The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 40.0°F | Fair

COLUMN

Peaceful Resolution Equals Surrender

Guest Column
Ed Kopesky

This column is in response to the opinion piece delivered by Michael Borucke [“Don’t Fight Fire With Fire,” September 14]. Somehow, Borucke seems to have missed out on reality. He implies that Congress is “already using this tragedy to push for spending on defense, and specifically on missile defense.” Congress knows darn well that a missile defense system would not have stopped these planes from being hijacked, and the missile defense plan is, accordingly, on the back burner for quite a while.

He says that “we don’t know who was responsible for the attacks, but there is no hard evidence as of yet, and no one has claimed responsibility.” First off, we do know who was responsible; They were willing to kill themselves in the process of killing many others. Borucke basically says that we should wait for someone to claim responsibility before we do anything about it. Forget about finding out who did it; if they won’t admit they did it, then we just won’t come get them. That’ll show ’em.

Let’s say we get our intelligence people into Afghanistan or somewhere and find bin Laden. Here’s how Mr. Borucke might like the interrogation to go:

American Intelligence Agent: Mr. Bin Laden, did you happen to mastermind and finance these terrorist acts?

Bin Laden: Isn’t it obvious?

Agent: Well, no. Nobody has claimed responsibility and we’re waiting for someone to do that before we act.

Bin Laden: I see, Satan. Are you saying that if I do not claim responsibility, that even if I am guilty of what you say, that you will not arrest and/or execute me?

Agent: Well, that doesn’t make sense because the person who did this will obviously claim responsibility eventually, so what you say is impossible.

Bin Laden: Well, then, I am not responsible.

Borucke implies throughout the article that the only way to resolve this is through a peaceful process. In other words, any violence will only make things worse. Well, you don’t fight a war because you like violence. You don’t fight a war because you want to take a lot of human lives. You fight a war to return peace to the world you live in. We are not living in a peaceful world as long as terrorists are flying our planes into skyscrapers, and the next thing they turn to may be bombing stadiums or any number of other horrific acts. I don’t think we can send Osama bin Laden and others like him to anger management class. People like him don’t want peace because they feel they have Allah’s blessing to wage war on the innocent.

The last thing I will point out is his insistence that a U.S. military response can only be an act of revenge or retribution evolving from our anger. Did he ever stop to ponder whether a U.S. military response might, just maybe, be used to put this terrorist network out of commission for good? Did we fight WWII because we wanted to kill as many Japanese, Germans, and Italians as we could? Or did we fight it to make sure a genocidal maniac did not take over the world? The military response may achieve retribution, but that is not the end. The end will be the dismantling of this terrorist network, something we can’t get by making peace symbols with our fingers.

“It seems that everyone who appears on TV wants war,” Borucke says. They don’t want war. They recognize that we are at war. A war against terrorism that may never end. Nobody wants to have to fight. They see it as essential, lest we spend the rest of our lives sweating when we walk onto a commercial flight or take an elevator to the top of a skyscraper (something many people may do anyway, myself included). I don’t know many things for certain in this time of fear and confusion, but I do know one thing: if we followed Michael Borucke’s line of thinking we might as well declare war on ourselves, because we would only be digging our own graves.

Ed Kopesky is a graduate student in the department of Chemical Engineering.