ADC Warns Against Civilian Casualties, Expansion of Conflict
Washington DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today urged the Bush Administration to take more care to avoid civilian casualties in the conflict in Afghanistan and warned against the widening of the conflict. ADC President Ziad Asali said we strongly urge our government to take all measures to ensure that American military actions scrupulously avoid civilian casualties among the Afghan people. There have been a number of disturbing incidents in which civilian areas and humanitarian centers have been hit and innocent lives taken. It is vital that the United States is not perceived as disregarding the lives of the Afghan civilians. We also urge the Administration to move quickly to help international aid agencies and neighboring states deal with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and do all we can to ensure that this crisis does not develop into a major catastrophe as some experts warn may be developing.
ADC also warned against demands to expand the current conflict beyond Afghanistan. Dr. Asali said that there are many voices in the United States, both inside and outside of the government, who are calling for our country to attack a laundry list of organizations and countries, many of them in the Arab world, which were not involved with the outrages of Sept. 11. Such a move would be unjustifiable and disastrous. It would destroy the important coalition that has been assembled for the effort to combat those who were actually behind the attacks on New York and Washington.
Worse, it would play directly into the hands of those, both in the Muslim world and in the West, who call for a ‘clash of civilizations.’ Measures that promote the concept of a generalized conflict between the United States and the Arab or Muslim peoples would seriously threaten American national interests, which are best served by working closely with our allies and promoting stability and democracy. Using the tragedy of Sept. 11 as a rationalization to attack groups and states that were not involved in those events, or to settle old and unrelated scores in the region, would be exceptionally unwise.