasing our expenditures on the military and nuclear weapons. What do you think? What are you doing about it?
WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER!
*Mr. Bob Hanson is the Treasurer of Democratic World Federalists. This article first appeared in DWF newsletter.