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Monday, October 3, 2011

Justification for Resorting to Violence to Achieve Peace

When the United States was attacked by terrorists in 2001 the entire world was horrified, shocked and in total disbelief. (Barnard et al 2)   How can individuals have so much hatred against the United States that they are willing to take the lives the innocent civilians just so they could sow terror and inflict fear?  In 2008, terrorists also attacked Mumbai India and killed more than a hundred innocent civilians. (“Mumbai Terror Attacks: India Summons Pakistan Envoy, Wants ‘Strong Action’” 2)    Indeed, the world is at war against terrorists, organized crime and even common criminals. 

The normal reaction of an ordinary Joe is to hope that the persons responsible will be captured and punished as violently as possible.  An ordinary Joe would want that the attackers and terrorists will suffer the same amount of violence they have inflicted against the innocent civilians they have killed.  After much reflection however, the question still lingers.  Is the resort to violence ever justifiable? Or are there instances when resort to violence can be justified?

The non-violence philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King have always been very inspirational for me.  I have always believed that peace is always a desired goal and that everybody should strive to achieve peace.  Peace however does not happen by itself.  Sometimes violence must be resorted to in order to achieve peace.  I also believe that sometimes there are sacrifices to be made in order to achieve the common good. In specific terms, I believe that there are situations when it is necessary to resort to violence in order to achieve peace. 

The common good has always been preferred over the interests of interests of the minority.  For instance, our laws recognize deprivation of life, liberty and property in order to promote general welfare.  Thus, when a person is convicted of violating a law, the offender is sentenced behind bars.  When a person is convicted of committing a serious crime, there are states which mandate the punishment of death by lethal injection. (Donald K. Pickens 1)  In some countries, a person’s hand is cut off when he is found to have stolen properties.  

Violence is part of our society.  It has been legitimized by the state by the enactment of laws.  If we can impose capital punishment or death sentence against offenders who have violated criminal laws, there is all the more reason to impose capital punishment against those who have committed acts of terrorism which are graver and considered crimes against humanity.  For this reason, use of violence against terrorists who sow fear and terror against ordinary citizens should be allowed.

There have been reported cases of terrorists complaining about the violation of rights apparently committed by the United States government. (“Amnesty: 'USA violates human rights'" 2 ) They say that the United States government violated their freedom of liberty when it detained them without any basis.  They also say that the United States government is looking into their bank accounts, phone records and electronic mails and complain about the invasions on their privacy. (Lara Jordan 2)  I say, when a person commits a crime or gets involved with known terrorists, they have violated the rights of other people.  Thus, they cannot use the same rights as protection when the government starts to monitor their activities to find evidence against them.  They have stripped themselves of their rights. 

I say, extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures.  In certain situations, the government needs to act swiftly and decisively.  When the attack was made against the United States territory, the government was blamed for its failure to defend our country.  Now it is still being blamed for responding to terrorism so that what happened in the past will no longer happen again in the future.  When our country is at a war it is but natural that the democratic process may be curtailed especially against those who have connections with known terrorists so that everyone will be able to enjoy the blessings of democracy.  Everyone who expects to regain the rights must make sacrifices so that the integrity of this country may be protected.  Random checking of bank accounts, or electronic mails or phone records are but minor inconveniences which we have to bear if we want to protect our country.  

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