Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Re: Right & Wrong (was Article to Share)

Tom Davies tdav@wam.umd.edu
Thu, 13 Sep 2001 02:33:44 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 12 Sep 2001, R. Brian Norton wrote:

> Somebody please tell
> me what YOU think the United States needs to do after this event?  I am
> ready to listen.

"Pray for their souls" is part of the answer, but not the one you're
asking for, of course.

Find out who did it. Track them down and either capture or kill them. Do
everything possible to prevent collateral damage -- that means no
airstrikes except against military bases and other places where no
civilians are.

Find out whether the people who did it have a close relationship with any
national government. If so, it may be necessary to invade that country --
not to bomb their civilian infrastructure, as with Yugoslavia, and not to
institute sanctions that kill ordinary people and leave the government
intact, as with Iraq, but to physically invade the country. Send soldiers
in, with the expectation that some will die. Fight as clean a war as
possible, while getting as much international and regional support as
possible. Make it a NATO operation, not just an American one. All wars are
dirty to some degree, but fight as cleanly as possible -- that means
leaving civilian infrastructure intact and civilians alive whenever

Win. Install a new government. Do so with maximum respect for, and input
from, local people who don't support the terrorists. Implement the
equivalent of a Marshall Plan, so that after the war, the country is no
longer full of desperate disaffected people who are willing to be suicide
bombers. (Props to the powderworker who already brought up the Marshall
Plan idea.)

Do all of the above with the greatest of good will, remembering that
America's real enemies are a very small number of people and that the
lives of the vast majority are just as precious as American lives. Never,
ever, ever take revenge; never retaliate for the sake of retaliating; just
do what must be done to protect America and the world.

That, to my mind, would constitute the only honorable and effective
response -- the only response worthy of that great American spirit one
hears so much about.

td (sorry for posting so much recently, I'll shut up for a while now)