Whenever I bring up the atrocities of war, specifically the war on terror, I pretty much always hear, “Well, that’s war. It’s sad, but it is war.” I’m usually written off as an ideologue and a hippie for even suggesting that mass murder of innocent people is wrong. So in people’s minds, what makes war different? What makes killing innocent people unfortunate collateral? I have to admit, there was a time in my life I agreed that war was different. I never had a good reason, I just never questioned it.
This idea that war is somehow different from your everyday murder made me think of this post I wrote two weeks ago about the comments on articles about the Eric Frein manhunt. What if Eric Frein first declared independence, then declared war, would his murder be justified? It’s true we have not seen a manifesto, or social media postings, or any friends or relatives say he hated the police, but they tell us he did. There must be a reason.
I guess this isn’t completely apples to apples when comparing war. After all, whenever another country kills someone it is egregious, but when the US does it, its war. So I guess if Frein declared his independence, he would no longer be the US, therefore his murder would still be illegitimate. If that is the case, was the war for independence an illegitimate act of terrorism? The colonists were British before they were American.
The point I’m trying to make is not to say that what Frein did was acceptable, just like flying a plane into the World Trade Center is not acceptable. But maybe his motive matters, just like the terrorists’ motive matters. Do you think that maybe if the US never intervened in the Middle East we wouldn’t have al-Qaeda hating us? Maybe we should judge people by their actions regardless of where they live?