washingtonpostfront Lauren
McLean High School  
 
I am debating the pro-choice side of abortion.  Here are five paragraphs to support my side:

“Keep Your Laws Off My Body!”
“My Life, My Love, My Choice.”
“Save the Freedom We Worked So Hard to Achieve: The Freedom of Choice.”
These are just some of the pro-choice slogans that can be seen on bumpers across the nation, declaring their support for a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body.

The pro-abortion debate is about much more than that, however.  It trickles deep down into to roots of society, where it digs up age-old issues of the natural human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of property and happiness.  How can a woman pursue personal contentment if she does not even have control over her own body?

Many “pro-lifers” argue that the fetus has those natural human rights as well.  But a fetus is only a “potential human being, just like an acorn is a potential oak tree;” it is not truly a human until it can survive on its own, independent of its mother’s womb.  Therefore the fetus does not have the right to life if its mother decides she does not want to grant it that right.  And yes, that right is the mother’s to give.  In reality, the fetus has no right to be in the womb in the first place.  If it did, the mother would become a slave to the fetus, and slavery is definitely not a right.

Anti-abortion groups also claim that “abortion is murder.”  Murder is defined as the taking of another human being’s life through the use of physical force.  But this applies only to actual human beings, not potential humans, like fetuses and embryos.  Also, murder is usually classified as a violent crime.  Abortion is neither violent nor illegal, and so is not murder.

As most people know, the abortion debate has two definite sides to it: pro-choice, and “pro-life.”  The former title is self-explanatory and clear; we believe that a woman has the right to choose what she wants to do with her body, and it should be her decision, and hers alone, to make.  Unfortunately, the latter group’s name is quite misleading.  They call themselves “pro-life,” referring to the fetus’ right to live if abortion is outlawed.  But they do not consider the consequences for the mothers of these babies, especially in cases of rape, incest, or a major health risk to the mother.  They are “against the life of the actual human being involved,” the one with “certain unalienable rights,” and so should more truthfully be dubbed “anti-lifers.”



Here is my completed article on the bombings in Afghanistan:

       U.S. and Britain Bomb Afghanistan

On Sunday, October 7, 2001, the United States and its British allies launched an air-raid campaign on Afghanistan which is still going on today.  These bombings are in retaliation for the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, and are the first military actions taken in President Bush’s “Operation Enduring Freedom.”  There is no word as to how long these raids are expected to continue, and even their ultimate goal remains unclear to the American people.  To accomplish this enigmatic goal, however, “we are prepared to use the full spectrum of our military capabilities,” Air Force General Richard B. Myers foreshadowed.

On the first day of strikes, 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 15 land-based bombers and 25 carrier-based fighter jets were used to bomb areas in and around Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan; Kandahar, the center of Taliban operations in the southeast; Jalalabad, a city bordering on Pakistan; and Mazar-e Sharif, which borders Uzbekistan.  These attacks were all carried out overnight, whereas on the second day, the missions lasted into the day.  Fifteen Tomahawk missiles, five B1 and B2 bombers, and ten F-14s and F-18s, all from American forces, were utilized on October 8.  Also used were GBU-28 “bunker busters,” 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs whose primary purpose is to burrow up to 25 feet into the ground before exploding, annihilating any tunnels or passageways near them.

The third day of attacks saw the first reported error on America’s part, as well as the first confirmed deaths from the strikes: warplanes accidentally bombed the offices of a land-mine removal crew outside of Kabul, killing four guards.  The spokeswoman for the Office of the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Afghanistan, Stephanie Bunker, commented that “people must distinguish between combatants and innocent people who are not.”  These remain, however, the only officially confirmed casualties from the strikes.  Taliban officials claimed that over two dozen people were killed on Monday, October 9, and that between 400 and 900 civilians have been killed since then, but the U.S. remains skeptical, as during the early days, planes were simply targeting the same few Taliban air bases, and on later days they were careful not to drop bombs on any sites not suspected to contain Taliban or Al Qaeda officials.  The repetitive early strategy was used to ensure the total destruction of any air forces the Taliban might have had, so that the larger, slower American bombers could be brought in and used without worry.

Large, slow planes such as the AC-130 gun ship, first introduced to Afghan skies on October 15, the ninth day of attacks (peace was held on Friday the 12th in respect for the Muslim holy day).  These low-flying aircraft are heavily equipped with a 150-mm howitzer and a Gatling gun, capable of firing up to 1,800 rounds a minute.  “It tends to be very, very precise fire, pretty heavy fire, and very accurate fire,” said one senior defense official of the “flying artillery piece.”  Also introduced were newly modified and armed RQ-1 Predators, unmanned, propellor-driven aircraft.  Operated by the Air Force and backed up by the CIA, these reconnaissance drones were recently equipped with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, giving the military the ability to “survey and shoot at ground positions from low altitudes without putting pilots at risk.”

On October 16, more mistakes were made by U.S. warplanes.  Bombs from a Navy F/A-18 Hornet “inadvertently struck one or more warehouses used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Kabul,” injuring one employee, according to the Department of Defense.  The resulting explosions destroyed buildings and emergency food supplies.  Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser commented that “it is now evident that we cannot, in reasonable safety, get food to hungry Afghan people.  We’ve reached the point where it is simply unrealistic for us to do our job in Afghanistan.”  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rebutted that “on occasion, there will be people hurt that one wished had not been.  I don’t think there is a way in the world to avoid that.”

Land-based Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles joined the armada on the 11th day of the attacks, flying from bases in Iraq usually restricted under the no-fly zone rules.  Reports indicated that the pilots had hit targets in “most major Afghan cities.”  A British defense official also noted that the air effort was “switching toward Taliban troops employed in field-- those facing the Northern Alliance,” although he added that the opposition forces, comprised mainly of ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks, would not receive close air support.  Pentagon officials also hinted that strikes would move from city suburbs to the rural parts of Afghanistan: “[The Taliban forces] are leaving the cities because they feel like they are targets.  They are out in the countryside, toting around guns.”

Thursday, October 18 marked the beginning of the ground war in Afghanistan, when small numbers of Special Forces were deployed to aid in the CIA’s campaign to urge ethnic Pashtun leaders to separate from the Taliban militia.  “I don’t think we have ever contemplated this being done by air power alone,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained.  An American defense official said it is likely that more Special Forces will be launched soon, with missions of reconnaissance, target designation for aircraft, and possibly direct attacks on Taliban or al Qaeda leaders.

Psychological operations were also underway during the 12th day of the war, informing civilians of what to do and where to go in order to stay safe when U.S. troops arrive.  An  EC-130 “Commando Solo” plane broadcast the following message, according to a Pentagon transcript: “Attention!  People of Afghanistan, United States forces will be moving through your area.  We are here for Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and those who protect them!  Please, for your own safety, stay off bridges and roadways, and do not interfere with our troops or military operations.  If you do this, you will not be harmed.”

While the American people have mixed feelings about sending ground troops to Afghanistan, an overwhelming majority supports the actions taken by the military, despite the potential for casualties.  “Casualty tolerance is extremely high, I would argue, as long as we are engaged in military operations to get the bastards,” Ivo H. Daalder, who worked on the National Security Council under President Clinton in 1995-96, reflected.  The current administration has pledged to continue this fight, and to eventually extend it to all nations that harbor or support terrorists.  Coalition partners in the Middle East and Europe have thus far shown little interest in endorsing this idea, however, and according to national polls, the support of the American people dwindles here as well.  Survey results show that the public seems to be wary of such a broadly-focused war; especially one that is unilateral.
Useful links
Last updated  2008/09/28 08:19:53 PDTHits  162