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Logic of Bombing German Civilian Infrastructure in World War II Not Applicable to bin Laden in Afghanistan

September 18, 2001

Those of us strongly opposing the bombing of the civilian infrastructure of Afghanistan or any other country are often met by the argument that "we did it in World War II against the Germans."

The situations are not analogous.

In World War II the United States was fighting the standing multi-million man German army.  The civilian population of Germany provided the men for that army, grew the food to feed that army, make the guns, planes and other weapons that army used to fight with, and through taxes provided the funds that army used to purchase anything else it needed.

So destroying the civilian infrastructure of German could at least be said to have been directly related to cutting off the German army's supply of men, food, weapons and everything else it needed to survive.

Afghanistan Situation Not Like World War II

In the case of Afghanistan, the opposite is true.  Bin Laden's "troops" don't by and large come from the Afghan population, but from other Arab countries.  Bin Laden's money doesn't come from taxes paid to the Afghan government; rather, bin Laden is himself wealthy, and his group also receives funds from individual contributors from countries outside of Afghanistan.  Afghan factories certainly don't manufacture the weapons that bin Laden purchases.

So destroying the civilian infrastructure of Afghanistan would not have anything to do with cutting off bin Laden's source of personnel,  weapons or money.

Assuming bin Laden purchases his food locally, destroying the civilian infrastructure could, if it produced widespread starvation in Afghanistan, reduce bin Laden's food supply.

But as discussed yesterday in evaluating Bill O'Reilly's call to starve the Afghan population to force them to overthrow their government, such a course of action would constitute terrorism by our country: targeting civilians for injury or death in order to further our political goals.

That would bring us down to bin Laden's level, and forfeit our claim to moral superiority in our campaign against him.

There are legitimate diplomatic and military ways to bring down bin Laden, and those are the ones that we should employ, not killing innocent Afghan civilians.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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