Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Peace is Never Unilateral (The Count is Now: 55)

By the time I decided whether or not to include this article in The Count, I had cooled off enough to proceed without it. At issue today is an editorial from the Guardian of the UK. This was written in response to the bombings in Madrid.

An international conference, to bridge the divide between Muslim and Christian communities, should be one first step.

I don't think that I have ever seen a clearer example of "Since what we have done hasn't worked, let's see if more of the same will do the trick" reasoning. We have been talking and discussing and conferring for the past thirty years. How many people have died due to terrorists in that time? By what reasonable measure can it be said that this is working?

We need to take the fight against terror out of America's hands.

I did add to The Count just now. "We need to the the fight against terror out of America's hands."? I suppose that might be a good idea. After all, the only things that have happened since America took the fight in its own hands have been the fall of the Taliban, the fall of Saddam Hussein, over half of Al Qaeda's leadership dead or in prison, the handover of Libya's WMD programs, Iran allowing IAEA inspectors to examine their nuclear weapons program, and North Korea engaging in multi-lateral talks. No, nothing positive at all.

We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response.

I'm going to add my response to "War is Not the Answer" to my critique of this line. I entirely agree. I am thirty years old, and I am tired of all of the war and violence and bloodshed in the world. I fully believe that war and violence are the worst possible things that humans can bring upon this earth.

My question is: When do the terrorists learn that? When do they get past the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys? Yes, we need a collective response, but those who are attacking us have to be part of that collective. Unless and until then there can not be peace. I am not racist enough to think that the Muslim world is incapable of holding up its end of any type of peaceful consensus, nor do I think that the Western world can or should ensure peace only by its own action.

When was the last time Al Qaeda issued demands stating what had to be done in order to prevent further attacks? Never. If they have demands, then it is only that we should cast aside anything that is not Muslim in our culture and embrace the will of Allah. They are on a Crusade. They hate us because we give lie to their religion. We do not adhere to the tenets of their faith, and yet we are prosperous, healthy, and reap all of the other benefits that Allah should only bestow upon the faithful. Therefore, we must have gotten what we have by evil means, and that they must be the avenging hand of God to smite the unrighteous down into their proper place. Al Qaeda are not "beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys." They are the Good Guys, and we are the Bad Guys.

I want my as of yet hypothetical children to never have to fear that their lives may be turned upside down, or even ended, because they are different than someone else. There are only two powers that can make that come to pass. One is for those who follow the path of radical Islam to set aside their weapons and agree to live and let live. The other is for us to destroy them. If they show us a sincere intent to use the first power, then we shall have peace. If they continue to fail to do so, then they shall be destroyed, and we shall have to continue wondering who else in the world hasn't yet gotten the message.

(via Andrew Sullivan and The New Republic)

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