American Occupation of Terror

“One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin American acts of war have directly resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and human rights violations, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hatred and anger of the peoples of the Middle East is understandable; we have destroyed more lives and livelihoods than can reasonably be measured, and forced upon many nations a regime which feels it can use its stated ends to justify a brutal means. Yet it is accepted as selfevident that we are fighting irrational and un-justified terrorism; that those planting the roadside bombs and ambushing our soldiers in foreign lands are not enemy soldiers, but something fundamentally different. Does the fact that we have better technology, training and numbers serve as a justification for our actions? No, it does not. This is not a new or radical view. Our own war for independence was itself fought using unconventional means to the complaints of a larger, bettertrained army. Yet we now understand the violent acts of our forefathers against the British to be wholly justified. We find ourselves in a similar position in Iraq. While we cry foul of the tactics at our enemies, they have no other means by which they can resist our forces, and may ultimately be deemed justified in using the only tactics that they have at their disposal to do so. While terrorist acts that target civilians may not be warranted, neither may we regard the vast collateral damage produced by our military as acceptable. Callous disregard of the lives of innocents of foreign na-tions, I would argue, is just as evil as their being intentionally targeted. It fails to recognize their worth as human beings, and implies that they deserve none of our consideration when going to war. It is vital that we understand this. All war is horrible and tragic, and although we are losing many of our own fine men and women in battle, so too are the people of the nations that our armies invade. One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom-fighter.