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The Daily Tar Heel

Criticism of American Policy in Afghanistan Fundamentally Flawed

As firm believers in the constitutional right of free speech, we respect Dr. Walsh's criticism regarding America's policy in Afghanistan. However, her assertion that the United States and its allies are unjustified in bombing "starving, war-ravaged civilians" is fundamentally flawed.

First, her comments misrepresent the intentions of the U.S. government and the events in Afghanistan. The strikes are not directed at the civilian population, nor are they aimed solely at Osama bin Laden, as Dr. Walsh implies, for killing him would not end the epidemic of terrorist violence.

Rather, they target the ruling coalition of Afghanistan, which nurtures terrorist activity. The Taliban regime has encouraged al-Qaeda to operate and train within its borders and, as such, is complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dr. Walsh rightly points out that U.S. sanctions on Iraq have not had the desired effect of destabilizing Saddam Hussein's regime. However, if America does not respond militarily, what option does this leave? The Taliban's unwillingness to engage in diplomacy has left no acceptable alternative. Clearly, the terrorists will not stop and listen to reason. Inaction will breed further violence, because terrorists will interpret such behavior as a sign of weakness.

Finally, the raids are specific in nature and are directed against the military instillations of the Taliban regime.

Inevitably, some civilians will be killed, and though it is tragic, the consequences of inaction will prove much more costly in the future. Indecision in the wake of the Kobar Towers and U.S.S. Cole attacks fostered an environment in which terrorists not only felt justified in their behavior, but one in which they did not feel vulnerable to retaliation.

Dan Morris
Economics and Political Science

Will Tadros
Economics and Mathematics

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