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United States Foreign Policy And The War On Terrorism

1622 words - 6 pages

United States Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism

In very general terms, it could be said that the United States makes foreign policy decisions based on what we hope are the best interests of its citizens. On the surface, it would appear as if this has been the case over the past several months, as the U.S. has waged its war against terrorism. If one were to penetrate this surface, however, they would see that there is much more to this conflict than meets the eye. Is Operation Enduring Freedom indeed justifiable? Most people would say yes, it is in our best interests, because our forces are fighting against an injustice, for the purposes of establishing a peaceful environment and bringing about humanitarian relief, which will ultimately deter future terrorist acts against our nation. As a matter of fact, a poll conducted by Public Agenda concluded that although most Americans agree that the U.S. should not be a global policeman, it should maintain its military powers and remain actively engaged around the world, and that one of the most effective ways of combating terrorism is through the use of military action (Public Agenda).

On the other hand, the war has devastated the civilian population of Afghanistan, with thousands of casualties caused either directly, or indirectly, by the repeated bombings and the massive starvation plaguing the region. There is a fine line separating the instances when the killing of civilians is acceptable, and when it is not. In most cases, it is not acceptable, and as American citizens, we need to have a much greater awareness of this concept. It is usually the case that most citizens in a war-torn country have done nothing to provoke an attack, and as a result, they should not have to suffer, no matter how great the atrocity was to the aggressor. At most, the number of civilian casualties should not be greater than the casualties suffered by the other state, and ideally, the number of casualties should be minimal. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in Afghanistan. The United States reacted far too quickly in declaring the war on terrorism. The Bush administration did not outline clear goals for the war, and in their haste to fight the cause, and bring justice to the American people, they completely overlooked the potential impact of their actions on non-American citizens.

A major concern regarding the war in Afghanistan is the fact that there may have been more civilian casualties as a result of bombings than there were in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The estimates vary widely, but it has been suggested that at least 4000 people have died in Afghanistan since the bombing campaigns began, although no one can come up with concrete numbers at this point. Furthermore, this is only one conflict. The same is true regarding the large number of people who have died in Iraq in the last decade, whether it was due to bombings, or because they suffered as a result of economic sanctions...

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