14 September 2006

On Moral Superiority

Interesting piece in the New York Post today about the U.S.'s refusal to bomb Taliban members who were gathered at a cemetery (in accordance with established rules of engagement. Apparently, the decision has led to a lot of outrage from people connected to the 9/11 attacks:
Lt. Robert Jackson, of Engine 54/Ladder 4 in Midtown - which lost 15 men at the WTC - noted that the Taliban don't play by the same rules as the American military, which said its higher ethical and moral standards prevented it from attacking the terrorists while they were gathered in a cemetery.

"The terrorists would not have held back," Jackson fumed.

"These guys are terrorist cowards. They hide behind women, they hide in schools. But we're not. We're the United States of America."
What Jackson doesn't see is that because we're America, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. If we want to convince the world that we're any better than a vicious group of people willing to use any means to achieve their ends, then it is essential that they see our commitment to things like fair play and respect for human life.

The cemetery rules of engagement are there for a very important reason -- to allow our foes what they deny us: human dignity. Only in keeping the moral high ground will we make any headway in this nebulous "war" we've gotten into.

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