Tricycle: How do you view the U.S. government’s military response to the events of September 11?
Jan Chozen Bays: I would have preferred a more restrained response. In an ideal world you’d send special forces into Afghanistan in the dead of night, anesthetize the core group of terrorists, put them in padded restraints, provide them with lawyers, and deposit them on the steps of the international court in the Hague. This is an imperfect world, but still I had hopes for a more “surgical” intervention. As a physician I think of terrorism as analogous to cancer. A physician’s job is to go in and surgically remove the cancer to alleviate the immediate cause of suffering.
José Cabezón: When I’m in a more realistic mood I tend to think like Jan. But I keep going back to a purely pacifist position. Ultimately, violence is never appropriate—for ordinary people like us, anyway. And yet, what is the alternative? Do I want myself and others to be vulnerable to this type of violence? And yet the counterviolence we’re engaged in now may be too high a price to pay for our own security.
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