End the bombing

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2001

I am in despair watching as our government leads us into a military campaign against Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world. I deplore the rule of the Taliban in that country, and especially its suppression of human rights of women, and want to see a change. I cannot accept the idea that military force can solve the problem of terrorism. I do not know the answers, but I believe we only fall into the same camp as the criminals of Sept. 11 if we choose the path of revenge and killing of innocents.

I am urging the president to stop the bombing and the military campaign immediately. The escalating war has greatly increased the difficulties of delivering the humanitarian aid, which our government has acknowledged is needed, and in fact to which it has contributed.

Soon winter will close down much of the ground transportation system. This will further exacerbate the problems. Access to Afghanistan's interior by humanitarian aid groups is urgently needed to prevent millions of deaths this winter from starvation and exposure. I cannot bear to think that actions taken by my government in my name are inflicting these horrible conditions on innocent people. How can it be that the most powerful country in the world cannot find an alternative to brutal force to achieve the goal of justice? Think of the unending spiral of unintended consequences of this and previous wars. War is not the answer to this crisis. To the contrary, if will become a rallying cry to intensify the hatreds and desire to lash out against us. Every additional bomb we drop, and every senseless death we cause draws us further away from the path of justice.

The horrible attacks against innocent civilians that occurred on Sept. 11 can be neither justified nor excused. But the suffering and death of innocent Afghan civilians from starvation, exposure, or misguided bombs in no way serves the interests of justice. We need to end the bombing and the war and permit humanitarian aid to flow freely into this devastated country.

In the meantime, we are losing our civil rights at home in the false expectation that new and extraordinary police powers will somehow buy us some safety at home. We need to confront the real issues that ignite despairing young men to terrorist acts, to even begin to diffuse this "bomb" the deep economic and social inequities between the haves and have-nots of this world.

Amy Paige


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