Justifying the War in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is home to more than 26 million people, home to what remains of the oppressive Taliban regime, and home to Osama Bin Laden. Afghanistan is also the home of America’s new war. Fueled by a desire to seek retribution and to show the world that we as Americans are not going to sit idly by and allow atrocities such as those that occurred on September 11th, we have entered into this new war and forever changed the face of American reality. Unquestionably we are justified in seeking out the perpetrators of the crimes against us, but is this war in Afghanistan a just war? Are we truly there to help a nation and it’s people as well as provide for our own safety in the future?
The answer is invariably yes; one has only to view the images from the last week to see the impact this war is having on the people of Afghanistan. For those of you who like to shout “propaganda”, lay down your bullhorn and see the truth. Afghan as well as U.S. and international sources have all reported the same thing. Jubilation, triumph, and freedom, these are just some of the things the people of Afghanistan are experiencing right now. Feelings they have not had for a very long time.
Our presence and assistance has allowed the Northern Alliance to break the prolonged stalemate they were enduring and make massive gains in Afghanistan. The cities under Northern Alliance control all show the same scenes. Men shaving their Taliban required beards, women showing their faces, and music playing loudly. For the first time in five years a woman took to the radio airwaves over Afghanistan and for the first time since 1996 women were free to be women, human.
Prior to the Northern Alliance victories Afghan women were virtually denied their existence. Besides rules concerning the wearing of the burqua, which led to beatings if not followed, there also existed an entire series of absurd rules designed for the sole purpose of subjugating women. Women were prohibited from leaving their homes without a male relative, and those without male relatives simply didn’t leave, often leading to starvation and hunger. In addition, women were prohibited from education and work, windows were painted to ensure that women were not seen, and their skin was to be covered at all times. There was no reading for Afghan women, and television and radio was prohibited all Afghans.
So when the Northern Alliance is knocking at your door, and they are preaching liberation, you follow. People took to the street in celebration, not just in one city, but in all the cities liberated by the Northern Alliance. Lines formed to shave, women walked the streets, not many at first, for fears the Taliban might return, but slowly more and more. As the day’s pass and the Northern Alliance makes it increasingly obvious that they have control we should expect to see more of the same. More celebration, more joy, more women walking the streets, more naked faced men yelling from the tops of buildings. As music plays in the shops and Northern Alliance tanks stir up the dust on the street we see Afghanistan waking to a wonderful new reality and a wonderful new world.
So is this war justified? Absolutely, but only on one condition, we must not forget the people of Afghanistan the people displaced by the war, the people who are newly freed. We must remember that the government of the country is gone; we must replace it with a competent and fair body of politicians. Each ethnic group needs to be represented as well as the long oppressed women. Humanitarian aid needs to continue long into the future as well as development programs for less advantaged areas and smaller tribal villages. If we as Americans can keep our head in the game and keep our focus on the good we are doing for the people instead of the damage we are doing the Taliban, we might come through this as just and honorable, vice cruel and despicable. The eyes of the world are on Afghanistan, this is our chance to show the world that we mean business but to also show them that we are a fair and generous nation. Currently there is no place in American society for separatism and peace radicals, if they do not agree with the actions and desires of our nation then please allow them to leave.
The Afghan people have benefited from our actions and so have the people of America. The previously ungrateful and naÃ?Â¯ve Americans, have been transformed into internationally aware and active individuals. We may have rid the country of the Taliban and therefore the terrorism supporting government, but we have also rid Afghanistan of a terribly oppressive and violent regime aimed at total domination of it’s own population. The justification for this war lies in our desire to seek revenge but also help those less fortunate than us. We are extracting that revenge now as bombs fall every minute on the Taliban, and for every bomb that falls another hungry Afghan woman or child realizes freedom. There is no greater war than a just war, and knowing that war is inevitable we must embrace our just war and cherish it. Make no mistake this war was necessary and imminent; no amount of political wrangling would have solved the problem. This has always been the case, take for example this statement made by Otto Van Bismarck over 100 years ago, “The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions . . . but by iron and blood”. Accept the inevitable and look to the future, what is it that we can do to bring Afghanistan to life, to fill its streets with even more fearless people, but more importantly to fill our streets and our skies with the same kind of fearless people? The task before us is immense but there is no uncertainty that we, as a nation, shall prevail.