Saturday, July 09, 2005

let us not be the bull in the bullfight

somehow the bull just never seems to get it.  he has all the brawn but none of the brains.  the matador waves that red cape and the bull charges at the wrong target again and again.  he becomes more and more violently angry.  and when finally the bull is exhausted, he is easily finished.

what do the terrorists really want?  do they want strong and effective international justice?  of course not.  for in that case they would be tried and punished as the monstrous criminals they are.  no, what the terrorists really want is injustice, the more the better for them.  it is injustice which provides their cover.  it is injustice that recruits their adherents.  it is injustice that feeds their quest for jihad.

what the terrorists want is for us to wage more illegal and immoral wars.  what they want is more violence.  what they want is for us to oppress more innocent populations, for us to be more brutal and indiscriminate.  for only then will those populations protect them.  only in the depths of despair and humiliation will those populations embrace their siren song of hate and revenge.  only then will those people accept the repression of the liberty and freedom the terrorists preach in the name of their religion.

so what are we to make of it when the terrorists excuse their attacks with demands for justice?

there are those who say that if we "give in" to the demands of the terrorists, then the terrorists win.  how are we to respond when the terrorists demand what the vast majority of their people also want, that we get off their backs, stop murdering their people, stop occupying their lands, stop denying them their own sovereignty and destiny?  how are we to respond when the terrorists demand what the increasing majority of our own people want, that we stop sacrificing our best and bravest young souls for wars based on lies, that we stop destroying the economy of our country by pumping the whole of our treasury into a desert hell hole without end?  who really wins if we do the right thing, irrespective of what the terrorists demand?

in their moments of candor the terrorists admit they like the current administration policies very much.  they were rooting for the current administration in the last election.  it serves their purposes.  it charges after the wrong targets over and over.  instead of correcting the injustice which is the breeding material for terrorism, its strategy is as if to bomb cockroaches with food garbage.  it is consumed with its own arrogance, anger and frustration and rallies its supporters to be the same.

our country often fancies itself as the world's policeman.  but a policeman's job is to apprehend criminals where it can, not to execute them on the spot without trial.  a policeman's job is not to strike out blindly, not knowing who the enemy really is, to maim and kill thousands of the innocent along with the guilty.  there is a fine line between being the world's policeman and being the world's bully . . . and being the world's most feared oppressor, which is what we have become in the eyes of most of the rest of the civilized world.

what happens if we "give" the terrorists what "they," and the whole rest of the world, want?  what happens if we truly stand up for international justice, and truth, and cooperation and security?  do the terrorists win?  no, they do not.  "they" lose.  then they will become pariahs in their own communities, preaching the hatred that none of their people want anything to do with. then they become isolated and vulnerable.  then they will be turned in by their own people, not protected as folk heros.  as it stands now, if bin laden were the starting center for the karachi jihadists basketball team, there isn't a muslim for a thousand miles who would say a word.

there are many who say we must now win in iraq, that whatever the lies that brought us there, we must now persevere on the same course.  has there ever been a bull in a bullfight that has ever considered a change in strategy?  if it was wrong for us to have gone into iraq the way we did, staying there just compounds the atrocity.  two war crimes do not make a right.  adding yet more does not change the equation.

how can we be strong in the world if we are weak at home, draining our resources in a battle that cannot be won?  the iraqi people will have in the end a government of their own free choosing, and they may well have already chosen a theocracy in their defiance of us.  it is their country not ours, and until we renounce all designs over their land, and their government, and their resources, they will never stop resisting, and their people will never stop supporting that resistance.  the forced allies in our so-called coalition will desert us one by one, as their own people cry "enough", and their leaders tire of our hypocrisy.

if there is to be peace and security in the middle east, or anywhere else in the world, the entire world community must be engaged.  that can never happen as long as we make it clear we are determined to go it alone, on our own bullheaded superpower path regardless. 

we must declare in a meaningful way that we do not seek military control or undue influence over iraq and its oil.  we must back up our words by setting a timetable for swift and complete withdrawal.  if we do so the rest of the world will step forward again to find diplomatic and political solutions, instead of shunning us as they increasingly do now.  they can't afford not to.  a stable and peaceful middle east is in the interest of all.  but it is our very unilateral military presence that makes that impossible.  our military is not the solution.  it is the problem.

some worry that if we simply withdraw that iraq will become vulnerable to invasions by other neighboring countries.  what foolishness.  what country would want to inherit the resistance we have done so much to create?  what country would want to assume our mantle of failure?

others fret of the danger of civil war.  and yet our presence is fomenting such a development as attacks increase on those seen as collaborators.  if we were to begin a meaningful withdrawal, those iraqis seeking to enforce their own security would no longer be seen as the enemy of their own people.  if the majority of the iraqi people will not seize on the opportunity to unite and control their own country, they are even more foolish than we.  in the meantime, the situation grows worse by the day.

we do not have to control all the world's oil to ensure our own national security.  with the money we have already squandered in iraq so far, we could be well on our way to developing the technology to make our country totally energy independent.  and the cost may well soon double, still with no end in sight.  with a small fraction of that money the government of china is proposing to buy unocal.  if we were to get serious about conservation we could say to the middle east, "swim in your oil if you want to."

even the most evil of men wrap themselves in the cloak of righteousness.  they claim that the evil that they do is for a righteous cause.  the terrorists wave at us the red cloak of justice, pretending to be champions of it.  and if we charge after that cloak, to attack it, to try to rip it to shreds, then we have become as the bull.  if we continue to commit injustice and say it's because the terrorists are demanding otherwise, we can only lose.  we will consume our military, our economy and our respect in the world, until all are exhausted.  then and only then can the terrorists win, as the matador always does in the bullfight.


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