When made with unsavory ingredients, a meal can only reflect the quality of its creation. So it is with Mr. Heath’s Sept. 19 letter to the editor. While Mr. Heath’s candor is to be applauded, I found his servings distasteful.By urging us to reflect on how the “Taliban and bin Laden came into existence,” Mr. Heath would have us believe that the U.S. has no right to wage a war on terrorism. Such an argument is absurd. Are we to lock up the parents of criminals alongside criminals themselves?
It is Heath’s opinion that Afghanistan shouldn’t be held accountable for bin Laden’s actions. If Mr. X pays Mr. Y money to kill Mr. Z, isn’t Mr. X just as guilty as Mr. Y? And so it is with Afghanistan. We’re talking about a country that officially condones terrorism, provides financial assistance to terrorists, and allows land to be used explicitly for the training of terrorists. The Taliban has refused to meet President Bush’s fair demands. The notion that the Taliban is not “responsible for the attacks” cannot be taken seriously.
Moreover, Mr. Heath professes that American retaliation will lead to increased resentment of the U.S. If by this we are to understand a people who would wage war on the United States, his argument is moot.
Both will and means are required to wage war. Osama bin Laden is directly responsible for attacks on American embassies, warships, and cities. No American bombs caused bin Laden to do these things; the mere existence of the U.S. was sufficient provocation. Such hatred cannot be appeased. To continue on our former course of ignoring bin Laden’s assault on the U.S. is to resign American citizens to unprecedented fear and danger without end. To fight back is to eliminate bin Laden’s means to carry out his war on Americans.
The war on terrorism is not a war being carried out at some distance from American interests. This war is being carried out because [four] planes, hijacked by bin Laden’s minions, killed thousands of American civilians. Like the sinking of the Lusitania or the bombing of Pearl Harbor, war has been brought upon us. We must fight. The taste of security is worth it.