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Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2004.06.23
Against American Fanaticism

[ A friend forwarded me a copy of a rant from the editorial page from the News Herald by one Phil Lucas, supposed Executive Editor entitled Up Against Fanaticism. It really rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't bother sending them a letter because I doubt I'd be able to change this person's mind, but I thought I'd comment on it here so hopefully I can make an point with someone more reasonable. I will try and refute comments taken from the article. This isn't completely fair but I'll made sure to not take things out of context. ]

One thing is sure. Muslim killers started the one we are in now when they slaughtered more than 3,000 people, including fellow Muslims, in New York City.

The 9/11 commission and other intelligence experts say that Iraq had nothing to do with the "Muslim killers" and 9/11. It's taken more than 19 folks in the Middle East to start the Iraq war. The Bush administration was discussing doing it long before 9/11.

But the thing that amazes me is that a bunch of radical extremists accomplished as much as they did:

I can just see Osama doing his little snoopy dance right now. We handed most of it to him on a silver platter. What a return on their 9/11 investment.

Madeline Albright, the former secretary of state and feckless appeaser who helped get us into this mess, said last week Muslims still resented the Crusades. Well, Madame Albright, if Westerners were not such a forgiving people, we might resent them too.

Sounds to me like this guy resents them for sure. First of all he calls them Muslims which is like calling the KKK Christians as if they are somehow representative. He's trying to use different words and I can understand that. However I'd like to reminded them that there is historical evidence that Hitler was a Christian. Now Christians might argue the fact saying how could such a beast actually believe in the scriptures but I think thats the same argument that the Muslims have over the Islamic extremists. There will always be people who twist, mold, pick, and choose religious beliefs for their own socio-political goals.

Albright, the feckless appeaser, is of course correct. If you listen to what Osama and the other terrorist leaders say to their supporters, they still mention the crusades and other imperialism. That doesn't excuse it of course, and I don't think that Albright was saying so, but we have to understand the mentality here. It's easy to cast this as a Muslim versus Christian struggle and to some degree it probably is but that is a vastly overly simplified and ignorant view.

Our president announced it would be a very long war, then took the battle to the Islamic homeland. Sound familiar?

Yeah but of course Iraq is not their "homeland". I'd argue that Saudi Arabia is. Certainly 15 of the 19 hijackers who actually did kill the 3000 in NYC were from Saudi Arabia. We attack Iraq and send American soldiers to protect Saudi Arabia. Oh and we also pay the Saudis billions every year for their oil so Americans (probably like Mr. Lucas) can drive their big SUVs. Of course Middle Eastern oil funds global terror -- at least indirectly.

There may be a silent majority of peaceful Muslims some live here but that did not save 3,000 people in the World Trade Centers, the millions gassed and butchered in the Middle East.

Huh? What's the point here? Are we talking about bloody hands? How about the thousands and thousands of American Indians slaughtered by the US. How about the 100s of thousands if not millions killed by the brutal dictators and regimes we have supported over the years including (wait for it) Sadam of course. Is he saying that America's hands are somehow cleaner?

What I wonder about is the silent majority of Christians who supported this war. I'm pretty sure it doesn't read "You shall not kill except when the other guy does a bad bad thing". How about the "right to life" proponents who completely miss the fact that 1,000s of Iraqi children have been killed in this war. I just don't don't get it.

It doesn't take a Darwin to figure out that in this world the smartest, the fastest, the strongest, and the most committed always win. No exceptions.

I'll agree with this but maybe I don't agree who's being the "smartest" in this case. Who's winning in Iraq right now? The occupying force always loses. Maybe there's something more to the word "smartest".

Those are the people out to kill you. Who do you think will win? You? Or them? Think you can take your ball and go home and they will leave you alone?

Those are the options? "Going home" or starting a war -- a unjustified, completely unilateral war with the wrong country for fabricated reasons? Those are our only 2 options?

I'll choose door number 3 please Johnny. I argue that we can take it to them but in a smart way. We can be tough on the perpetrators without getting into another holy war that I can't really believe Mr. Lucas is advocating. We need to go after and takes the legs out from under the terrorists without (and this is key) handing them recruitment material. We had so so much public opinion in our favor after 9/11 that we have completely blown now. We need to be the gentle giant, firm and brutal when necessary, but highly selective.

I don't think any of the "peaceful Muslim minority" would fault us for capturing and trying specific perpetrators (killing if capture not possible and the evidence significant). But even our best friends in Iraq are uncomfortable with the war and the never ending occupation. How can they but see the Crusade similarities and see this as a Christian imperial hegemony move. The Bush camp has done quite the opposite from their campaign literature. Now with Sadam gone, terrorist groups are running rampant in Iraq. I'm sure they are raising money and getting conscripts to fight the imperial dogs daily.

To Mr. Lucas, all I can say is that I wish you and your paper the best of luck with your sanctioned holy war. It took 100s of years the last time and I see no reason why the Neocon way has any chance of being quicker this way. But maybe I shouldn't worry because in the end we'll "win" because more of them will be dead. Millions will be dead but we'll be winners. We'll have a police state in our land of the "free" but we will be winners.

We all have to live on this little planet of ours. That means that we will have to come to understand the other cultures and peoples -- especially our opposition. We can talk about justice and punishment when necessary but it has to be done carefully least we empower our enemy and the evil forces who thrive on war and strife will win in the end.

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