02 December 2008

Avoid Following Our Lead

The Register-Guard’s editorial comment today notes that “many in India advocate attacking Pakistan to exact retribution for what is being called India’s 9/11.” Although India and Pakistan have a contentious history, and groups with ties to Pakistan are responsible for several terrorist acts in India, until there is some surety that Pakistan—especially Pakistan’s government—was or is involved in the Mumbai attacks (which seems extremely doubtful), India might want to “heed the U. S. Example”:

Americans can sympathize with the overwhelming urge to strike back after a horrifying terrorist attack. But the U.S. response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, offers much for India to consider as it contemplates its own answer to the Nov. 26 massacre in Mumbai.

With two ongoing wars having killed almost 5,000 U.S. military personnel and hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians, al-Qaeda is stronger than ever — strong enough to be linked to the Mumbai attacks. As a strategy, full-scale military war on terrorism leaves much to be desired.

India should take a hard look at U.S. results before embarking on a similar path. (R-G)

Worth considering indeed. Yes the urge for vengeance is strong, and understandable, but unless an attack on Pakistan is justified—that is, unless genuine evidence links the government to terrorist groups—it would only wreak additional misery on the region as a whole.

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