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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Justice or revenge?


Next administration needs to focus on finding man responsible: bin Laden

Abdul Khan

Iraq is not a terrorist country. Iraq had a leader who was a dictator. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who slaughtered Kurds for simply being Kurds. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not have an al-Qaida presence, until now. Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11.

The attacks on the East Coast were devastating, and we lost many. Even pacifists get mad, but revenge is not what we should seek as Americans. As a nation we are better than revenge. Justice is what should be sought.

It is established that Osama bin Laden was responsible. His groups provided the funding and training. He claimed credit, and we gave it to him. He is guilty. Why are we not trying harder to bring this man to justice?

Most liberals were more than willing to go along with the war. Many advocated for the capture and trial or the death of bin Laden; most probably wanted the latter. We had allies in it. The world stood in solidarity for our plight. From Spain to Iran to the Philippines, candlelight vigils were held to mourn those lost. When we wanted him dead or alive, and the world had our back.

There are things in the world that need to be taken care of. There are times when even an ultra-liberal cannot help but to want intervention, but the Iraq War happened because we were lied to.

There is nothing we have done in Iraq that was fiscally conservative. Nothing we have done has helped secure our country, and everything we have done has helped increase the flow of extremists against us. Getting involved in Iraq has hurt us all around.

Sen. Barack Obama is the only candidate who can catch bin Laden. Obama is respected overseas and will be able to form coalitions. Having a carbon copy of the last administration will ensure that justice is never sought and terrorists will continue to have grievances and opportunities to hurt us. The Democrats will inherit a nation that is hated by many, and will have its work cut out for it.

Terrorists were supposed to be the target of justice. Instead, this administration has targeted innocent civilians, American citizens and Muslims as a whole. This is not justice and there is not now, nor has there been for a while.

People can argue that the Taliban provided stability in the country, but this is a weak argument at best. Fear and terror do not constitute stability. What the U.S. decided to do under President Bush’s administration was to ignore its attacker and destabilize an innocent country. Where is the justice?

My family comes from Pakistan, but if our new administration wants to go into the tribal regions on the border, I will support it, as will most sober liberals. During a campaign it is very hard to understand what politicians are going to do if elected, but in all honesty, if our next commander in chief asked for support to bring down bin Laden, he would have it.

If America wants justice for 9/11, it will never find it in Anbar, Baghdad, Tbilisi or Tehran. Justice is waiting to be served somewhere in that ancient tribal land where contact with the modern world is limited and religious extremism flourishes. The mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan hold the only true aim we should have had in this war: justice.

Khan, a political science and history junior, can be reached via [email protected]

True justice comes from rethinking how we conduct our foreign relations

Blake Gilson

When tanks rolled into Baghdad, the justification for the war was still up in the air. It was said that there were weapons of mass destruction, connections with al-Qaida and possibly some yellow cake. One by one, these justifications unraveled, but the Bush administration was not going down without a fight.

Nearing the end of the line, President Bush went all in on "justice" to explain his war. Saddam Hussein was a mass murderer who killed his own people, defied international law and posed an unacceptable threat to Middle Eastern stability. We were told the "just" action for any super power would be to invade, topple and rebuild a more democratic government.

The term justice is too frayed and overused to have any substantial political meaning. Everyone along the political, spectrum from the bleeding-heart liberal to the neo-conservative warmonger, wants justice in American foreign policy. No one advocates we should do anything in the name of injustice.

If mass human rights violations justified a military invasion and occupation, then it would be in accordance with justice for the United States military to bomb many more of the world’s nations. We need to realize that American military power is not set up to achieve justice. It is constructed for one purpose: to kill and destroy.

This administration and the servicemen and women of the armed forces don’t target innocent persons purposefully, but the death of innocents is a fact deriving from the nature of combat. This will not change even if the next commander in chief has a "D" instead of an "R" next to his name.

It’s a struggle to think of one example in this nation’s past where all military objectives were completed, innocents where spared and peace and prosperity was restored throughout the land. Even World War II, a war that delivered a third of the world’s population into Soviet domination, is being called into serious question. Go no farther than Pat Buchanan’s Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War" if one is interested in the debate of World War II.

The attacks on 9/11 represent something much larger. They showed that trillions of dollars paid toward national defense, thousands of stockpiles of the most deadly weaponry known to man and decades of attempts to stabilize the region of the world from which these attackers came accomplished little. If anything, these actions of our government made all of us less safe, and they made a devastating attack more likely.

And to suggest, as it repeatedly is, that the U.S. can fix the situation with just a couple more trillions of dollars, a couple of new bombs or a couple of new military interventions seems to reach a point of insanity, for these are the same actions which got us into our current predicament. We all wanted revenge after the twin towers fell, but this gut reaction has to be tempered with reason if we ever hope to escape these problems.

Backing any leader who would expand military operations into a sovereign nation and risk mass escalation in an already destabilized region where member states possess nuclear weapons is the last thing we should be gung-ho about.

What is needed is for us to disassociate justice from American bombs and house-to-house raids. No matter how much we wish it were not true, justice will not be found in more military adventures abroad. We must give up our bloodlust or we risk traveling down a long road to madness – a road from which we cannot return.

Gilson, a business sophomore, can be reached via [email protected]


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