“war on terror”

9 Jul

       In reading about the bombs that went off in London, I am struck by two things.

1. People everywhere are momentarily (and probably temporarily) forgetting the pop-culture distractions and the problems of their own lives, and joining with everyone else in feeling with and for those people directly affected. It’s a huge sweeping wave of unity.
2. Talk of “the war on terror” continues, even with these bombings as further evidence that the “war on terror” is, and can only be, a way to ensure terrorist acts continue to happen for as long as the war does.

       It is possible, I concede, that I read the wrong things for news. But, why is nobody else writing about this? Am I really the only one that can see that a “war on terror” is a fundamental absurdity? It’s like trying to put out a huge fire by shooting tendrils of flame at it. Need another liberal cliché? How about “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”? Terror is an intangible thing, it is fear. It is an invisible motivator, an emotion that you cannot see, only feel. How can anyone in their right mind propose to “fight it” with violence? How can anyone in their right mind agree with that proposal?
       It’s easy to be angry after something like 9/11/01, or the London Bombings. An act like that certainly is a big sign that something is wrong. Something is very wrong, and we want it fixed, and it’s easy in that anger to say we need to completely destroy everything and everyone responsible for the act. Part of what is responsible for the act, however, is the invisible act of destruction. Destruction is an intangible thing, it is violence. It is an invisible power, and when it is used by both “terrorists” and people fighting against “terrorists” it merely grows in strength.
       I understand that “the war on terror” is meant to fight and kill “terrorists” who are physical, mortal, humans, and thus we are completely capable of inhumanely slaughtering them in the name of “freedom” (whatever that is…) A “terrorist” however, is not a specific person-type. It isn’t genetic, it isn’t based on gender or skin color or religion or place of habitation or anything else tangible. A terrorist is someone who uses terror to further their means. A terrorist is someone who spreads terror and fear for the sake of spreading terror and fear. Someone who fights against “terrorists” is also spreading terror and fear, though they will say it’s for the sake of safety and “freedom.” Is the plan of those fighting against the terrorists, the wagers of the “war on terror,” to completely destroy all those who are or who one day could be terrorists, and then to stop spreading fear and terror? Is it their plan to end destruction and violence on the planet by destroying all those who have the ability to destroy and engage in acts of violence?
       This is not how you respond to terrorist acts. Not if you want to “defeat terror.” Tell me I am not alone in seeing this. Please. Tell me I am not the only one who sees that this response is guaranteed to lead to more terrorist acts.
       Need another cliché? How about “love is all you need”? It makes sense, doesn’t it, that of the two major and instinctive responses I listed above, unity and war, unity is the better way of “fighting terrorism”? You can’t fight fear with more fear. You fight fear with confidence. You can’t fight hate with anger and violence. You fight hate with love. Had enough liberal clichés or would you like another? How about “be the change you want to see in the world.” These things are clichéd because they are true.
       It’s not as easy as it used to be to say a few sayings, think logically about hate and love, and then go joyfully about my day. The amount of hatred, anger, and violence in the world seems to be increasing. It’s massing in a larger and larger force of evil, marching on the gates of joy and love, sounding the war trumpet of death, challenging and daring with the chide of “where’s all that love you talked about now, huh? You think human beings are good?”
       Yes, I do. I hope I’m not the only one.

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