I’ll admit it up front. I’m a war monger. I don’t see a problem with the US attacking Afghanistan. I don’t see a problem with the occupation of Iraq (while I do mind all the nonsense about ties to Al Qaeda and WMDs). The thing that really bothers me is the U.N. and the many countries that run away when faced by adversity.
This article detailing the incoming Spanish prime minister’s reluctance to keep his troops in Iraq, is pretty interesting. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero bowed to the pressure of the Spanish people so in that way, he is executing the will of the people. Unfortunately, by doing this he is also ensuring that his people will be continually targeted by terrorists. France, which has vehemently opposed the use of force against Iraq and terrorists in general just got a surprise bomb placed on one of their prime railways. No suspects yet but initial reports claim the bomb was of the design and fashion favored by Al Qaeda trained operatives.
When I was, oh, say about 7 or 8, I learned the one lesson that has been invaluable in my lifetime. There was this kid, Billy Becksmith*, who was the school bully. For a few weeks, he’d start every recess by coming up to someone and punching them in the arm, trying to goad his target into a fight. I just stayed away, since I was short and had only recently mastered the English language. I figured it wasn’t my problem and getting involved would just make me the likely target of his daily ritual. You can see where this is going, I’m sure.
A month into Billy’s reign of playground terror, he finally had exhausted all his regular punching bags. One day, waiting patiently in line to exit the classroom before recess, Billy came up to me and told me he was going to beat me up outside.
A little forethought on Billy’s part could have prevented what would happen just a few moments later on the playground. Had Billy taken a moment to note the complete lack of fear on my face, he might not have tried to punch me. Bullies by nature rule through threat and fear, not by deed. Secondly, had he polled those around him, they would have suggested many other, easier targets than yours truly.
Being small and having an older brother taught me two valuable lessons. The first was that a good offense is the best defense.
Billy walked up to me outside and explained in meticulous detail how he was going to beat me up. I think it was right around the time that he was telling everyone how my nose might look afterwards that I hit him. The second lesson my many battles with my older brother taught me is that once you start, you don’t stop raining blows on your foe until he either runs away or you get pulled off by someone.
If the first punch in the nose was a suprise, the second one probably wasn’t. It landed right under his left eye and the mouse that appeared almost immediately afterward was gruesome.
At this point, Billy did what most bullies do when finally faced with oppostion. He ran.
I bring up this story because Spain’s reluctance to stand up to terrorism is like letting a bully beat you up. Sure, running away will save you for the day, but in the long run the bully will win. You might suggest that it was Spain’s participation in the Coalition of the Willing that prompted the attack on the trains a few weeks ago. That would be a mistake. The current occupation of Iraq means little to Al Qaeda. Spain was attacked because it is a democracy and as such, it is a direct threat to those people whose cloak of religious fervor mask a desire to extinguish all forms of freedom.
To turn a blind eye to the acts of violence is to perpetuate the idea that violence is a way to accomplish your goals. To strike back at violence with greater resolve is the only way of combating terrorism. Personally, I still advocate the complete anhiliation of the middle east with tactical nukes but most people would think that a little extreme. My thought is that the only way to stop terrorism is to eradicate the people who believe that it is a viable tool in achieving one’s goals. The only way to do that is by genocide.