I’m not a pacifist, but I abhor war. For the past decade, in the pursuit of justice for the 2977 innocent souls murdered on September 11th, 2001, we have been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. We didn’t declare war with Afghanistan or Iraq, rather we have been waging war within their borders against groups associated with 9/11 perpetrators. These 10 years have suffered 6,494 U.S. Forces deaths, 1,357 Coalition deaths, and very conservative estimates of well over 100,000 enemy combatants and 150,000 Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani civilian deaths. War is hell in every sense of the word.
After leading soldiers in many battles, General Douglas MacArthur declared, “I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.” President and General Dwight Eisenhower said, ” After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.” And our own former President Jimmy Carter said, “War may sometimes be a necessary evil, but no matter how necessary, it is always an evil never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”
Tyrants and tyranny must be resisted, but the numbers say that the prosecution of war with its dispositions, devices and industries, are plaguing the innocent more so than the guilty. ‘Collateral damage’ not only assaults the innocent in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but also our own societal sense of decency and humanity. And where does the ‘collateral’ siege end? It is reported, that 146 of our troops committed suicide in the first 148 days of this year, and a staggering 45% of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for multiple service related injuries and ailments. War is hell.
Yet, we hoard a strange affinity and pride in “the rockets’ red glare and the bombs bursting in air”. We must find a way to rise beyond the glories and sorrows of wars past, preserving the dignity and sacrifice of the fallen, yet forging forth towards a World Patriotism that values every human life with great regard, worth, and kinship. Criminals should be confronted and held accountible, but the age of war has died and it’s time to give it a proper burial.
Submitted by Imam Plemon El-Amin