I very much enjoyed reading Mr. Travis Atria’s letter to the editor that appeared in Friday’s edition of the paper. While his comments were very eloquently expressed they were nonetheless no more in the right than any other item graced by his exceptional crafting of the written word. In any event I feel it both appropriate and necessary to counter his arguments lest someone get the mistaken impression that he has silenced me with his singular wit.
The conflict we presently find ourselves embroiled in does not fall into neat boundaries like past conflicts. The enemy is not a state or even a well-defined army of Barbary Pirates. This enemy is a loose confederation of terrorist groups and a few national governments that are sympathetic to our destruction. While it is not easy to identify a terrorist, we know that Iraq is one of the national governments that provide logistical support to the hombres malo who carry out murder in the name of God. It is irrelevant whether the aircraft in question were piloted by Mohamed Atta’s group or Saddam Hussein himself; it’s all part of the same element. It is no less appropriate for September 11th to be used to justify attacking Iraq then it was for the sinking of the Lusitania to be used as partial justification for declaring war on Imperial Germany.
Congress is authorizing President Bush to take action in Iraq only as it applies to Iraq itself as well as the immediate theater of operations. He is not being given unrestrained power to invade any nation thought to be developing weapons of mass destruction; that would acquire additional authorization from congress.
Finally, Mr. Atria’s final point is a pacifist’s argument against war in general. While it is indeed a tragic reality that many people will die in this war should it occur, we cannot allow that to deter us from doing what is necessary to protect our nation and its interests. If we had not moved against the Taliban (who I remind you did not fly in those planes either) because of the potential Afghan civilian deaths, we’d still be sitting here debating how best to respond to September 11th.