This makes me sick. Just plain sick. According to a report in the New York Times, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent, civilian Afghan citizens have died in US attacks, during the undeclared war on terror.
Now, let me be clear here, because my posts like this usually bring out the name-callers: I am horrified by, and I am still processing the reality of the terrible, terrible attacks on September 11th. I want very badly for the people who did it to be brought to justice, and pay for what they did, and I want to be sure that things like this don’t happen again.
But I don’t think that killing innocent people, identified as “collateral damage”, is right.
Consider this: the people in the WTC and Pentagon, and on those planes were completely innocent, right? Just people, going through their day. Maybe some of them had left a sleeping spouse, at home, or left their kid at school without a goodbye kiss.
The evil sub-humans who murdered thousands of innocent people didn’t have a quarrel with them, personally. Their quarrel is with the leadership and foreign policy of the United States, right? So, from their horribly twisted perspective, the people who died on 9/11: the mothers, sons, infants, fathers, daughters, husbands and wives, were just “collateral damage”, right?
NOTE (4:14 PM): Wrong. They were, as has been pointed out, intentional targets. After many notes and emails, I have really reconsidered my thought here: these people who died on 9/11 were intentional targets, murdered by terrorists, and not collateral damage, as I said. I was way, way, way off, and I’m putting foot into mouth. There is a huge difference between a bomb that goes astray, and the intentional targeting of civilians. I’m really glad that people have pointed out my glaring error, and, rather than pride fully insist that I am correct, it’s much more important to me to admit that I was wrong.
I guess that my point is that I don’t like this concept of “collateral damage”, regardless of whose side you’re on. I also don’t even like the term. It’s too antiseptic, and fails to convey the brutal reality. It should be called what it is: The Killing of Innocent Civilians.
Innocent people do not deserve to die, especially because of a conflict that isn’t between people, but between nations.
If I, or someone I loved had died on that day, I would not want an Afghan child to die in the pursuit of my, or my loved one’s killer.
It also really bothers me that everyone, from the man in the street, to the members of the media, to the leaders in our government, are calling this a war, when congress hasn’t declared war. I realize that this is probably pedantic to most people, but I think that the separation of powers is extremely important, and if the cause is just, the President should ask for, and receive from Congress, a declaration of war. Doesn’t this bother anyone else? I mean, of course it’s a war. But why hasn’t it been formally declared? And, while I’m at it, because I’m pretty sure the flames will begin to surge my way, shouldn’t the my government take a good, hard look at why the rest of the world hates us so much? I mean, let’s get the bad guys, absolutely, but shouldn’t we also take a good, honest, fearless look at our foreign policy, and ask ourselves if maybe we need to make some changes?
Let me clarify just a few other things, too: If you’re a serviceman or woman, I don’t have a problem with you, or the choice you’ve made to defend our country. It seems that every time I question the morality of a war, or the motives of our leadership, I get flooded with emails and comments from insulted members of the armed forces, and I’d like to head that off, if it’s at all possible. The same way that I don’t want to be blamed for a lousy episode of TNG, I don’t blame you for a war that I don’t agree with. I know, a thin comparison, but I think you get my point.
I realize that, in war, civilian deaths are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it, and I fear that there are people who will read this story, and it won’t bother them a bit that a mother lost a son in our pursuit of the terrorists.
Countless Iraqi civilians died during the Operation Desert Storm, simply because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and I heard people proclaiming that they deserved it, because they were Iraqi, and therefore automatically supported Saddam. I think that’s insane.
So this started out as an indignant post about the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan, but it’s turned into some rambling thoughts on the deaths of innocents in any war…I bet I’d get a low grade if I turned this in as a paper, but it’s what’s on my mind today. So there.
I also realize that most Americans are still reeling over the events of 9/11, and I apologize in advance if my thoughts here offend anyone.