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October 17, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 17, 2001



Zbe £iktigutu &aillg

daily. letters@umich.edu

. SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

(( Arafat's
relationship with
Hamas and Islamic
Jihad may be more
complicated, but in
the end no less
intimate than that
between the Taliban
and bin Laden."
- Staff editorial in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post,
drawing comparisons between the Taliban's
sponsoring of bin Laden and Arafat's
sponsoring of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

/ A
V . 4:
r' V





Millions of Afghan lives or one life in Terre Haute?

ight now, the sug-
gestion that the
United States
should immediately cease its
military strikes in
Afghanistan and enter into
good faith negotiations with
the Taliban is not likely to
be taken very seriously. You
have to be kidding! The Tal-
iban will only hand Osama
bin Laden over under the most unacceptable
conditions (i.e. they'll demand that he is tried
under Islamic law, etc.).
But if these naysayers would only step back
from their unilateralist stance for a moment and
think about the potential consequences qf
George W. Bush ruling out any type of negotia-
tions (including prosecuting bin Laden and his
associates under Islamic law), they might just be
willing to accept the "unacceptable."
Right now, the U.S. is headed on a course
that will end up avenging the senseless deaths of
thousands of Americans by senselessly starving
hundreds of thousands or even millions of
Afghan refugees to death. In fact, as of tomor-
row, the World Food Program estimates that
400,000 people in Afghanistan's Faryab
province will have completely depleted their
food supplies.
Bush's food drops to the Afghan people -
vigorously criticized in the European press -
won't even make a dent in the problem and may
even exacerbate it. International hunger relief
organizations have said that ground transporta-
tion is the best way to deliver the mass quantities
of food it will take to feed the 7.5 million
Afghans the United Nations estimates require
immediate food assistance.
However, by mid-November heavy snowfall
will block key mountain passes, making food
delivery significantly less efficient. The emerg-
ing scenario could be nothing short of nightmar-
ish. Mary Robinson, the UN chief human rights

official, has called for a suspension of the attacks
so that relief agencies could assist the 2 million
Afghans who will starve or freeze to death if aid
does not reach them before winter. To put the
emerging man-made disaster in perspective, Ray
Jordan, relief director for the for the Irish agency
GOAL told the Seattle Times on Friday that
"while hostilities continue, the (Afghan) people
are going to starve... The world could be look-
ing at the worst humanitarian tragedy since the
Rwanda genocide of 1994."
At the risk of drawing an inappropriate anal-
ogy, I think we would do well to remember what
happened when the U.S. demanded Japan's
unconditional surrender in 1945. Howard Zinn,
in "A People's History of the United States"
argues compellingly that: "If only the Americans
had not insisted on unconditional surrender -
that is, if they were willing to accept one condi-
tion to the surrender, that the Emperor, a holy
figure to the Japanese, remain in place - the
Japanese would have agreed to stop the war."
But the Japanese didn't surrender unconditional-
ly, so we murdered more than 100,000 civilians
in Hiroshima with an atom bomb. Three days
later, the U.S. hit Nagasaki - an unjustifiable
and unforgivable atrocity by any half-cogent
moral standard.
It might hurt our unelected president's feel-
ings to be forced into making a few concessions
to the unelected religious fanatics who rule
Afghanistan. Too bad. In light of the horrifying
alternative, that's just something America will
have to live with if it is to keep the blood of
thousands or even millions of innocents off of its
collective hands. Moral considerations aside,
however, it still makes sense to enter into good
faith negotiations with the Taliban to have bin
Laden brought to justice.
Not even the most Machiavellian right-wing
American policy maker will deny that the U.S.-
led attacks have seriously inflamed already
strong anti-American sentiments throughout the
Muslim world - especially among fundamen-

