Monday, February 12, 2007

Terrorism vs. Terrorism pt. I

I am taking a break from my Heroes columns to write about a question in one of the message forums I visit. The question was, what if we were to fight terrorism WITH terrorism. This IS war after all. Shall we be like the British, who, in the Revolutionary War, had their Redcoat Infantry lined up in rows to shoot in unison at Washington’s militia? Such “war etiquette” is unknown in modern times. Why not fight an unconventional war unconventionally?

I thought of Kennedy’s speech during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and what President Bush could do that would emulate this idea of fighting terrorism with terrorism. That prompted me to write this fictional, but rather chilling speech:

[NOTE: To any person reading this post, this work is entirely a work of fiction. It is merely speculation on my part on the idea of using terrorism to fight terrorism.]

George W. Bush [Press conference that pre-empts prime time]

My fellow Americans:
The Islamic terrorists we are at war with have been operating with impunity in Iraq and other areas of the world, killing thousands of innocents, targeted innocents, in wanton acts of destruction. They intend to hold us all hostage to fear; hostage to their will… in the name of their religion. The same way they have held other hostages and beheaded them because they were Jewish, in the example of Daniel Pearl, or blew their heads off if they refused to convert to Islam, in other circumstances.

Our armed forces have tried valiantly to make a difference. Because our country is divided, they have not been successful. It's time to turn the tables on the terrorists and use their own tactics against them.

Those here in Washington who have opposed my foreign policies state that this situation is similar to Viet Nam, in that if we withdraw, lay down our arms, and come home, that will solve the problem. What was the cause of 9/11 then- our support for the Shah in the 1960’s? Our aid for Afghanistan in their war with the Soviet Union? Look at Spain and see what they received for electing a government that withdrew their troops from Iraq. More terrorism.

Some damn me for my actions in trying to protect the citizens of this country. Please. You are too kind. I intend to make Black Jack Pershing look like a choirboy, if that is what is necessary for victory. To that end, the United States shall henceforth hold as its foreign policy as authorized to me by the power of the constitution:

Should any Islamic force attack American citizens, American military personnel, or any American property, on US soil or abroad, the United States will retaliate by detonating a thermonuclear bomb on Mecca with the explosive force equal to the 4 jumbo jet planes and all properties they destroyed on 9/11. Your actions will speak your response. If it is acceptable for you to kill our innocent civilians, then we shall adopt your modus operandi as our own. If you intend to hold us hostage, we in turn, will hold Mecca hostage, until such time as you come to your senses. Let it be known, the saying DON'T TREAD ON ME still stands in the 21st century.

[End press conference]

The moral dilemma here is not just the use of nuclear weapons itself, but to use it against a shrine that is the focal point of a religious pilgrimage for maybe ¼ of the world’s entire population. The nuclear fallout would make the hajj unattainable for many innocent Moslems. We survived the Cold War without using the nuclear option, but to use it against pilgrims wearing robes hardly seems prudent, the opposite of any form of humanitarianism in the broadest definition, total explosive tonnage not withstanding.

Additionally, these terrorists are extremely decentralized. They take orders from no one. It would only take one band of lunatics to call the presidents bluff and start World War III (and I believe that is exactly what some of them desire.) Here is a lesson that Bush II should have learned from his father: war is something that should be avoided, if at all possible.

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