What Has Victory' Achieved?
by Harry Browne
January 10, 2002
On September 11, foreign terrorists killed several thousand people by destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon.
Some people considered this a criminal act not an act of war by a foreign nation. They said the U.S. government should concentrate on finding, capturing, and bringing to trial anyone connected with the attacks.
The people who wanted war said this approach was laughable. They demanded that the doves lay out a fool-proof plan that would guarantee the capture of Osama bin Laden and anyone else involved in the attacks.
Of course, no one could do that. And so the warmongers carried the day and the U.S. went to war against Afghanistan.
What Has Happened?
Now, four months later, what has been achieved?
Many things . . .
Eggs & Wars
According to the brave warriors, all these tragedies are the necessary collateral damage that occurs in a war. After all, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
(Did you ever notice that the people who believe this rarely volunteer their own eggs? It's almost always someone else who must suffer the "collateral damage"?)
But where is the omelet?
Despite all the deaths and destruction, the devastation hasn't produced the capture of a single person claimed to be involved in the September 11 attacks. In fact, the only arrest so far of an actual suspect occurred in the United States, not in Afghanistan.
Was the Right Choice Made?
On September 12, America faced two choices:
Because choice #1 couldn't guarantee the capture of those responsible for the September 11 attacks, America went to war and decimated another nation. But that choice didn't produce the capture of a single perpetrator.
And so we have nothing to show for all the death and devastation nothing except the increased hatred of millions more people around the globe.
We're told the U.S. has simply acted in self-defense. After all, America was attacked.
But what we've seen wasn't retaliation. If you hit me and I hit you back, I'm acting in self-defense. But if you hit me and I respond by hitting your sister, that isn't self-defense it's aggression against your sister.
The U.S. hasn't retaliated against the people who caused the September 11 attacks. It has attacked an innocent nation and achieved nothing for it.
And if retaliation is the right way, why is President Bush pressuring India and Israel not to retaliate for terrorist acts?
Our government says the war in Afghanistan is wiping out Al-Qaeda, so that there can be no more terrorist acts. But our government also says Al-Qaeda has members in 60 countries around the world. Does that mean there are only 59 more countries to bomb?
So long as we're bombing defenseless countries, there will be widespread resentment against the U.S. and there will be terrorist acts against us, with or without Al-Qaeda.
Teaching a Lesson?
It is also said that, if nothing else, the bombing of Afghanistan will make would-be future terrorists think twice about attacking us.
But why should the bombing intimidate a terrorist? After all, terrorists don't care when innocent people die. And no evidence has been presented that anyone involved in the September 11 attacks has been killed by the bombings.
Certainly Osama Bin Laden has no reason to feel intimidated by the American response. After all, the September 11 attacks have caused us to spend tens of billions of dollars in warfare and new domestic security procedures, turn our lives upside down, give up portions of the Bill of Rights, and delegate vast new powers to the government. What more could he want?
Freedom for Afghans?
TV news clips show happy Afghans shedding their beards and veils while providing little or no coverage of the refugee camps and villages where people are starving.
Even if we could be sure that a majority of Afghans or even all of them approve of what the U.S. has done, the question remains: is it the responsibility of America to replace all the world's tyrants? If so, when does the bombing of Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe begin? And is the U.S. going to invade China to supervise its "human rights" activity?
And who could be so naοve as to believe the Northern Alliance is going to rule Afghanistan in a more kindly way than the Taliban did? U.S. troops will no more guarantee a free country than do the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. But once the war is over, our government and the press will no longer pay attention to the Afghans.
(The Kosovo Liberation Army on behalf of which the U.S. bombed Serbia in 1999 has driven Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, Turks and other non-Albanians out of Kosovo, "ethnically cleansing" the area far more efficiently than Slobodan Milosevic ever did. But how much interest have TV journalists shown in returning to Kosovo to see what the U.S. intervention achieved?)
Lastly, has the bombing of Afghanistan at least given people the feeling they've avenged the Americans who died on September 11?
No. Revenge can be achieved only by hurting those who have hurt you not by killing innocent bystanders.
The U.S. war on Afghanistan has produced nothing but misery.
I don't know about you, but I feel no pride in knowing my government has slaughtered a lot of innocent people in my name.
What to Do
We will end the terrorist threats to America only when America changes its foreign policy.
Our President must assure the world that he's repudiating the foreign policy of his predecessors which rained bombs on countries like Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Sudan and has propped up tyrannical dictators in countries like Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia and invaded countries like Iraq, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Lebanon.
When America becomes a friend to the world, rather than a dictator, evil people will no longer be able to rally the support they need to commit evil acts against us.
When America is no longer a threat to the world, the world will no longer threaten us.
(For a more realistic foreign policy, click here.)