On Sept 11: Open Letter to University Students

by | Oct 18, 2001

The events of September 11 have been the primary subject of discussion on college campuses across America. A patriotic fervor has been revived, with flags popping up in virtually every yard and on every car. However, after reading the editorials that appeared in last week’s school paper, I am afraid that many people do not […]

The events of September 11 have been the primary subject of discussion on college campuses across America. A patriotic fervor has been revived, with flags popping up in virtually every yard and on every car. However, after reading the editorials that appeared in last week’s school paper, I am afraid that many people do not have an adequate understanding of the issues and principles involved in these events.

First, any military action is a matter of national defense, not revenge or criminal justice. Osama bin Laden should be brought to justice, but the larger issue is the terrorist network that has the complete annihilation of the United States and its people as its explicit goal. The events of September 11 show that these terrorists are willing and able to kill any number of people, military and civilian, to reach that goal. If we are not willing to confront these forces with military power, we only invite further violence against our nation.

One military strike, even if it were successful in eliminating bin Laden, would not resolve the problem. This attack is the work of a foreign government. The removal of states harboring and sponsoring terrorists is necessary to ensure that we can live free from further assault. By supporting the actions of terrorists, the governments in question become culpable and equally responsible with the terrorists themselves. Like it or not, the war was declared on us by more than one government, making this a war and not a police action.

Secondly, I would like to address specific concerns that have been raised by my fellow students. One concern is that U.S. economic policy has been a driving force in motivating terrorists such as bin Laden, but Bin Laden is not concerned with U.S. industry or the exploitation of workers in third world countries. He has made no demands of us apart from our deaths. Capitalism is one part of America that he hates, but it is far from the only part. Terrorists such as bin Laden hate the freedom that we enjoy in our everyday lives, our freedom of thought and our freedom to choose a religion, even a sect of religion, that is different from their own. The discussions taking place in this newspaper could not happen in a territory under the control of bin Laden and his thugs. His radical form of Islam will not compromise with freedom, and we should not compromise our freedom by waiting any longer.

Students, admirably enough, are also concerned about the innocent people that may die in this war. This is a legitimate concern, although it does not negate our right to self-defense. The world forces that have united to fight this battle must take all reasonable precautions to see that civilians are not primary targets, but reality dictates that some innocents may very well be caught in the crossfire. During WWII, there were many civilian losses, often due to imprecise bombing methods, but in the end, the removal of a Nazi regime outweighed the losses.

Only a true pacifist will argue that a person does not have any right to self-defense, and I would argue that there are not any true pacifists. They are all dead or enjoying the protection of those who are not pacifists. To follow their creed would bring the death of America, its citizens and ideals. I hope proclaimed pacifists understand that the land of the free was gained by those brave enough to fight for freedom. This does not justify taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but it does justify utter destruction of the enemy regimes. There is no way to guarantee that our bullets will not hit non-combatants, especially since terrorists and terrorist governments hide behind them. The deaths of civilians are the moral responsibility of those who started this war. They started it, I remind you, by killing as many American civilians as they could. Do not misconstrue this as giving a wrong for a wrong received. This is a casualty of a war that they chose to wage.

The most frustrating argument that I have heard is that the terrorists’ ideas are just as valid as ours and we should take those ideas into consideration. Is it not possible to say that some ideas are more valid than others? Nazism and communism are contrary to the fundamental principles of human nature. Americans were willing to fight against the practice of these terrible theories. As a free country we allow discussion and allow people to live here who oppose our principles, but when anyone is willing use force to impose their tyrannical views, we do not have to bow down. This republic has been worth the lives of many Americans in the past…and it still is. Now that military strikes have begun, it is more important than ever to show your support. I urge those on this campus and those around the nation to organize demonstrations of support for our right to self-defense.

I am not calling for war on the grounds that I want to see people die. I am calling us all to arm ourselves, morally as well as militarily, against those who do want people to die. I want my children to enjoy the safety and freedom that my forefathers, you, and I have enjoyed. These men are not freedom fighters; they are too cowardly to fight, and their end is anything but freedom.

— Casie Leach is a student at Ashland University.

Casie Leach is a student at Ashland University.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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