Losing control with the bombs bursting in air

Watching scenes of war on CNN last week, something made me lose my sense of security. It wasn’t the footage of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, repeated on network TV like some sort of Clockwork Orange treatment, nor was it the recent anthrax-caused mail room panic. But I’m having this eerie sense of losing control.

There was a tremendous loss of innocence after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Reading about terrorism in countries such as Israel is one thing, but seeing it on our own shores is another. But as horrifying as the thought of another attack is, there is something else that makes me feel like I am not in control of things anymore.

As this country continues to accelerate our campaign to attack and hunt down terrorists, I feel like our response is what is getting increasingly out of control.

We were shocked by scenes of people emerging from the rubble in Manhattan. Attacking innocent victims was a cowardly and reprehensible act, one for which its perpetrators should be punished.

Fast-forward one month, and I feel like those same scenes are being repeated overseas. Americans are causing — with such a sustained and deadly bombing campaign — what will surely be a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, killing thousands of people. And even if we may not be hitting many civilian targets, we certainly are causing a refugee crisis. Aid agencies are not able to get food into remote areas of the country because truck drivers are understandably afraid of getting hit by missiles, and food supplies for the winter are going to be dangerously low.

Some people justify the bombing by saying that because of Afghanistan’s history of war and poverty, our bombing campaign can’t really do that much damage. But just because someone is on the ground doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to kick them.

All of these precision-guided missile attacks and special forces operations seem cool, but they still haven’t answered what should be a fundamental question: How is the fact that innocent people are dying going to stop people from developing the hate for this country that could they could use to justify another terrorist attack?

I am not so naive as to think that our country shouldn’t respond to the senseless acts perpetrated against us, and as much as I would love to bring the terrorists to justice in some sort of courtroom proceeding, I feel that is just more wishful thinking. Also, it seems completely plausible that a percentage of the people affected by our bombings are connected with the people that attacked the United States. But the harsh reality is that innocent people are going hungry and being displaced because of what this country has labeled a “just” response to terrorism.

I can’t claim to have a better solution to this problem than any of the politicians, nor can I say that I really know anything about war. Maybe all of these innocent people being driven from their homes is just the unfortunate price of waging war. But I thought that after we had suffered such devastation, this battle would be one that was framed around the concept of justice, that the bravery of those who risked their lives saving people in New York would be honored. As things keep progressing like this, I don’t know what to think anymore.