to Fight the War on Terrorism
'Starvation is the number one cause of death in the world. The
number one health problem in America is over consumption'.
Declaring a war
on terrorism was the most bonehead of a long line of idiotic comments
by our incompetent president. Just exactly what was the intent? To eliminate
discontentment and hatred through force? How is it that nobody has recognized
the logical impossibility of this enterprise? The only thing our President
has managed to do is put terrorists under the microscope of the American
media, the most powerful idea spreading machine in the world.
Since terrorism is essentially just an idea, it could be argued that
Mr. Bushs actions have done more to encourage terrorism than oppose
it. He has made terrorism the sexy topic, and all those lunatics out
there questing for their fifteen minutes of fame need to look no further
than the "War on Terrorism" to find their entry point to the
aforementioned American media juggernaught. I dont think it is
much of a reach to assume that this same logic crossed the DC snipers
mind and it wouldnt be a surprise to me to see more copy-cat terrorists
jumping on the bandwagon and wasting more innocent lives just to glean
their own fragment of that horrific Mark David Chapman sort of fame.
However, all of this is not to say that terrorism cant be defeated.
It can, and it will be, but not by force. You would think that because
I am proposing a non-violent means to defeat terrorism I would feel
both excited and enthusiastic for its acceptance. I am not. I think
this whole idea is going to blow over unnoticed. The fact is that everybody
knows what the answer is, they just dont want to face it. It is
the nature of humanity to shout and demand that other people do the
right thing, but to fall silent when they themselves are called upon
to feel the pinch of sacrifice for the greater good.
What is the root of terrorism? I say that it is want and deprivation.
There was a time when George Washington and the Continental army were
labeled as terrorists. We scoff at that idea now and still identify
with Washington even though he was David and we have grown into Goliath.
It all becomes a matter of semantics which of course doesnt justify
or condemn anything or anybody. The only fact that I can see is that
there are a lot of people out there who work very hard, have very little,
and cant reasonably expect a long life filled with liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. They are, nevertheless, created equal and
thus, by our own doctrine, deserving of the same bounties we as Americans
enjoy. They should be the responsibilities of millionaire dictators
like Osama Bin Laden, but unfortunately the man is completely insane
and we cannot rely on him to assist his people. He would much rather
point his finger at us and they are quite willing to give their lives
in suicide attacks because they are practical enough to understand that
they arent going to be living very long anyway.
So how do you fight that? Simple, and this is the part that you arent
going to like, you make sure they have something that keeps them from
believing the suicide attack is worth the bother. An overwhelming percentage
of the population is satisfied with just two vital items. One being
food and drink, the other being shelter. Granted, the ones that actually
were responsible for the 9-11 attacks were privileged and had been living
and learning (how to fly airplanes among other things) in the United
States. But the key is where they came from and the knowledge that they
carry that their friends and family remain in the slums that they left
behind with no way to ever get out. This is what puts the suicidal murderous
rage in their eyes, and this is the heart of terrorism. You eliminate
that, and you eliminate terrorism. It is the only way.
Many places in the world are like open wounds with the worst parts in
the middle surrounded by areas of decreasing deprivation. There is no
way yet that we could reach into the center part and give aid to where
it is most greatly needed. The hot zones are too insane with pain and
would regard any advancement as an intrusion. The trick is to come in
from the edges in an ever tightening circle, improving the situation
and letting the newfound wealth trickle into the center to eventually
knit over and close the hole. You cant send weapons or money,
you send people who are fluent in some skill and willing to teach it.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and
you feed him for a lifetime.
For example, Im currently living in Lima, Peru where I volunteer
my time teaching English. Although Peru is certainly not a hotspot for
Anti-American terrorists, it is a place of limited economic prosperity.
By teaching English to children here I can provide them with a link
to the American Economy. Every one I work with is given a much greater
chance at building their own success. It is good for Peru and it is
good for America because it provides a kind of union and understanding.
If America was actually serious about ending the war on terrorism we
would at least discuss the idea of sending people off to help other
nations in this manner. It doesnt need to be a multi-year commitment,
just what people can manage. It doesnt need to be any kind of
program (although Im sure there is a wealth of programs available
on the internet if people looked) they could just go on their own. A
year outside the US boarders would do most Americans a lot of good.
Additionally price is no excuse as a person can live in most of the
countries that need help for less than several hundred dollars a month
and just the influx of this money, chump change to most Americans, can
greatly and positively effect foreign economies. Im not talking
about the peace-corps here, Im talking about an effort on a massive
who has ever reflected mournfully on 9-11 or put out an American flag
sticker in remembrance should jump at the opportunity to actually make
the situation right rather than continue to dwell in depression.
The power, in this instance, is truly in the hands of the people. As
I said before I am writing this from Lima, Peru, living a lifestyle
that I believe actually does something to eliminate some small amount
of suffering and thus takes a hit out of terrorism. I have said a lot
of things on this issue both within America and outside it that have
made people accuse me of being immoral or anti-American. However, I
do not see how a few misconstrued words can match or overshadow an entire
year of positive action. I am not pacifying my conscience by sending
off twenty dollars to some corrupt charitable organization, Im
actually working to make the changes with my own two hands. But of course
there is more work here than I can do myself. In the atmosphere that
surrounded 9-11 there was a lot of grief and confusion and, above all,
cries for blood. However, the thing that got lost in the mix was the
undeniable truth that if we killed even one innocent person in retaliation
for acts of terrorism against the US, we would become terrorists just
as much as the people who came after us in the first place. It is all
a matter of semantics, but it is most assuredly true that we have slaughtered
innocents in retaliation. The thing that is disgusting, to me, is that
we have done it with such an attitude of moral indignation.
number of people who died in the world trade center tragedy die every
day. They die of starvation. Starvation is the number one cause of death
in the world. The number one health problem in America is over consumption.
We cant even share to save ourselves. Is that not terrorism?
Letting innocents die through our inaction? If it is, weve committed
it a million times over and accrued a total equal to the world trade
center attack every day since we have lamented the event. The hypocrisy
is overwhelming. To this day people all over the world have been conditioned
by the American media to sigh at the mention of 9-11. Americans demand
this sentiment. But if their feeling was genuine, wouldnt they
desire to do everything in their power to prevent it from happening
again? Every man woman and child in America is aware that they could
spend a small amount of their life in some less-fortunate area of the
world and help it greatly. If we just tightened our belt and made a
large-scale effort to go forth and spread a little bit of the bounty
that the rest of the world resents us for having, dont you think
we could do much to change the negative attitude these countries hold
against us? Dont you think it would be more effective than trying
to bomb them into submission? But it is easier to sit in the comfort
of American homes and watch fancy weapons attack dirt shacks on TV.
It is easy to say that you regret the tragedy and then to forget it.
It is easy to look the other way and do nothing and just hope that the
next plane doesnt crash into a building that you happen to occupy.
I dont condone murder in any form. But it is hard to be at all
sympathetic with that attitude. The media and the American public could
pick up this idea and run with it but they wont. They prefer blood,
but they have neglected to examine their own hands.
© Ben Jonjak Feb 2003
About the Author: Ben Jonjak holds a degree in literature from the University
of Wisconsin. His writing has appeared in various print and electronic
publications. He has written six novels; Glorious Failure, Thief, Small
Time World, School Shooting, Freedom of the Mind, and Snapshots. You
can learn more about his books and writing at the following URL: http://www.pageonelit.com/interviews/BJonjak.html
You can write Ben and tell him why he's wrong at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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