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Comprehension != Justification

Published by marco on

One response I’ve seen to these examinations of U.S. foreign policy is this letter in the Newsday:

<q>…Sheryl McCarthy and Jerry Falwell both agree that the United States brought disaster on itself. While Falwell says this is a punishment from God for our having become so secular, thus making the murderers agaents of God’s will, McCarthy sees this as the inevitable retribution for our national hubris and for having a foreign policy that is in our own best interests. This type of fuzzy thinking only gives aid and comfort to our enemies, helping to provide a justification for their heinous acts. The murder of civilians and the destruction of property as indiscriminate acts of terror must never be condoned or explained as having a rational basis. To do so legitimizes terror as a tool of policy.</q><br><br>Charles A. Hollander<br>Fresh Meadows

This is unfortunately a mistake that will be made often. It is important to notice the difference between understanding why something happened (or was done) and believing that it was justified. It would be nice if more members of our government were concerned with reasons why, rather than charging out with policies engineered to give millions of more people reasons to attack the U.S. I agree that “[t]he murder of civilians and the destruction of property…must never be condoned…”, but I believe it’s important to determine the “rational basis” in order to prevent it from happening again.

Comparing her article, which is an examination of actual facts that contributed to the attack, to Falwell’s statements, which are his opinions that God is angry with us (even though the alleged attackers don’t even believe in the same God he does) is not right. Understanding reasons is not believing its justified, it’s simply a rational approach to prevention. How do you prevent this type of tragedy without knowing why it occurred? Well, there’s always killing every person who hates America or might come to hate America enough to attack it. But, that’s kind of a losing battle. We’ve tried that. It just creates more people who hate America, who can’t seem to be killed fast enough.