Saturday, October 30, 2004

Here comes the rain again...

A fleury of activity on the ultra-personal side of my personal life, suffice to say, I'm glad that the weekend has arrived.

As for Osama Bin Laden? I don't have any specific feelings on the recent news that he is alive. I'm not so quick to climb the walls in rage and spit blood at the mention of his name, but I'm not exactly part of his fan club either. I just don't think that the American public should allow him the control over their lives that he has been afforded. After all, if the point of terrorism is to make people terrified, then I'd have to say that Bin Laden has succeeded. Keep reading, this is not another senseless Bush rant.

Of course, the point of terrorism is not centrally tied to scaring the crap out of people. It's a little more than that. K. was writing an essay about this in her military history course, and I was lending a hand, when we started seriously considering the 'history' of terrorism. Why does terrorism exist in general? The point of it is pretty obvious; attempting to facilitate political and/or socioeconomic change through fear inspired by acts of violence is essentially what terrorism DOES. So, why do people USE it? Well, lets consider the position of other countries for a moment. I know that its generally hard to look outside of our North American bubble, but bear with me. A number of countries throughout the world, and particularly in the middle east, have had to contend with American interference in their countries internal matters for quite some time. Whether it be for controlling oil or fighting those nasty communists back in the eighties, the US of A has spent a lot of time and direct and indirect effort setting up regimes, knocking them down, and incurring a lot of collateral damage (civilian).

Now, protesting through international channels like the UN hasn't really helped that much, especially when America has veto power on any actionable resolution passed. So, there are two options at hand when you're dealing with a country that refuses to treat you fairly. You can (A) Attempt to fight back their superior forces using your inferior rag-tag army of half-starved and disenfranchised fanatics, or (B) Launch of series of specific point-attacks that are designed to incur damage that makes their public notice your situation, and in turn put pressure on their government.

Now, option A is great if you stand a ghost of a chance in winning, but no one in the world has the ability to take on what every pundit worth his salt has recognized as the "only superpower" in the world. Seriously, think about it. Terrorism is considered unnacceptable because it is not performed by an army representing a country in what is considered to be a "traditional" war or conflict. Terrorism in a number of cases also specifically attacks civilians, while "traditional" and "acceptable" military operations incur civilian losses accidentally. So, terrorism is really the only tool that these folks think that they have. Is it something I approve of? Hell no! But I also don't approve of the current imbalance that has been thrust upon the world in which the United States is the only country that is allowed to launch missles at other countries and invade them without consequence. I think that in this case, both sides have their issues.

This could be a much longer piece and start listing exhaustive evidence. I think that I will avoid that for the moment, unless one of my two or three readers decides to challenge me and ask for specific examples that support my outrageous claims.

The weekend calls, have a good one.

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