War has always been a prominent issue in the world since the beginning of American history. Sometimes it has served a good purpose, for example, the accomplishment of the recognition of independence for the United States in the Revolutionary War. According to Merriam-Webster, war is a “state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations”. Now, there are many reasons for war such as territorial gain, freedom, independence, and power. What is common in all war is the eventual death of soldiers, children and women. Those who are involved like soldiers are killed for the protection of their country. On the other hand, those who are not involved and are good in heart are murdered. In addition, children are abducted, and women are raped and abused. At times war is worth it for the reasons listed above such as freedom and independence. But there are times where war is not worth it and the question that needs to be asked and answered is, “What is the purpose of the war being fought and is anyone in the right to fight it?”
“A ‘war against terrorism’ is an impracticable conception if it means fighting terrorism with terrorism.”‘ This quote by John Mortimer still rings true today and summarizes the great deal of grief felt by all nations involved with the War on Terror. When people think of what’s wrong with the world today, they think of world hunger, overpopulation, pollution, lack of human compassion, murder, global warming, and war. And just because war is not commonly overlooked and obvious doesn’t make it any less important as it is the most significant problem in the world today. The war against terror impacts almost everyone and everything; it impacts the economy, families with those in uniform, civil liberties, etc. The War on Terror takes on a completely different animal compared to what is commonly associated with what’s wrong with the world. It involves many countries and this so-called War on Terror is simply one that is hypocritical and one that cannot be won. The way to win a war that cannot be won is by not starting one in the first place. Terrorism is not tangible, it is not a country, a person, or a thing. Terrorism is a tactic and ideology used to attack and instill fear into those who cannot fend for themselves. It is the most significant issue in the world today because the goals of this war were to eliminate international terrorism. But, international terrorism is something that cannot be wiped out with bombs and weapons capable of mass destruction. The blame falls on Al-Qaeda for the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center and to the United States government for initiating the War on Terror campaign. What counts as terror is defined by the United States government and media and it’s completely overlooked that the United States may be looked upon as terrorists for senseless civilian deaths and the bloodshed caused by the hands of the United States. It, being the war, is shallow and did not give the Muslim world a chance to condemn Osama Bin Laden and his ideas. The September 11 attacks have given the world a skewed image of the Muslim faith. This global problem cannot be completely fixed but countries can take the necessary precautions to make sure a war of this scale is prevented. The War on Terror is the epitome of what’s wrong with the world today because it involves many countries, is immoral, and comes at the cost of the deaths of innocent civilians.
Civilian Deaths and Decreasing Support
Killing terrorists gives terrorist groups a reason to attack the United States. But terrorist deaths aren’t the only things that aggravate terrorist groups and countries with terrorists in them. Civilian deaths due to drone strikes and the sheer presence of them gives reason for terrorists to retaliate. United States drones cover air space 24 hours a day and strike without warning. The presence of drones “terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities” (“U.S. drone attacks”). Also, drone strikes ordered by the United States have been very unsuccessful as “the number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%”‘ (“Drone strikes kill”). Basically, this states that 49 out of 50 war victims are actually terrorists. This proves that drone strikes are ineffective in killing terrorists, and the civilian casualties caused by them can create great turmoil between conflicting countries. Furthermore, why should the United States fight a war that is constantly losing the support of its own people? The support for the war, specifically in Afghanistan, has reached a new low, with only “27 percent of Americans saying they back the effort” (Gearan). In addition, “about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good” (Gearan). Not only does the presence of American troops do more harm than good, it makes it evident that “the principles of international law and the tools of multilateral action which could protect us from these attacks are being undermined, marginalized or destroyed by powerful governments” (Shah). All in all, disregarding the necessary steps to carry out a war of this magnitude causes controversy, turmoil, and the death of those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Illegal, Unethical, and Immoral
The War on Terror is not only inefficient and unnecessary, it is also illegal under the United Nations Charter as Article 2(4) explicitly states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” (“Chapter 1: Purposes and Principles”). The United States carried out this campaign by disregarding the United Nations and its purposes. Now, the purpose(s) of the United Nations are “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace” (“Chapter 1: Purposes and Principles”). The War on Terror stomps on the foundation built by the United Nations and brings terror itself. In summary, the War on Terror should not be fought because it is illegal, unethical, and immoral.
Argument and Refutation
Many proponents of the War on Terror say that by ignoring terrorists, the United States makes itself vulnerable. Also, they say that since the September 11 attacks, terrorist attacks on the United States have been extremely rare. As evidence, one of the only bombing attacks in the United States since 2001 was when Dennis Mahon sent a homemade bomb to Don Logan. Before September 11, 2001, there was the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City Bombing, and the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. The twelve years between September 11 and today is an extremely small sample size and just recently there was the Boston Marathon Bombing. The use of aggressive techniques by interrogation or drone strikes cannot kill all terrorists as it creates more of them. Aggressive killings of innocent people creates terrorists in the form of a parent, sibling, cousin, etc. War only provokes future terrorists and gives them even more reason to retaliate and to attack the world power known as the United States. Ignoring terrorists is a bad thing, but capturing those who have no proof of planning terrorist actions is also just as bad. Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States’ international image has taken a hit. The United States is seen as terrorists for initiating aggressive methods of torture and interrogation in Guantanamo Bay. Detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been imprisoned without charge and evidence of any wrongdoing. They have not been given due process and right to a fair trial because Guantanamo Bay is technically in Cuban land. This can potentially cause even more rift between cultures. How can the United States possibly continue to preach peace and the fair treatment of all if all we’re doing is taking away the rights of those who have proven to have done no wrong? Once again, an argument that may be said is that capturing those who may have been under suspicion of terrorism are now gone. The thing is, many of the people that were sent to Guantanamo “have never been charged with a crime or given any hope of a trial at which their involvement in any alleged acts of terrorism could be fairly resolved” (Sullivan). There is also the argument that Article 2(4) of the United Nations charter does not outlaw all uses of force. But, the Security Council passed a resolution claiming that all nations should take “the necessary steps to respond to terrorist attacks”. A necessary step would be to acknowledge the United Nations instead of flatly disregarding its basic principles.
The War on Terror epitomizes what’s wrong with the world today as it has taken a toll on every country involved, whether it be economically or emotionally. This campaign shouldn’t have been initiated in the first place because it simply cannot be won. This is evident in the lack of support shown by American citizens, further showing the emotional burden this war has had on all parties involved. It has come at the cost of civilian deaths for the purpose of killing terrorists, though extremely unsuccessful. Also, the United States’ international image has taken a hit because of the lack of care shown to innocent parents or children who have been killed by United States operated drone strikes. The bottom line, war is terrorism.