United States Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has corrected his earlier statement to USA Today that Osama bin Laden, whom Bush had said is “Wanted - dead or alive”, might get away despite 18 days of intensive air-strikes as it would be “very difficult” to catch the suspected mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, making the statement ''It's a big world. There are lots of countries. He's got a lot of money, he's got a lot of people who support him, and I just don't know whether we'll be successful. Clearly, it would be highly desirable to find him.''
He now says: “we're going to get him” and likened efforts to get Osama bin Laden as “finding a needle in a haystack”.
Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who perpetrated the heinous crimes against humanity on September 11 should be hunted down and brought to justice, but it is completely immoral and equally inhumane to unleash a “war of terror” against the innocent Afghan civilians just to root out Osama bin Laden.
The world must ask whether war is the best way to track down Osama bin Laden and whether the United States could find the needle by burning the haystack or whether it is only escalating the anger among 1.3 billion Muslims and make the world a living hell for the entire human race.
Amidst reports of mounting civilian casualties from the US-led airstrikes, the United Nations confirmed yesterday that US bombs had struck a mosque in a military compound and a nearby village during raids on the western city of Herat this week, adding to a growing catalogue of bombing blunders.
An UN spokeswoman estimates that at least 70 percent of people living in the major towns of Herat, Kandahar in the south and Jalalabad in the east had fled the bombing while other independent sources put the number of people on the move from the three cities at around one million.
The Taliban claim of over 1,000 civilians killed by the US bombing raids had been challenged but the United States cannot deny the fact of mounting innocent civilian casualties.
The US-led “war of terror” against the innocent Afghan civilians must stop immediately, as it will not lead to justice or freedom but culminate in deaths - probably in tens or hundreds of thousands from starvation with the onset of winter - which will diminish in magnitude even the crimes against humanity on September 11.