War is a reasonable response at times

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

In her "War is Not the Answer to Terror" letter, the author proposed a "let's-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya-with-our-heads-in-the-sand" response to terrorism that will not protect us. The terrorists seek not to co-exist with us, but to destroy us. Thankfully, allied leaders understand this.

The author states that war is not the answer to the London bombings. Perhaps, but what if the Brits learn the bombing was a state-sponsored act? While unfortunate, war is a perfectly rational and intelligent response in self-defense to a threat or act of war. If the London terrorism was unaffiliated with a state, war is not the answer. We can expect cooperation from countries such as Egypt and Pakistan to bring those responsible to justice. To suggest war is never the answer, however, is pretty silly. To further suggest that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq were based solely on our "emotional instincts" or out of "revenge" is delusional. Thankfully we have more serious thinkers in the administration responsible for national security and many brave men and women of our armed forces putting those thoughts into action.

The author claims the world is no safer today after our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Huh? Libya renounced its WMD program; Pakistan is fighting terrorists and jailing its own extremists; the Afghanistani and Iraqi people held elections; and, a recent survey of Islamic countries demonstrates decreasing support for Al Qaeda. To argue that replacing Iraq's Baathists and Afghanistan's Taliban with democracies does not make the world safer reveals an extraordinary naiveté. How would the world look today with Saddam Hussein and the Taliban in power - more violence or less? More state-sponsored terrorism or less? More suicide bombers or less? To condemn the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions without understanding the alternatives is, again, silly.

The author correctly states that we must address the "root causes of violent extremism." Let's start with the mullahs preaching hate. Let's also continue working hard to undermine state sponsors of terrorists. While the hate issue can be addressed non-violently through criminal justice systems and the leadership of mainstream Muslims, state sponsors of terror will likely require a more forceful approach. To adopt the author's approach and renounce the possibility of violence against them would make any other lesser measures we try less effective. Praying for victims of terrorism is great; keeping the terrorists from creating victims is even better.

Chris Reilly


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