by Kathy Kelly, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
This morning, a reporter called to talk about the news that the U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden. Referring to throngs of young people celebrating outside the White House, the reporter asked what Voices would say if we had a chance to speak with those young people.
We’d want to tell them about a group of people who, in November of 2001, walked from Washington, D.C. to New York City carrying a banner that said, “Our Grief is not a Cry for War.” Several of the walkers were people who had lost their loved ones in the attacks on 9/11. When the walk ended, they formed a group called “Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” to continually represent the belief that our security is not founded in violence and revenge.
Often, during that walk, participants were asked what we’d suggest as an alternative to invading Afghanistan. One response was that the U.S. and other countries could enact a criminal investigation and rely on police work and intelligence to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack. As it turns out, the U.S. discovered where Osama bin Laden was through those means and not through warfare. How have the past ten years of aerial bombardments, night raids, death squads, assassinations and drone attacks in Afghanistan benefited the U.S. people? Did the carnage and bloodshed bring the U.S. closer to discovering the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden? Have we defeated terrorism or created greater, deeper hatred toward the U.S.?