Alternatives to War, Continued

Earlier today I wrote about View From the Heart’s post. I’m so opposed to war as the means to resolve this terrorist situation; however, many feel differently, and it seems that we’ll be going to war despite any of us who oppose more violence. Given that, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching.

Prior to September 11, my concerns were certainly elsewhere. I was (and remain) concerned about my elderly father and his failing health, being a parent of two children, running my web design business, and other typical daily life things. My thoughts were not at all on how to resolve terrorism in the world. The next morning changed everything, though.

In seeking answers for myself about what could work as an alternative to war, I read an article today by David Held, Violence and justice in a global age. Here’s a quote from it:

The founding principles of our society, the very principles under attack on 11th September, dictate that we pause for reflection; that we do not overgeneralise our response from one moment and one set of events; that we do not jump to conclusions based on concerns that emerge in one particular country; and that we do not re-write and re-work history from one place.

The fight against terror must be put on a new footing. There can be no going back to the haphazard and complacent approach to terrorism of 10th September. Terrorists must be bought to heel and those who protect and nurture them must be bought to account. Zero tolerance is fully justified in these circumstances. Terrorism negates our most cherished principles and ambitions.

But any defensible, justifiable and sustainable response to the 11th September must be consistent with our founding principles and the aspirations of international society for security, law, and the impartial administration of justice—aspirations painfully articulated after the Holocaust and the Second World War. If the means deployed to fight terrorism contradict these principles, then the emotion of the moment might be satisfied, but our mutual vulnerability will be deepened. We will be set on yet another step backwards from a more secure and just world order. This could easily involve the growth of intolerance of all attempts to protest over and change political circumstances, even if they are law abiding and peaceful in their orientations.

David Held continues by providing an alternative to war via the creation of a commission that would be empowered to investigate and find justice, calling for the criminalization of terrorism instead of recourse. (See his article for details.) Could his ideas or at least something like this work? Is this a realistic approach? Is the world so used to picking up guns and bombs that nothing else is possible? Are we really forced to fight violence with more violence?

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Categories: Personal, Sept 11 Attacks

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