If you look at your newspaper or turn on your TV, you may notice our war isn’t going as well as planned. And maybe, as an American, you’re willing to do what it takes to see this war on terrorism through. I mean, we’ve had some trouble, but Taliban soldiers are already defecting to the Northern Alliance. Wait, you say, so those bad guys are now the good guys? If this seems confusing, clear your head and open a book of American history. In fact, our friends in the Northern Alliance aren’t such great people either, and may end up creating the same misogynist society the Taliban has once they are in power. Why do we let our officials trade one tyranny for another war after war?

Of course, if you’ve flipped that history book maybe two pages back, you’ll notice that a couple years ago, the Clinton administration almost ended up, with the oil giant Unocal, negotiating a major oil deal with the Taliban, but was stopped due to the hard work of women’s rights groups in our nation. Again you may scratch your head and think “So today’s enemies were almost yesterday’s business partners?”

Anyway, let’s get back to the present. You may argue that we are dropping food. Well, I too was satisfied with the 500,000 packets of food we have dropped and plan to drop. But then, in her article in Guardian Newspaper Arundhati Roy (God of Small Things author) did the math for me and pointed out that is one meal for half a million people. There are 7.5 million people in Afghanistan who are going to starve this winter. You don’t need to be a math major to see it doesn’t add up.

Now, I know that we can’t let a group that used American planes as a weapon get away with the murder and insanity they’ve caused. America is also in a tight spot, because while the actions of our government in the past may have engendered the attacks, if we suddenly change our policies it will send the message that if you don’t like U.S. foreign policy, use bombs to change it. The world needs time to sort all this out, and we need time to heal as a nation. However, as an American I don’t like the idea of allowing our government to continue a war that may lead to the starvation of millions while I’m on Christmas break. Everyday you feel a twinge of self-pity because you’re out in the cold, think about the homeless in D.C. Then think of all the children in Afghanistan, trying to sleep as bombs blast around them. If we truly believe in the ideals of America, we can’t allow them to die.

We’ve gone over past and present, now let’s think about the future. Let’s say it’s spring, and the tulips are blooming on campus again. Imagine that the bombing didn’t stop, despite the protest of (God knows how many) human rights groups, and millions are dead. Let’s be foolishly optimistic and say only 3 million are dead. Children, senior citizens, mothers and fathers – their emaciated bodies are spread out all over Afghanistan, even as the now defeated Taliban is part of the new government. (This was an accepted part of U.S. plans at least a couple weeks ago.) Our media, no longer able to focus on the wonders of war, begin to flood your TVs, computers and papers with the images. The whole world is watching.

In Germany, no one is ever allowed to forget the Holocaust. It is a ghost that casts its shadow over every German youth, they are all forced to learn the horror of it. As a nation, they will never be the same, and the world will never let them forget. To talk about German pride is to fear the return of Nazism. How many German children in the last couple of generations, with a sense of disappointment and disgust, turned to their parents and grandparents and wondered what they were doing while their Jewish neighbors vanished? When your children see the pictures of Afghanistan years from now in their own history books, and ask you what you were doing, how will you answer them?

Saajan Patel is a senior in the College.

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