Since the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the country has embarked on a so-called war on terrorism. The so-called war on terrorism has used the pretext of responding to terrorist attacks in the U.S. in September 2001 to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have objectives other than stamping out terrorism. The war requires a moral justification that cannot be provided for either the war in Afghanistan or the war in Iraq.
The ongoing war in Afghanistan was and is unjust because it simply lumps together those who may have attacked the U.S. with those who clearly did not do so and hence should not have been attacked in return.
There is no reason to think that the U.S. was attacked by Afghanistan.
The U.S. attacked Afghanistan in response to an attack attributed to a terrorist group called Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden in a war that is still continuing. Everything about this attack is doubtful. It has still not been shown that a mad Saudi was able from a cave in Afghanistan to coordinate a large-scale attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. If we assume for the purposes of argument that he did, then we have to ask if the attack on Afghanistan in general is justified. I believe it is not, since we cannot equate Afghanistan as a whole with whatever Al Qaeda is supposedly responsible for. There is no right to harm, much less to destroy, anyone other than those who attacked the U.S., including through what is euphemistically called collateral damage. Is the life of an Afghan worth less than that of an American?
Since the outbreak of the war in Afghanistan, everything has been happening as if the so-called war on terrorism has less and less to do with terrorism and serves increasingly as a convenient pretext for American imperialist ambitions.
Some minimal conditions that must be met for a just war on terrorism are that the war be wholly or at least primarily directed against terrorism and not undertaken for other ends, that it be waged in defense against the attackers, not against others, that the war take place on grounds which can be rationally justified, and that terrorism be correctly identified. What is routinely called the war on terrorism has so far been a manifest failure.
First, it has been mainly directed against those who did not attack the U.S.
Second, it has increasingly not been directed against terrorists at all, unless anyone the U.S. government does not like can fairly be called a terrorist.
Third, it has so far failed to find an adequate justification, a reason or set of reasons that could justify the type of war that is being waged.
Fourth, it has conflated the response to terrorism with a pre-emptive strike on Iraq.
And, fifth, it has failed to provide a plausible account of the sources of, or even correctly to identify, terrorism.
This unjustified war, which simply cannot be won as it is currently conceived, only demonstrates the weakness of the U.S. and its allies in their inability to resolve the very problems that give rise to terrorism.
Source: Rockmore, T. On the So-Called War on Terrorism