Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Confused and Divided

This is a confusing war. Few of us are sure who or what we’re fighting. Are we at war with terror? Terror is a thing - an extreme fear - and that’s what our leaders say we’re fighting. I suppose we humans are always fighting fear of one kind or another, but an organized war against a thing? Our Constitution says Congress has sole power to declare war and the president sole power to carry it out as commander-in-chief. Did Congress declare war on a thing?

Maybe some Americans believe we’re fighting a thing but I doubt it. If they think about it, they must consider who is using terror against us. We’re divided according to how we answer three essential questions: Who are the terrorists? Why are they attacking us? How should we respond?

First, who is attacking us? Some say it’s al Qaida because they’re the only ones who attacked us on September 11th. Others say it’s not just them but other Arab Muslim terrorist organizations as well such as Hezbollah, who have killed hundreds of Americans and were most recently at war with Israel. Still others say it’s not just Arab Muslim terrorists, but all Muslim terrorists including Iranians (who are not Arab but Persian), Indonesians, Filipinos, Pakistanis and several other kinds of Muslims as well. The only commonality is that they’re all Muslims, which means that they’re all followers of Islam. These Americans believe we’re fighting a newly-resurgent form of Radical Islam followed by many Muslims from all ethnic groups. Not all Muslims are terrorists, they say, but all terrorists are Muslims.

Secondly, why are they attacking us? Some Americans think it’s because we deserve it. Former University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill commented on September 11th, saying: “Why did it take Arabs to do what we here should have done a long time ago?” He called September 11th victims “little Eichmans,” as if were they who want to kill Jews and not the Muslims who attacked us - who compare Jews to dogs and pigs. Other professors said similarly outrageous things and were defended by still other professors who claimed they were not traitors, but only exercising academic freedom.

Other Americans think we didn’t deserve September 11th, but think we oppress Muslims, steal their oil, support Israel, and all this angers them enough to attack us. They think America is controlled by big corporations who steal natural resources from third-world nations everywhere and the world hates us for it.

Other Americans were shocked by the 9-11 attack and have been trying since to figure out why Muslims hate us, but they aren’t sure yet.

Still others think Radical Muslims hate us and want to kill us because we’re not Muslims, because we don’t want to convert to Islam, and because we’re their biggest obstacle to taking over the world and making it Muslim. After the conquest, they think, ruling caliphs would impose Islamic law called Sharia, make men grow beards, make women wear burkhas, then kill fornicators and homosexuals. They think we’re evil, the Great Satan.

Finally, how should we respond? Those who think we deserved to be attacked suggest that we cooperate in our own demise. They’d like to see America as we know it collapse. Others who think we didn’t deserve such a harsh attack believe a measured response is warranted, and we should have limited our counterattack to Afghanistan. They see the Iraq war as going too far and making Muslims even more angry at us. They think we should put it all behind us now, pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and move on.

Others of us think we’re not going far enough - that our limited war and measured responses give our enemies the impression that we’re not willing to do whatever it takes to win - that this strategy encourages our enemies who will hold out against us for now, then step up their attacks as our resolve weakens. These Americans think we should go all out - destroy Radical Islam by hunting down and killing terrorists while taking out the governments of any countries that supports terrorists, such as Syria and Iraq. They believe in the Bush Doctrine of preemptive strikes even though Bush himself seems to have abandoned it. Many have relatives on the front lines and display yellow ribbons on their vehicles.

Fewer than half of eligible Americans will actually vote in ten weeks. Meanwhile, senators and congressmen travel around their districts appealing to as many groups as possible. As Senator Lieberman discovered, this war, however we understand it, is issue number one. Most of us will still be confused about it after the election - unless we’re attacked again. That would focus our minds.


tomax7 said...

I have to agree with you Tom, this war is starting to get confusing.

I'm all for ridding the world of evil and those who adhere to religious doctrine without allowing free thought or challenge.

Me thinks the Afgan and Iraq loyalties lie as far as the dollar goes, in other words to the highest bidder.

This is starting to look like Vietnam more and more. What will history say in 10 years? We didn't put enough boots down? We didn't nuke the place when we had a chance, or kick out Islamofacsists and Inman's spewing hatred in North American mosques because of Political Correctness?

It is hard to fight an enemy when it is us.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Good points tomax. What history says in ten years depends on whether you read Howard Zinn or Victor David Hanson, I guess.

It's looking like Vietnam, yes. The outcome doesn't have to look that way though. It's still in the voters' hands. November will be interesting indeed.

tomax7 said...

I can't help thinking the Bible passage about God putting "hooks in their jaws" meaning Russia (Gog/Magog) Persia (Iran) Ethiopia, Gomer (Germany) all wanting to attack Israel.

For that to happen, the US must be weakened or turns her back on helping Israel. Maybe due to homegrown terrorists are too much to handle, Political Correctness nutralizing our countries, or scary, the great Babylon where people wail and lament her burning is New York after a being hit by a dirty bomb...

Ironically, the same leftist airheads will blame Bush for not stomping out the terrorists with a nuke when he had a chance...