In a Moment, Lives Get Blown Apart

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
— Mohandas K. Gandhi

After reading In a Moment, Lives Get Blown Apart by Anthony Shadid, I have major mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m proud to live in a country where people are willing to join the armed forces, fight, and often lose their lives, to protect our country and our freedom. I’m honored to know that we have people who will stand up after terrorist attacks to go out and ensure that violence of that scale doesn’t happen in our country again. However, in insuring that violence doesn’t happen again in America, we are directing the violence elsewhere. Is America any better for bombing an innocent neighborhood in Iraq than Al-Qaeda was for flying airplanes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Centers? It’s a hard question to answer. I’m glad that our military protects and serves our country. But if everyone could just not raise their hand in violence to our brothers and sisters, then there would be no need for bombs to be dropped. We’re supposed to turn the other cheek. All major religions have some basic principal about “treat others the way you would want to be treated.” Americans stereotypically consider all Muslims terrorists, and react with violence whenever they see someone wearing a hijab. The Iraqis consider all Americans “bombers” who are out to unfairly hurt their families. Stereotypes are a dangerous thing, and attitudes like that, on both sides, prevent peace.

I can see both sides of the argument, but that doesn’t make it any easier to decide who is right or who is wrong. Do we kill innocent people overseas to save the lives of innocent people in our own country? Do we respond to violence with more violence? Do we have a choice? Benjamin Franklin said “There was never a good war or a bad peace.” I think he was exactly right. After we found out that there were no weapons of mass destruction, did we still have the right to intervene?

This article both hurt and shocked me. Usually whenever you hear of Americans dropping bombs in the Middle East, you assume it was for good reason and it was directed to the bad guys. You never want to think of the American military dropping a bomb on a neighborhood, killing fourteen people and injuring thirty more. I don’t want to imagine young Iraqi children picturing Americans as the bad guys… But who’s to say that we’re not. It’s a matter of opinion, and an opinion is a unique thing that everyone is entitled to.

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