It is to be expected, we suppose, that there is a battle mounting on this campus.
We do not normally comment on national matters, but the attacks on Sept. 11 and the possible response of the United States are no longer just national matters.
This is UW-Madison, after all, a school that was a hot bed of anti-war activity during the Vietnam Era. Thus it is no surprise protests have once again sprung up here.
But there is a fundamental difference between cries for peace during Vietnam and cries for peace now. In Vietnam, American lives were being lost abroad, but a threat to the American homeland and way of life was not imminent.
Times have changed.
On Sept. 11 more than 7,000 civilians lost their lives in what can only be considered an act of war on American soil. The threat to the American mainland and the basis of American freedoms, personal liberties, has never been more clear. Taking a trip, hearing an airplane flying overhead, attending a football game, fertilizing fields, visiting national landmarks or seats of government – none of these will be the same. Without striking back, without defending the freedoms we hold so dear, America will have already surrendered to the fear brought by terrorism.
It is the job of a government to protect its people – and to protect Americans, our government must take action. The alleged terrorists have already attacked our embassies and our ships, with no concrete response from the United States. The only result has been an increase in the brazenness and deadliness of the terrorist attacks. To take no action against the aggressions of terrorism will guarantee that more American lives will be lost on American soil.
The peace-mongers on this campus counter that U.S. military action in this war against terrorism will be an unjust attack concentrated on Afghanistan and its people, a people who live in abject poverty.
However, while some action against the oppressive Taliban regime is probable, the U.S. government has made it clear that this war will be carried out against terrorist networks and those governments that choose to harbor them – not civilians. Our leaders’ resolve to avoid innocent casualties as much as possible, while ridding the world of bin Laden and other terrorists who would follow his lead, must remain intact.
But when faced with an evil so twisted that it finds the death of over 7,000 civilians justifiable, appeasement is not the answer.
We did not look for war.
War came to us, and we must rise to the challenge.
Editorial Board opinions are crafted independent of news coverage