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Jonathan Clarke wrote:
> Thanks for this most interesting piece which eloquently defends just war against
> terrorism. I certainly agree that war can be waged justly, with the Gulf and
> Falklands wars as two relatively recent examples. Given current events, I feel
> that some discussion is necessary, although I do so with some trepidation, given
> the depth of feeling in the US towards the outrages of September 11 and the
> current anthrax insanity.
> Action against terrorists and terrorists organisations is certainly just.
> Whether bombing third countries who harbour or even give official shelter and
> support to such terrorism falls under the cloak of waging war justly is another
> matter. Groups that many would consider terrorist have sheltered and found
> support in the US, sometimes with official sanction. Does this give the
> countries who have suffered from the depredations of these organisations
> (Britain, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russia, Cambodia, to name some) the right to take
> military action against the US? The present US military based approach against
> terrorism seems very similar to that taken by Israel against the terrorism it has
> suffered in the last 20 years. It has seen the once famous Israeli military
> machine humiliated and tainted by atrocities and not solved the problem. Israel
> is a more dangerous place to live than it was 20 years ago.
> If there is any lesson that can be drawn from the past 50 years of terrorism and
> guerilla warfare is that containing with terrorism is a matter for police and
> intelligence forces, backed up by judicious use of the military, when required.
> Dealing with terrorism requires dealing with the underlying causes for it. The
> US should ask itself why is it hated to such an extent that people are prepared
> to sacrifice themselves to kill thousands of its citizens. The reasons have
> nothing to do with Brush's delusional nonsense about the US being hated for its
> freedoms, wealth and power. There are other free, wealthy, and powerful
> countries out there who do not suffer terrorist outrages to anything like the
> same degree. They have to do with a hypocritical and self-serving foreign policy
> and bully-boy military actions.
This is just name-calling with no substance.
Of concern now isn't an abstract "people" but Islamic radicals who hate the
United States. & while there are certainly things about US foreign policy & military
action that can be criticized, the reasons for the hatred of Islamic radicals has
much more to do with the Islamic tradition than it does with those failures. In
a) The type of static & closed theocracy that those radicals want is
impossible in a world in which a free society like the US is the major power.
b) The existence of a state of Israel - NB, not any details of Israeli
policy but the reality of any such state in what is supposed to be the territory of
Islam - is anathema to them. US defence of the right of Israel to exist is then a
primary reason for hatred.
The most recent military action of the US that might be characterized as
"bully-boy" is the attack on Serbia. The fact that this was in support of a largely
Muslim population should give some pause to anyone who claims that such actions
provide a reason for Islamic radicals to hate the US.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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