<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> 'War' on terrorism won't work
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'War' on Terrorism Won't Work

An angered and cautionary response to the notion that we are at war against terrorism.

by Brian F. Hartz


This article was previously published in The Synapse.

Be most careful about accusing the opponent of wickedness. ... Those whom we regard as wicked as a rule return the compliment. ... Madness answered with madness simply deepens, it never dispels. Mahatma Gandhi

I know what you're all thinking: Kill the bastards.

President Bush says we're at war. Good vs. Evil, round two. Salute the flag and join the army, boys, it's going to be a humdinger when Uncle Sam descends on Afghanistan and blasts those fuckers back to the Cretaceous Era.

The war rhetoric started flying just minutes after the second World Trade Center tower collapsed Tuesday; it has only gained steam since then. The American people want blood and we want it fast. It doesn't really matter whose blood; some Arabs' will do just fine.

No one wants to stop and think about what this so-called "war" on terrorism will accomplish -- nothing.

That's right. Armed conflict -- indeed, violence of any kind -- rooted in vengeance does not equal justice. This country is going to learn some lessons in the coming weeks about the nature of revenge; namely, that it's not as easy as going in with some tanks and planes and wiping out some tents and shacks in the desert. And it won't solve the problem of terrorism either.

Do we as a nation honestly believe that the breed of terrorist who is unafraid to die by smashing a 767 into a skyscraper will be frightened into submission by military action? They're expecting it. And we're going to serve it up, willingly and according to the playbook.

Violence breeds violence ... and fear ... and hate. But not patience. Bush and company want war. They think we, the people, all want war, too. They say the country is united against terrorism. That may be so, but we're not all united for war.

As these words are being written, two and a half days after the terrible events in New York and Washington DC, aircraft carriers are being repositioned, military reserve officers are being called up, and the president is initiating his "monumental struggle of good versus evil."

Let the demonization begin. We now have an enemy.

What this nation doesn't realize is that we are, in many ways, our own enemies. Our foreign policy has bred the hatred that is now being visited upon us by terrorists. Is it any wonder, then, the news media -- in all of its non-stop, commercial-free coverage of the tragedies in New York and Washington -- hasn't bothered to offer any in-depth explanations of the terrorists' possible motives? Of course not, because that would, in turn, necessitate a critique of US foreign policy.

We just want to kill.

Death and destruction of the magnitude that occurred Sept. 11, 2001, is meant to send a message. The terrorists who attacked the US that day sent out a clarion call, a scream of defiance and rage in the very heart and soul of the world's only superpower. But did we stop to re-think our foreign and economic policies? No. Are we going to? No. Blood lust, plain and simple, motivated the government's knee-jerk reaction to these events, just as it did in the wake of tragedies such as Pearl Harbor and Oklahoma City.

"This is now the focus of my administration," Bush said, "now that war has been declared."

Yeah, George, we were sure getting sick and tired of education, Social Security, the environment, and other prickly issues posing as potential foci for your administration. What's that? War? Oh yeah, that's much simpler and fun! This is the "first war of the 21st century," in the president's own words. ("And hopefully not the last!" he wanted to add but didn't, I'm betting.)

And to think some of us had the nerve to hope that we could leave war back where it belongs, in the 20th century.

Nine months and 11 days into the new century -- some things never change.

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