One of the worst things you can do is be afraid.
One of the worst things you can do with a bully be it a belligerent nation, a group of cowardly terrorist rats who constitute a waste of skin, or a fifth grade kid waiting to slap you around tomorrow when you arrive at the school yard--- is to show fear.
That's what the bully loves.
We've heard on this website we're losing the war on terrorism, and people who make such vague statements never qualify them. But from the very beginning of this latest round of troubles starting with our blind-man stupidity in destabilizing Iraq in 2003 and onward, when you look at the scope of history, there is very little new or different here.
A band of extremists are bent on committing mayhem.
Just like the 1890's and the Syndicalist Movement, which was particularly strong in France, the scene of recent terrorist attacks and a massive public protest against them. In 1894 French President Sadi Carnot was assassinated by a terrorist bomb in a wave of bombings and shootings that swept France. This "Syndicalist Movement" had members who were early forerunners of the Bolsheviks. They said they were against imperialism, yet openly embraced criminal conduct.
I don't want to sound callous or minimize problems influencing the Middle East. But there is nothing new or different about mindless violence whether it is motivated by religion, politics or simply a desire to rob people or peddle drugs.
It's all about control----of turf. The drug dealer gang member operates in an area of town. The killings he engages in most Americans don't panic over because the killings have become almost a daily fact of life in some cities, and most often they happen to other gang members, except when an innocent person is caught in the crossfire.
Political extremists do the same in the name of politics, while religious terrorists do it for their religion (they say), but it's really all in the name of controlling ground and the people who live there.
Yes, they want to advance religion, but they want to achieve dominion with the creation of an empire or Caliphate or whatever you want to call it. The Nazis in World War II advanced their beliefs as though they were a religion. Was the indiscriminate Nazi bombing of Rotterdam any less an act of terror than what happened recently in France? Approximately 30,000 Dutch in 1940 were killed.
The world has always been a violent place.
I'm not saying take terrorism in stride or ignore it. I'm just saying we've faced obscene people in the past, and we no doubt will in the future, and we shouldn't act like the world is coming to an end.
What are the ways we show fear and reward terror?
An Islamist militant and political group that ruled large parts of Afghanistan and its capital, Kabul, as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until October 2001. It gained diplomatic recognition from three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich |
One way is to launch a needless war on a country (Iraq) that had nothing to do with an act of terror (9-11), a war launched over false pretenses made by the president, a needless waste of lives that destabilized Iraq and made the area more fertile ground for terrorists.
But that's a done deal, spilt milk, or water under the bridge, and I don't want to be accused of dwelling in the past. Or as one writer on this website put it, engaging in "recrimination," although he has no problem himself recalling the past when it involves mistakes he alleges were made by Democrats.
Another way to show fear is to take away the rights of American citizens. Fear and paranoia always lead to the government trying to gain more power over us and while they can't often control vagabonds hiding in basements and caves around the world----they can control you. Ironically, members of the right wing who always complain about big government (only when enacted by Democrats) favor these programs.
The Patriot Act was a blow to the Constitution, and was supported bipartisan by both Democrats and Republicans.
I won't go into the particulars of the Patriot Act, how it removes due process and allows the government to simply throw you in jail and throw away the key without charge and conviction, based on mere suspicion. But this landmark totalitarian, smoke-screen-titled, repressive piece of draconian legislation foisted on a brainless docile populace, has never come up for a review of its legality and effectiveness, has never involved discussion of its worth---nothing.
Apparently, what just happened in France might force a new look at the Patriot Act.
But for now the Patriot Act is permanent.
Another way is to hold massive (anti-terror) demonstrations like the one in Paris. Although a well-meaning protest and show of solidarity, the good people who engage in it unwittingly thrill and please terrorists who say, "Look at the commotion we caused."
Fanatics have little understanding of civilized conduct including peaceful demonstrations. They probably laugh at them. But they're also impressed with themselves for creating such a stir.
You see, a perpetrator needs to feel important. Like Lee Harvey Oswald, who for the first time in his life got people to know who he was. Or, as a member of the Manson Family once said admiringly, "Oh look, Charlie made the cover of Life Magazine."
More effective, concerted, coordinated action among the countries of the world using political, economic, intelligence gathering, and shared (I mean shared, not just the U.S.) military response is what is needed against terrorism. Not demonstrations that accomplish little other than making people feel better that they are expressing themselves.
I have for several years proposed a United Nations armed force between nations to combat terrorism similar in style to the fictional Star Fleet in the TV show Star Trek, a joint sharing of intelligence, funds, military operations and more. But as usual nobody listens. I'm considered a kook to ignore.
Ignorant rednecks will say I'm trying to sell out U.S. sovereignty.
I was right on the outcome of Iraq, way back in 2002.
Lastly, if we change who we are, if we become totalitarian to battle terrorism, if we become more like the terrorists---we lose.