talist Muslims opposed to Arab and/or Islamic
governments friendly to the United States. Thus,
attacking Afghanistan destalilizes key strategic
regions and invigorates a potentially violent anti-
American sentiment in who-knows-how-many
radical young Muslim men all over the world.
That is not exactly a prescription for a safer
So what sensible alternative is there to con-
tinuing U.S. military action until the Taliban
totally capitulates? First, the U.S. needs to stop
insisting that bin Laden is tried in a U.S. court -
this will only (rightly) arouse international suspi-
cions (especially in the Islamic world) that bin
Laden will get a show trial.
The best alternative would be for the U.S. to
cease its opposition to the proposed International
Criminal Court and try bin Laden in that setting.
Another strong possibility, proposed by Anne-
Marie Slaughter in Friday's Financial Times,
would be to create an international tribunal that
recognizes and incorporates Islamic law. Such a
tribunal would restore a sense of legitimacy to
the proceedings in the Islamic world and proba-
bly make Islamic countries with powerfil funda-
mentalist elements more likely to hand over
suspected terrorists. The last possibility, though
far from ideal, would be to accept the Taliban's
offer to hand bin Laden over to a neutral country
and simply try him there under Islanic law. It is
foolish and ethnocentric to assume that because
bin Laden is Muslim, he will be let off or even
punished less severely by an Islamic court.
All of these are options the U.S. needs to
start considering immediately. Mid-November is
rapidly approaching, and thousands or even mil-
lions of Afghan lives are at stake. We should not
be willing to make a trade-off between a pre-
ventable human catastrophe on one hand and
executing bin Laden in Terre Haute, Ind. on
Nick Woomer can be reached via
e-mail at nwoomer@umich.edu.




We are fighting a just war

Albright deliberately deceptive

Former secretary of state, Madeline K.
Albright, delivered the William K. McInal-
ly Memorial Lecture last night. The event
was held at the Hale Auditorium at the
Business School under heavy security, and
in a controlled environment. After her
speech, she opened the floor for a question-
and-answer period, or as she called it, a
"lively discussion."
Since in her talk Albright referred to the
ineffectiveness of sanctions on Pakistan,
she was asked about the failure of the sanc-
tions imposed on Iraq. In response, she
blamed the Iraqi leadership for the death of
over a million people in Iraq.
Among the multitude of lies, half-truths,
and misrepresentations offered by the for-
mer secretary of state, some were easy to
refute. For instance, to see the emptiness of
her claims about America's cooperation
with United Nation's humanitarian aid to
Iraq, one needs only consider the resigna-
tion letters of two U.N. humanitarian coor-
dinators for Iraq, Denis Halliday (resigned
October 1998) and Hans Von Sponeck
(resigned February 2000). Even the U.N.
secretary general, Kofi Annan, publicly
criticized Washington's "refusal to ease
economic sanctions." (The Washington
Post, Oct. 25, 1999)
A more subtle half-truth presented by
Albright was her reference to the use of
chemical weapons by the Iraqi military
against the Kurdish population of Iraq.
What she failed to say was that these atroci-
ties took place 'between 1984 and 1987,
during the Iran-Iraq war. American support
for the Iraqi military during this period is

well documented in a broad range of
sources. The list even includes the book
"Ally to Adversary," the autobiography of
Rick Francona, an American intelligence
officer. Reports of Iraq's use of chemical
weapons in the mainstream
American media were barely visible
during this period. For example, there were
only four stories in The New York Times
between 1984 and 1987 with references to
such crimes, all buried within the back
pages of the newspaper.
In 1991, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait,
the American government and media sud-
denly became interested in Saddam Hus-
sein's crimes of the past without
questioning the role of American intelli-
gence officers and multi-national corpora-
tions in. helping the Iraqi military during
those years.
This leaves any critical mind no choice
but to think that her half-truths are a delib-
erate attempt to deceive the public. The
question facing the University community
now is: do we want to accept, as a profes-
sor, an individual with such capacity for
lying, and such utter disregard for human
suffering? Moreover, her simple-minded
and distorted arguments indicate her lack of
respect for the University audience's
knowledge of world affairs and American
foreign policy. That's why we feel the urge
to show our dissatisfaction with her pres-
ence on the campus of University of Michi-
Javidi and Motedaven-Aval are both graduate
students in the electrical engineering and
computer science department. Motedayen-
Aval is on the board of the Persian Students'
Association. Javidi is a member of Campus
Greens and the Persian Students Association.

