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"… in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent…"

Terror in the Best Laid Plan

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There is no war that cannot be won, no victory too far out of reach. When you have the power to change the world in a single stroke, that must be your mindset. Nothing is too hard to try, no distance is too far to travel, for the causes that must be championed. But your tactics must be correct, and they must be just.

In today’s war on terror, fought this way, there is no victory.

A war against an ideology, no matter how twisted that ideology may be, cannot be won through strength of arms. The casualties suffered in the civil rights movement, a war against blind hate, were not those of the antagonists, but of the oppressed. Victory was achieved through devotion to the belief that the greater humanity in people would shine through the seemingly impenetrable walls of hate, and dedication to the words of our forefathers that all men were created equal and granted certain inalienable rights, no matter the color of their skin or the hatred in their hearts.

Our enemies in this war must be shown the world’s humanity, as well as their own. So too must the people of this nation, and those in charge of this war, understand the humanity of our enemies. The media, following the example of our governments, would paint everyone that involves themselves with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations as monsters. This is simply inconceivable to the rational mind.

What you have are several charismatic, opportunistic people, who understand well the plight of their neighbors, and how to exploit it. They tell a father of three children, who struggles to put food on his family’s table, that the industrialized nations of the western world have co-opted his suffering, that they profit while his family goes without. They tell an impressionable son that his father was executed, his mother raped, not by the corrupt regime that rules his country, but by the wealthy nations who turn a blind eye while paying the assassins for oil.

There are monsters among our enemies, but they are few.

Nonetheless, our policy has been to treat those who oppose us as mindless creations of hate put on this world to make us suffer, and that they must die by our hand for it. But what is the result of that policy other than death and dismay? What but vengeance do we achieve through killing a man who has had the greatest fears of his heart turned against his mind by evil words?

We will never kill all the people that would inspire or be inspired by hate and fear. But, as we try to do just that, as we try to make the impossible a reality through our own hate and fear, we breed more enemies.

The pain of death is not for the dead; it is the living that suffer on. It is the loved ones of those we kill that we invite to be our enemy. It is the man whose son, the subject of all the pride he can muster in a world that looms over him, has been killed, that we make a target for evil words. It is the boy who, even if he doesn’t truly understand it, sees the hopelessness of his situation, contrasted with the celebrations of martyrdom for those we kill, that will see a purpose in evil deeds.

It is any of those people that will be inspired to continue the cycle of hate when they have lost someone that made them laugh in hard times, someone they could confide in when they were most in need of a sympathetic ear, someone whose tears they have shared when the world seemed to be caving in around them, someone they knew was not evil, even if that loved one had been led astray. It is for these people, who without the pain of loss to weigh so heavily on their hearts would never be swayed by cunning words, that we must change the very foundation of this war.

We cannot kill them all, and for the sake of our own humanity, we must not try. To win this war, we must drive to the very heart of how hate is bred. To put out a fire, you cannot simply blow away the smoke; you must put out the flames at its base.

This is our burden to bear. Though it feels right, even to me, to want the people that have hurt us to pay the ultimate price, the nature of our burden forbids us from engaging in a war that has been fought much more conventionally than we would like to admit. This is our burden because of our strength, which has led us to victory for our independence, held our union together in times of great division, and stayed the hand of an evil tyrant bent on world domination. This is our burden because of our prosperity, even in these uncertain times that test our resolve. This is our burden because of what the United States stands for.

Our country stands for some of the greatest ideals the world has ever known. Freedom from tyranny. An opportunity for every man and woman to better their own lives. The belief that every man, woman, and child on this earth deserves the right to live their life to the fullest without the interference of their government on their personal lives. These are the goals of a free society. These are our goals, and we have made them a reality for ourselves, as has much of the western world.

But this freedom is not available to those who would do us harm. They are held down by their governments, made to be weak and subservient. The ruling class, made wealthy by the world’s need for oil, uses that wealth not to build a stable infrastructure for their people, not to ensure that their nations will be strong and their people fulfilled, not to offer even the lowest among them the chance at achieving their greatest desires, but to line their own pockets. They buy yachts and build lavish palaces, while their people suffer in poverty.

To these people, Allah is their only ally, and the western world that props up these dictators is their greatest enemy. And the evil manipulators among know this well.

We say they hate us for our freedom, and in that we are right, but for the wrong reasons. They hate us not because we are free, but because they are not, and we will not help them. To win this war, we must share our freedom with those on the other side. We must end our dependence on foreign oil and develop affordable alternative fuels, so that we can have an ounce of leverage against the corrupt regimes that would use our money for their own pleasure, and not the betterment of their people. For the sake of granting freedom to every child of God, we must change our lifestyle from the selfish approach that asks, “How can this be done easiest, cheapest?” to “How can this be done best?”

To win the war on terror, we must remove terror from the hearts of those who are susceptible to attacks on their soul. We must grant them the freedom that every human being so desperately requires. We must show them that there is compassion in this world, even if their own governments will not. We must believe that the human soul is more powerful than hate, and more powerful than any bullet or any bomb could ever be.

This is our burden to bear.


Written by oobiedoo

December 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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