The greater common good

By on November 1, 2001

We are bombing Afghanistan into a virtual oblivion, and we feel vindicated, and possibly a little more secure. We have been wronged, devastated by terror. The quest for justice reigns; it is the prevailing thought in our minds. These feelings are certainly justified, and also provoked by the forces of malevolent terror.
But in the midst of America’s strike on the Taliban government, let us acknowledge the plights of the starving children, crying mothers, and masses of helpless people. They are victims as we are and they deserve compassion as we do.
A vigilant humanitarian effort in Afghanistan would be the essence of American idealism; justice pulling rank over vengeance. We hate terrorism, we hate the Taliban government that sponsors it, and the Al-Qaeda network that perpetuates it. We do not hate the Afghan people. The process in Afghanistan must, therefore, be twofold.
We must eradicate terrorism as best we can, and then rebuild the society that remains. We are a nation of virtue, and it is our virtue that has sustained our world dominance through tragedy and transition. As a republic of unparalleled and unprecedented power, we have not just the opportunity, but the duty to extend this virtuous freedom to those who are wanting. We must feed those who are starving, and immunize those who are ailing.
We are not the policemen of the world, but we should be a supporter of justice. It is time to realize that the oppressed Afghan citizenry is only separated from us by place and circumstance, not by birthright.
The Taliban government is a faction of several thousand, and the Afghan people number in the twenties of millions. Many commentators and politicians have used this fact to minimize the need for humanitarian aid. The argument being, “If the people felt so violated by the system, why did they not simply overpower the Taliban?”
Afghanistan has been ravaged by warfare for 23 years. There is simply no power, no political intrigue amongst the people. It is impossible to comprehend the total depravity of the society. How does one galvanize political change when he has to worry about fending off brutality and hunger on a daily basis? There is no free press or television, or even free assembly; no venue for philosophical discourse. And how does one propose that a resistance be organized? Any uprising would surely result in the execution of the instigators. There are violent anti-American protestors in the streets of Afghanistan, but there is anti-American sentiment within the United States as well. Do we restrict and repel our malcontents? Our ideals supercede our political judgments. It is the sacrifice that we make for liberty, and it should be extended as far as possible.


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