Sunday, June 19, 2005

Terrorism for Everyman

What should we do?...

Last Friday I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal that is worth a look by us all. Although the Journal requires a sign up (which has a free period, before charging you) I have found this to be a quality publication that always make me think beyond the static we often get on television and radio.

Daniel Henninger makes some very convincing points about the current state of affairs in Iraq,

Living in the U.S., one could make the cold-blooded calculation that 21,000 dead and 55,000 injured from all terrorist acts over 10 years (actual statistics) is a drop in the bucket and that the war in Iraq has mainly increased the rate of death. This may be true. But if as many suicide bombs went off in Manhattan as have gone off in Israel, Manhattanites would have demanded martial law and the summary execution of suspects on street corners. Their greatest goal in life would not be, as it is now, the closing of interrogation rooms on Guantanamo but instead the erasure of terrorists hiding across the East River.

And then, to finish:

No matter how fat the diet of stories about Iraq suicide bombings or Gitmo shoved down our throats and no matter how many distraught opinion-poll results come back up, no serious person can allow post-9/11 American security to be reduced to that. The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act -- whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir. These matters have been at the heart of John Bolton's marooned nomination to the U.N. Mr. Bolton's adversaries criticize his impatience with large bureaucracies tasked to the war on terror, such as the State Department, and worry he won't respect the U.N. "system." The U.N. itself has never been able to even agree on a definition of terror. A high-level U.N. panel bluntly concluded last year: "Lack of agreement on a clear and well-known definition undermines the normative and moral stance against terrorism and has stained the United Nations' image." Little wonder, then, that our own news coverage of these repeated slaughters of civilians in Iraq also lacks any normative or moral context unfavorable to the perpetrators. And little wonder that in such a world the only "side" many people in the U.S. feel comfortable with is heading for the exits.

This was striking to me. Why do we not hear that blowing up your own citizens is morally bankrupt, not to mention essentially insane? This is anarchy, and we cannot simply walk away from the table here. Where would we be as a nation now if, during World War II, we had ignored the moral implications of simply doing nothing or walking away from the serious problems of other nations and cultures?

Tonight, as I turn out the lights, I will pray for our troops in harms way, and for the leaders of the fledgling nation of Iraq, that peace might prevail and the insanity would stop.

Lord, hear my prayer.
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