The US should accept Bin Laden’s offer of a truce

John Arquilla writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that the United Stated should accept Osama Bin Laden’s offer of a truce. To Arquilla there are good reasons “why bin Laden’s overture should be carefully weighed and thoughtfully debated.”

The moral imperative that should drive us is a sincere desire to end the long suffering of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Official figures suggest that 30,000 innocent noncombatants have been killed since March 2003 in Iraq alone. Many respected sources believe that this figure is grossly underestimated. So if bin Laden were to call off his dogs of war, it would be a very good thing, saving lives by removing major elements in the insurgencies in both countries. Such al Qaeda withdrawals would sharply reduce the need for our forces to remain in these sad lands.

To him, “good faith” can lead to peace.

In sum, the practical upside of giving peace a chance looks very attractive. Our ethical obligation to try in good faith to negotiate is even more compelling. Twenty months ago, I suggested in Insight that an era of perpetual warfare need not be our only future and observed that the peace process might begin simply with the release of a conciliatory tape by Osama bin Laden. He has just done this. Now it’s our turn. Reconsidering the immediate dismissive response to his overture is the necessary next step. I pray we have the courage and compassion to take it.

One Response to The US should accept Bin Laden’s offer of a truce

  1. RL says:

    what i find particularly astounding about this article is the moral imperative that the author finds in being nice and giving people a chance. apparently no amount of historical experience can influence his thinking. does this man know anything about Bin Laden? is this all pure wishful thinking? (i hope so… at least then he’s just a dupe.) he’s like the character in Memento — no memory, just begging to have people take advantage of him. testimony to the power of cognitive dissonance, in this case of moral narcissism: i will think well of myself at any cost.

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