Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wisdom, not torture gained intelligence, will end terrorism.

C-span may be our greatest national treasure, second only to our elders.
24-7 anyone with a radio or TV can gain insights from the smartest, most
intelligent, and sometimes the downright wisest people from every political,
religious or social perspective. And occasionally, they will get a pearl of
wisdom so simple and profound that it could change the course of our nation
-- away from the thoughtless slumber of our wasteful, distracted,
over-stimulated culture and the shallowness of the corporate media, its
persistent advertising, and fear driven politics.
Just last week one of the wisest things I’ve heard since this global War on
terrorism began was spoken by an anonymous little old lady C-Span call-in
guest. What she said has rung in my head repeatedly over the last few days
and grown in resonance with every news story I read or hear about relating
to Al Qaida, Iran’s nuclear future, or homeland defense.
Her simple observation was that ‘terrorism’ is nothing more than a state of
mind. Because we are terrified we give power to those who want to kill us.
It is not what Al Qaida did to our citizens that were terrifying. It was
atrocious. It was murderous. It was appalling. It was horrific. And I’m
sure it was downright terrifying to those caught in the kill zone or with
loved ones who were unfortunate enough to be caught in it. But it is our
fear generated from our thoughts of what they might to do us again that
causes the terror in our minds and expresses itself in our emotions, our
votes and our nation’s lethal actions. Actions that are equally terrifying
to those on the receiving end of an F-16, a C-130 Gunship, a smart bomb or a
50 Caliber machine gun. Sure, Some of the bastards on the receiving end of
our killing capacity deserve to be vaporized or decapitated for their lethal
intentions or past murderous acts. But far too often, innocent men, women
and children (collateral damage) are caught in the middle. And, they are
equally terrorized by what is happening around them and to them and their
loved ones. They are also keenly aware of who is pushing the buttons or
pulling the triggers that are causing their terror.
Those who we are trying to kill, the so called “terrorists’, may live among
the innocent and even lethally terrorize them. But it is a terror they will
learn to live with or learn to eliminate from the inside. In some cases
(Hezbollah) those we see as “terrorists’ are actually nation builders who
spend far more time building schools and health clinics that suicide bomber
belts. When our weapons target them , we are unlikely to gain many close
friends who are willing and capable of getting inside these groups to help
us in the future.
The best way to get operational ‘intelligence’ on those who hate us is for
us to have good friends among those who hate us. Using war tactics and
machines that also, even if inadvertently, terrorize innocent people is NOT
the way to make friends in important places.

We must ask and then answer a simple question. Are we more terrorized by a
relatively small band of religious extremists who are hoping to spark a
global jihad and who will most likely get their hands on WMD that may kill
millions of Americans? Or, are we more terrorized by a relatively small
band of political religious extremists waging a war that ultimately works to
expand the numbers of murderous Islamic extremists who are trying to spark a
truly global holy war – a war that will destroy our nation, our way of life
and our most precious freedoms?

Personally, I’m far more fearful of this President’s plans and tactics to
wage an endless war and put us on a self fulfilling path to Armageddon, than
I am of some bearded man living in a cave with dreams of grandeur and an
occasional nuke.

The only way to defeat ‘terrorism’ is to win the war for the hearts and
minds of others. This will not be done with killing, weapons or
intelligence gained by torture. It can be done by understanding the degrees
of threats we actually face and responding accordingly.
Osama Bin Laden is a mass murdering religious megalomania psychopath who
should be on the worlds ‘most wanted’ list. Instead we have made him the
worthy adversary of a super power and have acted in such a way that others
admire him and want to join with him.
We need wisdom not more torture gained intelligence.

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