Only Ignorant People Support the Many Wars on Terrorism

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"Let's get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!),

So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!).

Have pity on those whose chances grows t'inner;

There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation. "

Lyrics from the song "One Love" by Bob Marley

When it comes to foreign policy and America's role in the world, we are rarely a true democracy; we rarely even have much idea of what is going on. This veil of ignorance has contributed in no small part to the endless series of ghastly events. If we are to prevent a repetition of them, we as citizens must reclaim some authority over our role in the world, and not simply endorse every "war on terrorism."

Simple justice and morality demand that we regard the acts of the terrorists and those with whom they worked as evil, irredeemable deeds, and that we tirelessly seek justice for their victims. But our revulsion and our determination to bring evil-doers to justice do not require us to abandon the search for the larger causes of such deeds. Sheer pragmatism, not to say the desire for self-preservation, requires that we do all we can to prevent future repetitions of these events.

Such a pragmatic imperative is not adequately served simply by beefing up our intelligence capabilities or by retaliating with military or economic violence. If widespread hatred of the United States is the seedbed of acts like those of September 11, we would do well to reflect on the roots of that hatred. Understanding it does not require that we ratify it, or accede to its fantastic and coercive manifestations, or refrain from passing judgment on despicable acts. It does, however, require that we pause to examine how U.S. policies and attitudes have helped in the m...

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...ab resentment of the West and the U.S. in particular. Nor is there any assurance that militant hostility to the United States can easily be altered in those regimes for which that hostility is an essential, if pathetic, motive force. Of paramount importance, however, is that we citizens not abdicate our responsibility to understand, and to exercise meaningful influence over, the uses to which our sovereign power is being put. President Bush has assured us that "We will lead the world to victory, to victory," but over whom, and at whose expense? No American should feel satisfied to endorse a "war" of undetermined length and unarticulated aims. To confer unchecked power on our government to prosecute a "war on terrorism," with no assurance that we will not be spreading the same misery and generating the same rage that lie behind the recent events, is unacceptable.
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