...is that if they are brutal, horrific and malevolent enough, then "we" would back down. Why is that always the case? Why do men so often seem to fall into this trap of thinking?
What we see in al-Qaeda is a fundamentalist extremist movement with all the perqs of supreme patriarchy attacking western capitalism with its own patriarchal power structures. On both sides, the leaders seem to be determined to do two things:
- Never understand the other, at all costs, and
- Throw haymakers as hard as they can, blindly hitting whatever they can.
Karl Rove actually ridiculed the idea of wanting to understand our attackers. Apparently he finds virtue in ignorance. Judging by the support rallying around him since he uttered that foolishness, the bulk of the Republican Party leaders also find comfort in not knowing who or what we're up against.
We have a new front in this "war," and it's being fought not with armies in Iraq but with police in Europe. (If you missed the Frontline "The New Front" last night, you can watch it online.)
Al Qaeda seems to be comprised of bunches of angry, frightened men who seem to think the world must be ruled by them according to their twisted version of pseudo-Islam, where women are treated as property with virtually no rights. In this endeavor, they seem to seek martyrdom so they can frolic with virginal women in heaven.
From my own perspective, our own pseudo-Christian fundamentalists differ only in degree. They too thrive on hate, feel the world oppresses them, consider women property, and believe they should be ruling the world.
What al Qaeda apparently did in London had the likely effect of strengthening the right-wing factions in the west. Will they like the response? Probably, because whatever we do seems to strengthen their own standing in the world. (Especially when we go and do something like occupy an Arab country.) Our own threats against Iran have reaped the rewards there of their electing a fundamentalist nationalist who was one of the embassy hostage takers. Was this part of the plan, Mr. President?
We cannot back down to criminal terrorism. We cannot back down to the amorphous opponent, al Qaeda. But I don't care what Rove says, it's time we got a little smart in this conflict. While we bleed blood and treasure in Iraq, Afghanistan seems to be in chaos, unsafe even for our special forces, and our own security measures at home go underfunded. (I heard on the NewsHour last night we've spent $200 million on rail security nationwide. The BushCo flack said, The question is figuring out how we're going to fund this effort. At $136 billion a year, which divides up to over $15 million an hour, spent in Iraq, I think we go through $200 million in eight 13 hours. [Serves me right for attempting math before coffee.])
With the London death toll at 50, with more bodies perhaps still in the wreckage of the bombing sites, it strikes me as just so pointless. Need I mention that these kinds of death tolls happen every day in Iraq, sometimes due to insurgent actions, sometimes due to our own?
Are we so sure this Iraq quagmire is making us safer? How many more have to die before we start focusing on al Qaeda? Before we start focusing on ourselves?