An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Last Monday 7th of May, 32 Yemenis militants were assassinated by Al Qaeda on two army posts in the south of Yemen in response to the previous murder of an Al Qaeda leader Fahd al Qasaa by US soldiers and the Yemenis Government. In the attempt of protecting the international community and civilian populations from being gravely and massively killed, military forces are contributing to the universal chain of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

Since human beings exist, we are experiencing the exercise of lethal military force against people with the same lethal force intentions. One example of this group of people are terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, whose main aims are not understandable in terms of civic-mindedness. Producing widespread fear, embarrassing or weakening government security forces or attempting to influence government decisions, legislation or other critical decisions are without any doubt an excuse to commit such massacres or genocides –characteristic of Al Qaeda, which acts normally with a high number of victims.

The most recent happenings of the chain of disputes between military forces coming from both Yemen and the United States took place last September, when Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-US citizen linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and accused for plotting abortive attacks on US targets, was killed in a drone attack. The US president Barack Obama described it as a “significant milestone”.

In April, the United Statesmilitia ended Muqbel Said al Omda’s life. Omda was the chief financial officer of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was also accused to participate in the attack against the US warship USS Cole in 2000 –where 17 marines came to death. The financial officer formed part of a US authorities’ list of the most wanted terrorists.

Four days after it, on Sunday the 6th, another Al Qaeda leader Fahd al Qasaa was killed in a drone attack by the United States army in Al Rafd (Yemen). Al Qasaa was killed together with two of the fighter’s bodyguards when two missiles slammed near his home. Al Qasaa, also called Abu Hazifa al Yemeni, was the Al Qaeda leader in Yemen since 2009. He had already been accused for participating in the attack on USS Cole in 2000 and condemned to prison for 10 years. But one year after entering in prison, he managed to escape. Like Omda, al Qasaa was one of the most wanted terrorists in US authorities’ lists.

Last Wednesday, 2nd of May, in the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, 13 Al Qaeda militants were killed by US soldiers during a special mission of the US army. The anti-terrorist policy adviser of the US Administration, John Brennan, defended the legality of the use of drones:
“We do not seek revenge. In fact, we use specific white attacks because they are necessary to mitigate the threat posed to prevent attacks, prevent the development of strategies and save American lives” declared Brennan.

These quarrels against terrorists have the purpose of protecting populations from being killed, which may sound totally coherent. But these continuous disputes between international military forces and terrorist organizations are beginning to become a constant chain of murders with no ethical response. We have questioned ourselves if such reciprocal attacks indeed seek to bring peace and justice. Besides, is it absolutely necessary and, certainly, ethical to kill some people in order to save other people from dying?

Our dilemma on this issue is if the responsibilities of the international community to protect civilian populations whose human rights are being gravely and massively violated actually pass the barrier of exaggeration. And if protecting human lives from terrorism has to imply the imperative use of violence in these massive clashes, which result in millions of deaths, of which the population generally does not know about. Setting priorities is a relevant concern in these cases. In our minds, giving priority to the security of the international population is without a doubt the best option. Though, we think that this has gone too far. Someone should put an end to these disputes, taking into account that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (US Declaration of Independence 1776, Second Paragraph).

Angela Gutierrez Moreno,
Linn Andersson,
Danira Milosevic
& Jesus Alcantara Landa


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