by Steve Dupree
Imagine that you are sitting in a bar observing life. There is a little guy posturing and swaggering and generally being annoying. He goes on for quite a while describing the things that he will not tolerate and how he would justifiably beat someone who actually did those things. Finally, after talking himself into being a badass, he goes up to a big athletic football player or boxer type and throws his Sunday-best punch. He absolutely lets loose with every ounce of power he can muster in an effort to knock the big man down, if not out. The big guy looks at him after two or three seconds and says “Are you trying to get my attention? Well anyway, I’m a little busy right now. Here, take this five and buy yourself a drink.”
Now imagine that same situation but the big guy gets really mad and pounds the little guy into a pulp. I mean just beats the dog doo out of the guy.
Now picture your reactions to the players in both scenarios. In the first, you are probably annoyed at the little guy and then you probably laugh at him when the big guy takes his best punch and barely notices. In the second, you probably feel some sympathy for the little guy. I mean sure, he was asking for it but that big guy knew he could whip the little guy’s ass whenever he felt like it. He could have just hit him enough to hurt him and not done the permanent damage that likely occurred.
There you have the basis for one of my more unpopular opinions. I have said for quite some time that the reaction of the U.S. to IX/XI should have been to drop food and clothing on Afghanistan. We should have told them that we didn’t have time right now for their silliness but here is some charity you look like you need. If we had done that, the rest of the world, the rest of the Arab world in particular, would have laughed at Al Qaeda. It would have been difficult for them to gain recruits willing to blow themselves to kingdom come just so they could be laughed at. Would sheiks and oil barons donate money just so they could be the laughing stock for the western world and their Arab neighbors too? I think not.
But we didn’t drop food and clothing. We dropped bombs. We overreacted in every way possible and gave our attackers all the credibility they could possibly need to build a fearsome organization. On top of it all, rather than describing them as the criminals they were, we (read: the Republican (mis)administration) labeled them soldiers. By declaring war on them, we gave them equal status as the men and women who defend our nation and many others. We enabled them to brag to other Arab countries that they had wounded the Great Satan. They never thought that they could cripple us or, Gawd forbid, conquer us. All they ever intended was headlines and notoriety. That, we gave them. We stupidly conferred honor upon slime. Indeed, we are fast becoming the laughing stock that we could/should have made them.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I too was pissed, but I thought what would happen (and wanted it to) is that we would unleash the CIA. I thought that after finding out who planned and financed the operation, we would simply disappear them and say nothing about it. We would arrange for the leaders to be caught in the act with married women. We would spread pictures of them around with a ham sandwich in one hand and a beer in the other. We would covertly kill and/or discredit each and every person who appeared to have ties to the event. But we didn’t do that. We overtly overreacted. You want to know why?
Politics. It would have been political death in this country for any response but the idiotic one we did. It has officially become more important for political parties and leaders to maintain power than it is to protect America. The opposition party would have jumped on the party in power for their “lack of response” and the public would have piled on. (Oddly enough, whatever military response Clinton chose to make to threats or acts against the nation immediately elicited accusations of “wag the dog.”) So to keep the ignorant masses from throwing them out of office, the politicians placed the nation at greater risk.
The best part of all of this is the irony. If we go back to my two scenarios above, and consider them from the standpoint of some advice that comes from an allegedly important character in a book many allege to read, scenario one should give you a new appreciation of the value and effect of “turn the other cheek.” Who would have thunk it? We could have avoided much of this mess and all of the associated costs, if only we had acted as a “Christian” nation. I’ll never understand you people.