EDITORIAL: Military response necessary and proper

Timothy Schmidt

The Lawrence community and the nation are still discussing the events of Sept. 11—as well they should. What happened on that day stands as a defining moment in recent history. Passions are running high, as a glance at the wall in the Memorial Union devoted to student reaction shows. There are some scribblings that suggest that we should “bomb them all,” which is clearly inappropriate and uncalled for. Some of those with cooler heads have been recently suggesting that the United States should not attack the Taliban, as we have been for the past few weeks.I submit, however, that a military response is proper and necessary. The United States waited for a month before striking back, demanding that the Taliban turn over Osama bin Laden and his minions. When there was no adequate response, the United States and the world community needed to show that mass murderers will not go unpunished. This war is not being waged to make the Afghan people suffer, but rather to destroy the ruling Taliban. President Bush made a point of this through risking the lives of American troops in order to drop food packages to those displaced out of fear of bombing.

To those who disagree with our current actions, I ask you: What should our response be? Should we sit on our hands and not respond to the terrorists that killed thousands and made millions live in fear? I agree whole-heartedly that we should not target civilians and do whatever possible to spare the lives of the innocent. But when the inevitable casualties come, it should be the Taliban that is blamed for the consequences, not the United States. There was an act of war against our nation, and we are responding by eliminating the government that protects the terrorist organization that brought it upon us.

As Jonathan Alter puts it in his recent article in Newsweek, “Blame America at your peril.” At times, there seems to be a lingering suspicion among some in the left that any military action by the United States is automatically suspect. But there should be no doubt any longer—we are not in a Cold War age, with the CIA versus some communist threat, real or perceived. We have been attacked, and those responsible must be brought to justice.