Is This the Way We Protect Civilians?

by Colleen Kelly
March 21st, 2011

September 11th Families was founded on the premise that civilian casualties are wrong; in all armed conflict, throughout all of history, regardless of attempts at justification. Our loved ones were civilians killed on 9-11. Somewhere, someone thought it justifiable that our family members be killed.

As an organization, we took a controversial stand against military intervention in Afghanistan. As history has now recorded, there were certainly more effective means to bring Bin Laden to justice. Yet thousands of civilians have died.

As an organization, we took a forceful and prominent stand against military intervention in Iraq. History has now proven the concept of ‘preventive war’ as false. Over 100,000 civilians have died.

Today, as an organization, we are again standing against military intervention in Libya. Will a no-fly zone give some immediate relief to civilians? Perhaps. Is it the solution? No. But part of the solution can surely be found in the example of ordinary Tunisian and Egyptian citizens who chose non-violent resistance as their weapon, and won their battle. Can we all imagine how much wider the realm of non-violent options would be if the U.S. Department of Defense budget was cut to 54 billion dollars and the U.S. Department of State received 690 billion (actual 2010 budgets, reversed)?

We are pained that the world has again resorted to the use of force. There are uprisings and government crackdowns in Bahrain and Yemen. Will the US intervene in those nations also with air strikes? Where does the violence end?

Until the global community invests as much time, money, organizing and training in real diplomacy and peacemaking, as it does in warfare, military answers will loom seductively large.

Filed in: News from Peaceful Tomorrows, Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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