If the US did not feel the need to seek vengeance on Osama Bin Laden after September 11, 2001, when 3,000 died, then 21,000 Afghan civilians would not have died. If the US did not go after Saddam Hussein and his phantom weapons of mass destruction, then 133,000 Iraqi civilians would not have been killed as a result of our invasion. Additionally, 6,500 American service members and an equal number of military contractors would not have been killed either. The US would not have borrowed, nor lost economic investment and opportunity over the past 13 years to tune of $4 trillion.
Their are other ways to respond to evil and injustice successfully in our western history. Let me quote extensively from the website, Cost of War, where all these links go to.
A Rand report made systematic examination and comparison of 268 groups using terror tactics in the period from 1968 to 2006. It showed that several approaches have been much more effective than military responses at eliminating future attacks. They include criminal justice responses and attempts to address the well-being concerns of both combatants and the broader populace that might support them.It's possible to use aid and assistance to win the populace over.
The study found that 40 percent of the 268 groups were eliminated through intelligence and policing methods; 43 percent ended their violence as a result of peaceful political accommodation; 10 percent ceased their violent activity because they had achieved their objectives (“victory”) by violence; and only 7 percent were defeated militarily.Military intervention is the least successful method, but Americans do not want to have their plans interrupted by data from "experts" or limp-wristed pacifists.
Military responses have often created more extensive violent response and terrorism against the civilian population caught between two opposing forces. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan have served as an effective recruiting device for new terrorists. For example, contrary to the US government’s rationale that invading Iraq would prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists, the country has instead become a laboratory in which militant groups have been able to hone their techniques of propaganda, recruitment, and violence against the most highly trained military in the world. The number of terrorist attacks in Iraq rose precipitously following the 2003 invasion and has not returned to its pre-war level.Don't Americans get it that when terrorists taunt us online, and we respond just as they hoped, we are following their war plan not ours?
In addition, wars often create the conditions for additional violent conflicts over the new resources and new political alignments created by an initial invasion or occupation. The civil wars and criminal violence that erupted in both Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of this phenomenon.This was written before the invasion of northern Iraq by ISIS.
Now the US government thinks confronting ISIS the same way we confronted al Qaeda in Afghanistan will turn out differently. The odds are against us. But Americans embrace the dystopian young adult novel and wish each other, "May the odds be ever in your favor."
But it's not so utopian to try what Jesus taught, as other nations have done it successfully, to turn the other cheek. This is not a call for withdrawal from the world, but a different way to interact, with more than one tool, a hammer.