American Scholars Issue Letter of Support for War on Terrorism

February 12, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On February 12, 2002, The Washington Post reported that "sixty leading intellectuals, mostly high-powered academics who study ethics, religion and public policy at American universities and think tanks, will issue an open letter today explaining why they believe the war on terrorism is necessary and just... There are times when waging war is not only morally permitted, but morally necessary, as a response to calamitous acts of violence, hatred and injustice. This is one of those times," the letter says... The 10-page letter tries to speak for Americans as a whole, elaborating American values and declaring the nation's right to defend itself after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks... It sticks to broad moral arguments and does not specifically mention the U.S.-led military campaign that ousted the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. Nor does it address some of the war's thorniest issues, such as how to treat Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners and how to balance security and civil liberties in the United States... But the letter does define, perhaps more clearly than the Bush administration has, who the enemy is: 'radical Islamicism,' a 'violent, extremist and radically intolerant religious-political movement that now threatens the world, including the Muslim world.'"