Keenan Singleton Audrey Warren
And so it begins
Yesterday, President George W. Bush made good on his promise to bring
the fight against terrorism to its home ground, with the launch of bomber
missile strikes against the al-Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden
and his protectors, the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.
Sunday's attack was the first military operation in a multi-pronged
effort against the worldwide threat of terrorism, in response to the Sept.
11 suicide attacks
in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania which killed more than 5,000
As Bush said in a speech announcing the attacks, "The United States
of America is a friend to the Afghan people. And we are the friends of
almost a billion
worldwide who practice the Islamic faith. (We are) an enemy of those
who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion
committing murder in its name."
The distinction is critical. In his own taped message, bin Laden said
the world is now divided between "two sides -- the side of the believers
and the side of
But he is wrong. As Muslim scholars and clerics the world over have
made clear since Sept. 11, Islam condemns the targeting of innocents in
ordering the slaughter of thousands of innocents, and doing it in the
name of Allah, bin Laden proved himself the ultimate blasphemer and infidel.
Now that the battle is joined, it is incumbent on the United States
to make certain our message to the world is clear and undiluted. We must
do what is
necessary to stamp out the terrorist organizations. At the same time,
we must do everything possible to protect civilian lives. When the Taliban
is removed, we must see that a stable, representative government that
protects its people takes its place.
In building a coalition of nations to engage the enemy, the U.S. has
stepped into a hornet's nest of complications. We have made overtures to
seek their support; this will have implications on our relationship
to India. Both Russia and China, in agreeing to back our actions in Afghanistan,
our tacit support their own battles against Muslim separatist movements.
In this potential geopolitical quagmire, we must step carefully. We
cannot abandon our deepest principles. The world must see that we are fighting
To that end, we must endeavor to capture bin Laden alive, and having
done so, we must allow him to be tried before an international body, such
World Court in The Hague, Netherlands. If and when he is legitimately
found guilty of the heinous acts of Sept. 11, we will be able to show the
steadfast belief in justice, not vengeance.