I recently read your article from Mir Tamim Ansary, and although his points are well taken, I cannot support passivism and patience as the appropriate course of action. I am sure Ansary is sincere. I am sure he is likely a good person who fears war. I am also sure that he still loves his country, Afghanistan, and those suffering there. However, I am equally sure that he does not love this country and what it stands for in the way that we must -- fear of Osama, fear of war, fear of loss cannot and should not be used to stop action against a crime which cannot go unpunished. The thought of allowing these crimes to go unpunished is repugnant not for revenge or mere retalliation but because not taking action would kill far more than the thousands we have already lost -- it would kill something far more precious, America.
I, like most of my fellow Americans, have long sympathized with the plight of a down-trodden and broken people in the Middle East. This is why our country continues to send peace corp workers, Red Cross, and over hundred's of millions of dollars in aid to those people. Hate, guilt by association and anhilation of an entire country and people would not be a path that I, nor anyone that I know would choose. However, I also believe that crimes as heinous as those committed on my fellow countrymen must be punished. This does not mean that citizens of countries in the Middle East should be punished unilatterally, but it also does not mean that I would send more money, more aid, and continue on a path of good faith waiting for those that would harm me and that which I love to strike again.
Certainly Mr. Tamim Ansary states that he also believes those actions should not go unpunished, yet the remainder of his article describes the American people as ready to bomb orphans, anxious to anhilate a civilization, and prepared to start World War. I have a nineteen year old brother who just joined the army, I have beautiful children who I hope never to have to explain why those they know may not ever return to us. However, I have another fear that is much greater than war, or the loss of loved ones, or even of world war -- that what has become a way of life in the Middle East will become a way of life here.
Fear is a horrible thing wripping away everything that is wonderful and beautiful in life. We Americans come from a strong stock: made stronger by the obstacles each generation and each ethnicity has overcome. Bound not by race, religion, or geography -- we are made one by our common belief that we control our future, our success, and our country. My grandfather of German decent fought a war against his own home land because what was dear to him was the freedom to choose his own life, to control his own destiny, and to make a better life -- America. It was not a war he wanted to fight; he never discussed it with us. But it was his gift to me, to my children, and to all other Americans. I will sit passively by and allow a gift bought with so dear a price to be taken from me by terrorists or fear.
I know that hatred and desperation can overcome a people that are poor and down-trodden and how appealing a message of domination and blame can be -- this is why so many joined the Nazi cause. However, I also know that even if you are crippled, poor, hungry, and beaten down, taking the path of least resistance and waiting for someone else to rescue you is also not the only, or best course of action. Yes, Afghanistan is being ruled by the Taliban; yes, the government was purchased with Osama's money; and, yes, they are a poor people with little means to defend themselves. But if they would be free, they must take action and surely if we Americans are to remain free we too must take action.
This will not be pleasant. We will likely lose much of what is dear to us: our privacy, convenience, and perhaps even our dear soldiers. Although I do not want a war or to see any more innocent people die, I want even less for my children
to grow up in a country any less beautiful and powerful than the idea of America. If we would be free, if we would continue to be America, we must stop those that would destroy us. And we must stop them because if we do not, no one else will -- not even those people whom they have enslaved in Afghanistan.
At 9/17/01 11:06 AM, TomFulp wrote:
My main reason for posting this was, what does it make you think? Does it change your view of Afghanistan? Does it change your feelings towards what must be done to end this conflict?