Like abolitionists, civil rights activists and opponents of the wars in Vietnam before them, those who question the endless U.S. war on terror are routinely dismissed as naive.
But what should we call those whose trillion-dollar wars hold no answers for a disturbed Nigerian young man willing to blow up an airplane on Christmas? What about those whose bombs could not prevent a Jordanian spy from killing himself and eight others on a CIA base in Afghanistan?
Predator drones and troop surges could not stop these threats. But U.S. invasions, missiles and torture surely fueled them. And the cycle of violence rolls on.
In the law, we have the concept of a rebuttable presumption, which is the notion that a fact is taken to be true until and unless there is sufficient evidence presented to prove otherwise.
I think of that concept when I hear supporters of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq insisting that critics of the violently oxymoronic quest for peace must provide a better alternative.
"Not even the reliably pliable "just war" theory Obama cited is a match for illegal and immoral acts like remote-control bombings that claim the lives of civilians."
Religious conflict experts like Mark Juergensmeyer and Afghanistan experts like Tamim Ansary are among many who have eloquently explained why and how to nonviolently confront the roots of terrorism. Even so, it seems the burden of proof is misplaced.
Nearly every religious and moral philosophy holds that it is the responsibility of those who would send foreign combatants, civilians and U.S. soldiers to their deaths to demonstrate the efficacy of the brutality.
As the saying goes, when Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, it seems pretty clear he did not mean we should kill them. Perhaps we who launch "Hellfire" missiles should consider what the name suggests about the source of manufacture and delivery.
Laboring to overcome this rebuttable presumption of nonviolence, which seems to hold true at least on occasions when one is accepting a Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama recently argued for the necessity of his wars.
But the former law professor's Oslo argument was undercut by the fact that the expert witnesses he cited, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., would have laid down their own bodies in front of the missiles Obama fires. They would have marched in opposition to the skewed priorities of a country that shells out a trillion dollars for two wars but cannot afford basic health care for the poor.
Not even the reliably pliable "just war" theory Obama cited is a match for illegal and immoral acts like remote-control bombings that claim the lives of civilians.
So a country that trumpets its commitment to justice denies it for our Muslim captives. Our president cites the prophets of peace while ramping up war.
And in a thousand places around the globe, our hypocrisy serves as justification for potential martyrs who see their destiny being fulfilled in airplanes and military bases and office buildings.
Those who respond to terrorism with more troops and more violence are pouring gasoline on the flame, and then expressing shock when the fire rages on.
Who is being naive now?
Fran Quigley is a visiting professor of law at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and a staff attorney for Indiana Legal Services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.