Afghan war justi

Afghan war justi - On the Afghanistan War Talal Asad Today...

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1 On the Afghanistan War Talal Asad Today there are numerous incidents of suicide bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, but they get very little emotional response in the Western media now that they are no longer targeting Euro-Americans or Israelis. Bush’s “Global War On Terror” has been replaced by wars claimed to be at once necessary and humane. The invasion of Afghanistan has been described by many people – and especially by President Obama – as “a war of necessity.” It is not clear, however, in what sense this is so. It was certainly a response to the terrorist attack on September 11 th , the most horror filled incident of suicide bombing on record. But what made it necessary ? Was it an act of self-defense? And is necessity the beginning of a just war ? In what follows I want to argue (1) that the invasion was not strictly necessary to its declared objective of self-defense but must be explained in entirely different terms, (2) that the war’s conduct cannot be separated from how its cause was formulated, and (3) that the distinction between war and peace on which the idea of “just war” depends no longer makes sense. Those who insisted (and still insist) that Afghanistan was a necessary war said that the Taliban government protecting Bin Laden and refusing to yield him up to the US had to be overthrown. Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization had attacked the US without provocation and it therefore constituted a serious threat to the peace and safety of the American people (some said of the world). Both he and his terrorist base in Afghanistan must consequently be destroyed together with the Taliban. However, in the flood of rhetoric about Islam and terrorism in the Euro-American media some relevant information was marginalized. In fact Bin Laden at first had denied he had any responsibility for the terrorist assaults. “I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons,” Bin Laden’s statement said on September 17. “I have been living in the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan and following its leader’s rules. The current leader does not allow me to exercise such operations.” There was an alleged interview in late October (and alleged written statements) that claimed that he had masterminded the attack. However, despite these contradictory and controversial statements, the US demanded that the
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2 Taliban government hand Bin Laden over. The Afghan government’s refusal to hand over a man they said was their guest, its request for evidence of his responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, and even its proposal that he could stand trial in a “neutral Islamic court,” were all brushed aside: There was to be no negotiation in the matter; Bin Laden must be yielded up or the US would “come and get him.” This seemed to imply that if he had been handed over there would have been no cause for invasion. But when the war started other “just causes” made their appearance. Some critics challenged the self-defense argument used to justify the original
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Afghan war justi - On the Afghanistan War Talal Asad Today...

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