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There's something absurd about flying passenger planes into skyscrapers. And there's something unreal about a stateless band of embittered fanatics lashing out at the United States — the United States! — from some remote patch of desert and, of all things, causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in losses. These are things that, if they are comprehensible on any human level, require effort to remain there: It's too easy to lose the thing itself for the idea of the thing, and from there to reduce the idea to some hollow abstraction that, let's face it, has nothing to do with anything but is simply the closest approximation that anyone can actually bear to think about in day-to-day life.
Blowing up teenagers in nightclubs in Indonesia, on the other hand, has none of that. It's neither absurd nor unreal. It invokes none of the broader themes that duped various thinkers throughout the world into believing the terrorists had anything in common with any reasoned or even somewhat principled view. It's sick, is all it is; there's nothing else to say.
There are conversations to be had about the role of any power in the world, and about the United States' role more than others', no doubt. But if the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., demonstrated the scope of the threat of terrorism, those in Bali should make its nature plain to even the most blinkered of observers. Terrorism, no matter who it happens to be perpetrated against, has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with hate.
October 14, 2002 8:33 PM
I think it's important to understand their motives; And, blind hate is seldom, if ever, born of an irrational, non-event-sparked emotion -- it has a source in some other event of evil.
If we can't understand the seed(s) of their hate, then we can't eliminate it. To eliminate terrorism requires the elimination of its motive, not just men.
None of us here will be arrested for these posts. And, all of us here have uncountable control over our individual lives when compared to those of the now deceased terrorists. They could (would) have been arrested for posting this or that view. It may not be right, but it's so common to hate those who have what you don't and, worse, refuse to give you any decent share.
Imagine if you and your family lived under the rule of some Japanese funded government, that your degree in Engineering was useless in your home country, forcing you to move to Japan or one of its closer sattelite states so you can actually have a meaningful career. As first-degree citizens of our Empire, it's a big leap for us to comprehend the world they must live in, especially when we hord all of the choices for our own lives and communities.
We need to assess the state of affairs, the quality of life for those under our rule, no matter how far flung from our own home front. And rule them, albeit indirectly, we do. To care about our own rights and life-quality isn't enough anymore, because now they're pissed -- real pissed -- due to our negligence.
These were desperate men. More frightening (to me, at least) is that there are a many more of them to fill their shoes, more than any war in itself can stop. There must be a cause for all that, besides just irrational anger and hate. There's a seed in that pile, and one we may not have directly sown, but undeniably watered and nurtured by our actions and inaction.
Posted by rob adams on October 15, 2002 1:22 PM
Posted by M on October 16, 2002 11:41 AM
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