Friday, August 11, 2006

Raise Your Hand If You Hate Terrorism

You raised your hand, didn't you? Silly, this is a blog, I can't see you. But, I can be bipartisan on this issue. I can even be unpartisan. This Dailykos post details some of the recent "you support terrorism" charges made against candidates for national office. Hell, a CNN anchor even asked a question today that implied that Ned Lamont is an Al-Qaeda supporting candidate. Sheesh.

That we're even having "you support terrorism" arguments strikes me as wildly ludicrous. While I happen to believe that invading Iraq and focusing so much attention and money there, when the threats to America come from everywhere else, is a nutty strategy that helps Middle Eastern terrorists rather than hurts them, I don't think that anybody who supports that war, including the people who waged it, actually support terrorism as a concept. Nobody on either side of American politics actually supports terrorism. Well, not nobody. Some support killing doctors who perform abortions (and that's terrorism) and some are members of racist, extremist groups or supported Timothy McVeigh (homegrown terrorism) but nobody outside of a truly lunatic (to the point of being akin to whacked our serial killers) actually supports terrorism as a way to make changes in the world.

Some say we're at war with a fascist element of Islam and they think that war is the "War on Terror." I take a broader view and I even view 9-11 not within the context of Islam but within the context of desperate people from all walks of life and from all races and creeds who will sometimes create attrocities because they just don't see any other way to influence world events. To me, Mohammed Atta is less easily grouped with the Islamic religion than he is with Lee Harvey Oswald or John Hinckley Jr. or Timothy McVeigh or the folks down in Nigeria's Niger Delta who kidnap oil workers and bomb pipelines.

Nobody on either side of American politics supports terrorism. We disagree about how to effectively deal with it, but nobody supports it. Some folks on my side of the political spectrum avidly opposed our post 9-11 invasion of Afghanistan. I think they were wrong. I even think we should have had a much larger invasion and that we should now be doing far more to create stability there than we are in Iraq. Heck, had I had my way, we'd have put so much into Afghanistan that Iraq wouldn't even have been an option. Whatever. That's all about tactics and specific issues.

What I loathe is the notion, that primarily is coming from the right wing at the moment, that our political debates have recently devolved into people accusing each other of supporting terrorism as a concept. It's just not so. Nobody supports that.

The whole darned security debate as become, at least so far as elections are concerned, dangerously juvenile. We're debating about "who supports terrorism or not," when we should be debating about how to deal with the very broad issue.

Some liken America's current relations with the very fuzzy concept that's been called "Islamofascism" with the cold war. Mark Schmitt at TPMCafe tells why that's a false comparison. Back during our Cold War with the Soviet Union, especially during the early years, there really were Americans who took the communist side and who thought that the Soviets had it right and we didn't. The most thoughtful among them quickly stopped supporting the Soviets after they learned just how bad, and how far from Marxist ideals, Stalin was. But, it is true that back then, there were Americans on the other side of the issue. But... unlike what we face now, communism (or socialism or Marxism) was a real issue in that it was an ideology that was not only coherent but that purported to raise the standard of living for most people, not to kill innocents. Soviet communism, like Chinese communism and Cuban communism, did not live up to its own ideals and it became, frankly, evil. But there was a root philosophy that reasonable people could find reason to support.

Terrorism, as an ideology distinct from Islam or any religious or political structure, does not have a similar intellectual foundation that any reasonable person in America, particularly one accomplish enough to make a legitimate run for a national office, could possibly support.

As I started this post I said that we all raised our hands to say that we hate terrorism. Of course we did. That's a no-brainer. I'm pretty darn sure that we all (unless Ann Coulter is reading this) reject the notion of killing innocents in order to effect political change.

So we all need to grow up. We're against terrorism. It's been established. Even the person you hate most is against it. Now, let's have some real debates.


At 10:18 AM , Blogger tifanie said...

Very well said. Now that you've cleared that up for them, they can get back to hurling more reasonable accusations, like of sodomy or flag-burning.

At 7:39 PM , Blogger Jon E. said...

Good point, Tifanie.

And don't forget accusations of being soft on crime. I miss accusations about people being soft on crime.

(When I mount my unsuccessful campaign for some petty office, I think I'll run on the slogan, "Soft on Crime, Hard for Sodomy.")

At 12:32 PM , Blogger tifanie said...

Please do, Jon. And let me know how to get the bumper sticker.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home