Date: 2011-06-12 08:12 pm (UTC)

"All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing".

Osama bin Laden was an evil man. He was a general actively leading a war against us, not a symbolic figure. Preventing him from doing this was a moral imperative, and it remains a moral imperative to stop the others who are carrying on his work. (And one reason this *will* help is that US forces seized his hard drive.)

These people aren't imaginary; it's not safe to ignore them. This war isn't about revenge, it's about stopping evil people from destroying good people. We didn't start the war; we can't end it unilaterally; and refusing to fight would mean accepting our own destruction and the destruction of many other innocent people.

I don't want anyone innocent to be harmed, and neither do those who set policy. I wish we knew how to fight evil without harming any innocent people, because as you've said, they're just as dead whether they were killed on purpose or by accident. But it's not just the innocent people we've killed who matter. The guilty people we've captured and/or killed also matter -- not for revenge, but because of all the people who are alive and free as a result of this.

There have been no more successful large-scale terrorist attacks within the United States. That's not because our enemies have changed their minds; it's because they are being forcibly prevented from killing us. The lives that have been saved can't be tallied up in the way that deaths can be, but they matter. We are not fighting for revenge; we are fighting for those lives.

There are also thousands of people who haven't been killed because Saddam Hussein was unable to re-develop chemical weapons and never obtained nuclear weapons. If Israel had not bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor, if the first invasion had not happened, if there had been no sanctions and inspections, if there had been no invasion when Saddam Hussein stopped complying with the inspections -- at least thousands more people would be dead, and millions more would live in constant fear of their lives. Those people matter too. As do people who haven't been killed by the terrorists who Saddam Hussein is no longer supporting.

There are also Iraqis who are no longer living under Saddam Hussein. There are Afghans no longer living under the Taliban. Those people are important too. Considering only those who have been killed by the invading allies makes it sound like ceasing to fight would be good for citizens of countries we've invaded, but it would actually allow evil people to oppress and murder them. There is much that still needs to be done in order to secure the present and future of Iraq and Afghanistan. Giving up the fight now would be a major betrayal of those people.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a substantive list.
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