Thursday, July 07, 2005

how’s that war on terror thing goin’ for ya?

There’s a joke my mom used to annoy me with as a child:
A man goes to the doctor. He says to the doctor, “It hurts when I do this,” as he raises his arm. The doctor replies, “Well, don’t do that.”
Now, insert ‘reads Seattle Umbrella Conspiracy’ where it says “raises his arm” and ‘Quiana’ where it says “doctor.”

I’ve been listening to the coverage of the London bombings all morning on NPR. Finally an analyst gets on and says what every analyst has known all along: you can’t stop terrorism. You simply can’t. We can be vigilant, wary, and prepared, but people will always feel subjugated and where they feel subjugated there will be terrorism.

Anybody read, oh say the Bible? Moses and Pharaoh ring any bells? Moses makes threats and then wipes out the first born sons of both combatants and non-combatants alike. Terrorism. How about US history? Native Americans massacre a bunch of missionaries and settlers. Terrorism. How about the guys who dressed up as Indians and started destroying British property then sneaking around blowing up the law and order sent from abroad to protect the property? Funny how history picks good guys and bad guys isn’t it? We love the underdogs, until they’re blowing up our stuff.

England is used to living as a terrorist target. Anyone remember the IRA, or am I alone in this? America has a major incident of terrorism (not to be insensitive or devalue 9/11) and now all of the sudden we care about global terrorism (how about the plane hijackings of the 70’s and incident at the ’72 Olympics- I guess we didn’t care about terrorism then because it didn’t affect “us”). Just like in WW2 we sit around picking our noses completely ignoring the problem and just like then, in another “date which will live in infamy” (anyone even remember that first date o’ infamy?) we get wounded on our home territory and go in guns blazing. Except terrorism isn’t like WW2. There isn’t a field, no homeland to bomb, and no allied armies to bolster. THERE IS NO WAR TO WIN.

Just like Israel has accepted terrorism as part of daily life, so must we. Just like Israel, we have been playing hardball and now when our enemies start pushing hard we get offended. Unfortunately this is what happens when you go from being the righteous and plucky underdog to the shady global power hidden behind flowery ideals. I guess it’s tough being a hegemonic global regime. Poor us.

Luckily, being one of the wealthiest countries in the world means that we can afford expensive precautionary measures. Lord knows that policy change would be “letting terrorists win.” As we all know diplomacy doesn’t ever stop American military campaigns, except that one time in Vietnam, and that other time in Cuba, well, and that other time when we seceded from Britain.

Oh and another thing, now that I’ve brought up Vietnam…. Hey let’s do that again. Let’s get involved with another country’s civil war, by waging a largely unpopular and completely unsuccessful campaign in the enemy’s home court, until, at great length, we are forced by global and internal pressure to sign an embarrassing cease fire, with no discernable benefit for America other than making the war stop.

Chris Rock has this sketch about the Backstreet Boys, the punch line is: “Backstreet Boys? Why would you wanna do that? Didn't you see New Kids on the Block? Don't you know how this movie's gonna end?”


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