|What comes next? -- 09/17/01|
I'm still trying to come to grips with what has happened during the past week...
On one hand, there is little point to it -- the power to make the big decisions that have to be made does not lie in my hands -- and yet, beyond the psychological need to attempt to make sense of it all, I do need to think about what is to be done because as a citizen in a democracy, the ultimate power does lie in my hands.
I can write to my representatives to make my thoughts known, I can write letters to newspapers, I can speak out in public, I can post my thoughts in online forums, I can write my thoughts here... I can freely and openly express myself... and when election time comes around I can vote.
The terrorist scum who have struck at the people of the United States are not from lands that honor democracy... they despise democracy and freedom... they hate us because we are free. They come from lands ruled by despots, by military juntas, by tribal warlords who call themselves "kings,", by collections of crazed religious fanatics... The only true democracy in their area of the world is a nation they have sworn to destroy.
I do not think we should attempt a military invasion of Afghanistan, nor of any other country. I think we should announce that we demand that bin Laden and his followers be turned over to us... and the same for all of the other Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Some people have asked if we can prove that bin Laden is responsible. It doesn't matter. These people are terrorists. They have murdered many Americans before what happened last week. Does it matter if any particular terrorist is guilty of this murder but not that murder?
We announce to the so-called leaders of these areas (Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, etc., and let's not forget the Palestinians) that they have, say, seventy-two hours to produce the terrorists (dead or alive, no preference) and that because of their previous support for these terrorists we are holding them personally responsible for this process... not their army or their navy, and not their civilian population... but the leaders themselves (and their families and their friends and their helpers) and that we will blockade their country so that they cannot escape (any plane will be shot down, any ship will be sunk, etc.) and reach the fortunes they have stashed in Swiss banks and we will destroy their headquarters, their palaces, etc. until they capitulate... or until their deaths, in which case we will then have a similar discussion with their replacements.
Oh dear, what about due process? Forget about due process... this is a war, not a court case. Our goal should not the arrest of bin Laden, it should be his death (and the same for his followers). When our troops landed at Normandy they were not pausing to recite Miranda rights nor did they first attempt to determine if each particular German soldier had personally performed any prior hostile action against the United States. These terrorists are self-proclaimed terrorists; their organizations brag about murder, they issue public statements claiming credit for killing innocent civilians. (They prefer to kill civilians because most of them have neither the courage nor the skill to face armed soldiers.) These miserable governments have been supporting and aiding the terrorists -- that makes them accomplices -- if they choose to continue to shelter them inspite of our warning... well, perhaps their successors will be more inclined to cooperate.
I suppose we won't really do that.
I don't know what we will actually do.
I fear that it we are about to get embroiled in a long and bloody war.
These fanatics, bin Laden and the rest of his cockroach crew, appear to want that to happen. If we do not take him out now (him and his followers), there will be another attack... and another... until they do get their war. They think that they can defeat the United States and its allies. They see us as fat and wealthy and weak. They watched Bill Clinton for eight years, toss a few cruise missiles, blow-up stuff that has almost nothing to do with bin Laden but at least gets Monica off the front page for a day...
They think we lack the will to fight them and defeat them. They are wrong.
In their myopic ignorance they have neglected to study our history. Can they be that ignorant of our bloody history? If there is a long war, it will be a bloody one and the death toll will be high... but have they not read about our own Civil War? Have they not heard about the fire-bombing of Dresden? Do they not know which nation is the only one to have ever used atomic weapons in combat?
I don't fear that we will lose this war... I fear what we may lose while winning it. I fear the loss of many of our liberities, I fear the loss of many American lives, I fear the world-wide loss of life...I fear for my children, especially my sixteen year old son... but do not doubt it... it will be a bloody victory, but if it comes to an all-out war between us and the Middle East, we will win.