When I turned on my computer this morning, I intended to write another article explaining why I believe the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. Soon into writing, however, I realized that I just couldn’t do it; my heart wasn’t into it. I’m tired of making amoral arguments in an attempt to persuade amoral Americans to oppose an immoral war.
The truth is that I don’t really care if the war in Afghanistan is winnable, just as I didn’t really care if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I’m against war for one reason and one reason only. War is murder. That’s it. That’s why I get so pissed off when I read through the news every morning. That’s why I spend my free time slaving away at this blog. At times I might give different arguments trying to convince others to oppose war, but all that matters is that war is murder.
Deep down, we all know this. We know that there aren’t clear-cut battle lines in Afghanistan with the righteous Americans on one side and the wicked Islamists on the other. We know that US bombs are falling in civilian areas, killing innocent people.
As I’ve repeatedly argued, such killing only serves to inflame the population and recruit more terrorists, consequently making us all less secure. But again, that’s beside the point. The point is that, regardless of the consequences, the US military shouldn’t be killing these people. It doesn’t matter that these people live halfway around the world. It doesn’t matter that they’re Muslims. It doesn’t matter that many of them undoubtedly hold anti-Western sentiments. There is nothing more precious than life, and nobody has the right to take this from anyone else.
When I see these pictures, I can’t help but wonder how we would feel if this were happening to us. Imagine that our country had been overrun by extremists, people as bad as the Taliban, and that a foreign army subsequently launched an invasion in hopes of “liberating” us. Imagine that this foreign army routinely dropped bombs in our neighborhoods, demolishing homes and school buildings and community centers where extremists were believed to be hiding. How would we feel?
How would we feel if one of our sons or daughters happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? How would we feel knowing that we’d never again see them, never again have the joy of watching them open presents on Christmas morning or hearing them laugh with their friends? Would we chalk their death off as mere “collateral damage”? Would we feel that the bombing, so long as it also ended up killing numerous extremists, had been worth it? Obviously not.
But if it’s wrong to kill innocent Americans, then it’s wrong to kill innocent Afghans. Because people are people, and Americans are no more entitled to life than Afghans are, and vice versa.
So that’s the bottom line. War is murder. And since we know that murder is wrong, since we wouldn’t want anyone to murder our loved ones, we should speak out when other people’s loved ones are being murdered. It’s as simple as that.
Photos courtesy of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)