Saturday, November 26, 2005


The controversy surrounding the Nine-Eleven tragedy has revealed a glaring blind spot in the thinking of the American people. Every since that horrible tragedy American politicians, generals, educators, theologians, and even little old ladies calling in to talk shows have come forward to express both their righteous indignation with Arab terrorists and their opinions on how we should go about defending our shores against terrorism. But in all of that verbiage not one person has asked the fundamental question that is the key to addressing this issue: What would the American people do if, based on the history of black people in this country, an invincible military power took Texas and gave it to Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam to create a homeland for black people, then propped the new nation up with billions of dollars of foreign aid and military hardware?

If we really want to protect America from terrorism it is imperative that America not only ask that question, but answer it honestly. Because when you're dealing with a foe who takes pride in committing suicide for his cause, there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it. Your only line of defense is to try to understand what motivates him.

But the American people are resistant to asking itself this question, because the question requires an honest answer. America doesn’t want to admit that if it were placed in the same position as the Arabs, the American people would do the very same thing that the Arabs are-- right down to declaring its "terrorists" heroes.

As children we learned the old adage that all's fair in love and war. That adage is as true today as it was when we recited it as kids. But since the United States and its allies have equipped themselves with all of the most devastating military hardware, it is to our advantage to attempt to set the rules to war--the most important of which, is that the only approved way of killing people is with the toys that we possess. But that rule leaves most Arab states out in the cold and vulnerable to our whims--like taking their land and passing it out as a gift. So naturally the Arabs have decided to fight the only way that they can, through suicide bombings. Of course, we cry foul, but the Arab response is to thumb its nose at us and say, "So what are you going to do, kill us?"

To think that the world is going to just stand by and allow us to stack the odds in our favor is not only ridiculous, but a monument to our towering arrogance. It is also arrogant to believe that the rest of the world can't see through our alleged concern for the killing of innocent women and children. Every time the Israelis roll their tanks onto, or bomb Arab soil, they kill innocent women and children--and the United States made watching the slaughter of innocent women and children a national pastime during the Viet Nan era, again in Desert Storm, and yet again in whatever they're calling this latest atrocity. Even we described our campaign in Iraq as "Shock and awe". Those terms can only be defined as "terror."

And further, let us not forget that the most unconscionable act of terrorism in the history of mankind was when the United States dropped not one, but two atomic bombs on the women and children of the Japan. In that case, we attempted to justify it by saying it saved countless American lives, but by using that argument we readily admit that terrorism, and the killing of innocent women and children, can indeed be justified under certain conditions.

The American people can be blinded to these issues through the thick fog of patriotism, but the rest of the world is not hindered by our laundered point of view. They see our actions for what they are--terrorism.

But I don't bring these atrocities up to wag my finger at the United States, because in spite of our lapses and tendency towards arrogance, we still represent the greatest social experiment that man has ever known. And in spite of any inferrences that one may draw from my remarks concerning our lopsided policy with regard to the Arab states and the state of Israel, I fully support Israel's right to exist in peace.

But if we want to protect what we have, we've got to learn to think clearly and objectively, and stop trying to delude ourselves into thinking that we're the perfect society. We have a lot of work to do to become the nation that we profess to be, so let us use our energies in trying to reach our professed ideals, instead of wasting that energy in an attempt to prove that we've already arrived.

We need to understand that in order to truly become the nation that we profess to be, we need clear, objective, and unadulterated thinking. That, in turn, requires that we first see reality as it is, and only then, as we would have it. We can start that process by first, recognizing--and admitting--that we're not always right. Secondly, we need to accept the fact that military might can't solve all problems. Third, we should ask ourselves what are we doing to make people want to fly planes into buildings. And finally, we must realize that the only difference between Arab terrorism and American terrorism is that we have a much more efficient delivery system.

Eric L. Wattree

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