The terrorist attacks on September 11, and
the subsequent military response by the United
States and the United Kingdom, have raised
questions about the appropriate use of military
force in international relations. Unfortunately,
most of the discussion seems mired in arguments
advocating attacks either for revenge or to punish
those responsible or stalled in arguments against
the use of force that seem stuck in either naive
pacifism or an automatic anti-Americanism of
the far political left. Regardless of which side of
the debate over the use of force one is on, how-
ever, a common thread is the use of the term
"justice." We hear that the use of force is justi-
fied, that the United States must seek justice, or
that the use of military force cannot be just, espe-
cially if civilians are harmed. And in listening to
the cacophony of debate arising around the war
against Afghanistan and the al-Queda terrorist
network it has become clear to me that a vast.
majority of individuals have little understanding
of the concept of justice with regards to the use
of military power.
But a specific framework for understanding
the conditions under which the use of military
force is morally just does exist, and examining
this framework can, I believe, provide a posi-
tion from which we can begin to determine
from a more sophisticated and less emotional
viewpoint the appropriateness of the war we
find ourselves now waging. But before turning
to the specific conditions of a just war, I should
lay my cards on the table. I fully support the
military action underway and would support
even a broader campaign against other states or
terrorist organizations that have supported or
undertaken acts of terror against American or
allied targets. And I believe my position is con-
sistent with the restrictions of just war.
Just war theory is comprised of two parts:
jus ad bellum, the justice of going to war, and
jus in bello, the norms governing the use of
force during war. For a military conflict to be
considered just, both the conditions governing
going to war and the norms limiting the con-
duct of war must be met. There are six condi-

Damaged tanks left by Soviet Troops are seen on this photo made near the town of Termez,
Uzbekistan, some 5 kilometers from the Afghan-Uzbek border.

of attrition cannot be justified; the goals and
means pursued or utilized must be proportionate.
. Last resort - a state must exhaust all
peaceful means of resolving a conflict before ini-
tiating the use of force.
. Reasonable hope of success - a war that is
unlikely to achieve its limited goals is immoral.
The conditions for jus in bello are:
. Discrimination -- every effort must be
made to discriminate between combatants and
non-combatants, and to minimize civilian casual-
ties; deliberate and direct attacks against civilian
targets not permitted.
Proportionality - to remain morally justi-
fied, the minimum level of violence to achieve
the limited aims of the war must be used; indis-
criminate destruction is not permitted.
With the possible exception of last resort, it
is always possible to claim that one more diplo-
matic or political effort could be made; the war
now underway in Afghanistan clearly meets the
conditions of jus ad bellum. United States and
allied military strikes are designed both to right
a grievous wrong, the support for terrorism
directed against civilians, and deter future
attacks. The United States government has the

had any chance of working and the several
weeks of activity between 11 September and
the onset of the war do indicate that the United
States did allow a reasonable period of time for
non-military efforts to be made. And I would
argue that the United States and allied forces
have a more than reasonable hope of success,
given the isolation of the Taliban regime and
their poor military capabilities.
This war is also being conducted within the
restrictions of just in bello. The use of "smart"
munitions where possible and the provision of
humanitarian aid, along with the avoidance of
indiscriminate raids on built-up urban areas,
demonstrate the clear concern the United States
and the United Kingdom have with how this
war is fought. And while some civilians have
been killed, and it is likely that more will die as
the conflict continues, this does not violate the
condition of discrimination. Just war theory
requires that efforts be made to minimize civil-
ian casualties while recognizing that such loss-
es are inevitable in any large-scale use of
military force.
From the conditions put forth by just war
theory the justified nature of this war can clear-


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