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Regardless of its failings, the worldwide warfare on terror grinds on 

(RNS) — Earlier this August, the White Home introduced the killing of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri by way of a CIA drone assault. This was met with close to common reward in Congress, within the international coverage institution and from our worldwide allies.

However for some, together with many individuals of religion, killing isn’t one thing to rejoice. The Associates Committee on Nationwide Laws, the Quaker lobbying group I lead and the oldest spiritual foyer in Washington, is amongst these that don’t help killing as a response to killing. We oppose acts of terrorism and warfare. We imagine in responding to violence with simpler and less expensive approaches grounded in civilian rule of regulation. These alone can break cycles of violence slightly than feed them.

President Joe Biden informed the United Nations in September 2021: “I stand right here right this moment, for the primary time in 20 years, with the USA not at warfare. We’ve turned the web page.” If solely that had been true, it might be one thing all of us working for peace may rejoice. However it’s removed from the truth.

The president withdrew floor troops from Afghanistan however made clear that air and drone strikes would stay an possibility for coping with “any resurgent terrorist problem rising or emanating from Afghanistan.” Quite than ending our perpetually wars, the Biden administration has continued to conduct deadly operations in Afghanistan — using the euphemistic time period “over the horizon” strikes. And it has continued to prioritize and promote a militarized strategy to counterterrorism around the globe. American forces stay in Syria and Iraq, and the president lately despatched a army contingent of 500 again to Somalia.

The brutal information can’t be ignored. From 2018 to 2020, the USA carried out militarized counterterrorism operations in 85 nations worldwide, together with air and drone strikes in no less than seven. This was up from 80 nations within the prior two years. These strikes happen on a routine foundation with restricted oversight by Congress and little public information. The American individuals can not weigh in on issues of warfare — for or towards — in the event that they have no idea when, the place or if they’re happening. What’s worse, Congress has carried out little to seek out out — or to share what it is aware of.

However individuals of religion — and all People — ought to take discover. Within the case of the warfare on terror, harmless civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and different Asian and African nations have borne the brunt of warfare’s harmful energy. They endure the lack of lives, properties and hope. These are actual individuals, with names and faces, who’ve endured day by day tragedy and are working tirelessly to maintain their communities secure, but stay principally nameless to the People who foot the $8 trillion invoice for these wars.

President  Joe Biden meets together with his nationwide safety staff on July 1, 2022, to debate the eventual drone strike that killed al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 31. The picket field in entrance of the president incorporates a reproduction of the home the place al-Zawahiri was residing in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Official White Home Photograph by Adam Schultz/Public Area)

This month, we released a report detailing the failures of the war on terror, the harms of 20 years of militarized counterterrorism each overseas and at house, and what Congress should do to alter this course. We strongly imagine the 21-year warfare on terror has failed to realize the objectives for which it was purportedly launched. The reality is, 20 years deep, the annual variety of terror assaults worldwide has considerably elevated, terror teams have proliferated throughout the globe, and greater than 900,000 individuals have been killed, together with greater than 329,000 civilians. Militarized counterterrorism has fueled wars, mass displacement, rising Islamophobia and human rights abuses — all whereas losing trillions of {dollars}.

These outcomes had been each predictable and preventable. As Quakers, we’re guided by our religion to pursue a world freed from warfare and the specter of warfare. This perception is rooted within the conviction that violent battle can and should be prevented by peaceable means, for violence begets extra violence. The previous 20 years of warfare present us as a lot.

Historical past has proven repeatedly that lasting peace can’t be achieved on the barrel of a gun. The failure of the war-based strategy to cut back violence and counter terrorism proves we can not make ourselves safer by making others much less safe. After many years of perpetuating violence as the answer to terrorism, is there a approach out of this cycle of countless warfare and violence? Sure, although it received’t be straightforward, and it received’t occur in a single day.

America wants a brand new safety paradigm grounded in peace constructing, battle decision and diplomatic cooperation. Our authorities will want time, political will and adequate sources to develop an efficient and morally sound technique for stopping and responding to extremist violence. What we do know is that persevering with the present strategy to counterterrorism is doomed to failure, whereas solely making the issues worse.

Bridget Moix. Photo via

Bridget Moix. Photograph by way of

Following the assaults of 9/11, FCNL hung an indication on our constructing that also resonates 20 years later: Warfare is Not the Reply.

(Bridget Moix is the final secretary of the Associates Committee on Nationwide Laws and leads two different Quaker organizations, Associates Place on Capitol Hill and the FCNL Schooling Fund. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially mirror these of Faith Information Service.)

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