Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Snap Out Of It!

I came across a column this morning from 25 September that is still quite relevant. Whipping boy Bush Five years after 9/11, philosopher Andre Glucksmann looks at the logic of the new Chicago, asking how we will face today's world of extended gang warfare. No matter what President Bush does, it's wrong. We've seen constant, consistent, verbal abuse on the president the past few years, that is increasing the closer we get to the midterm elections.
In the past, people used to stick dolls with pins to ward off bad luck and kill evil spirits. In our day we apostrophise the supposed master of the world, accusing him of abusing his "superpowers". He is the cause of all our evils. If he disappeared, universal harmony would be re-established. Our magical behaviour wins on two counts. While our finger points to the cause of world chaos, our angelic smile assures that once the evil power has been paralysed, everything -– the dove and the snake, the lion and the lamb -– will coexist in harmony. Five years ago, public opinion was riveted on the mastermind of the largest terrorist attack in the history of the world. Now, however, on September 11, 2006, all eyes are on the abominable Bush and the lunatic America. The bloody instigators of the massacre fade from memory, to the point that they desperately attempt to get back into the limelight with video cassettes drawing attention to their presence, claiming the copyrights that are being stolen from them. In vain: all the good spirits conclude that Washington, with its dark designs, is keeping them out of the picture.
Sound familiar? The Democrat playbook in action.
But let's be serious. Whatever his trials and whatever his errors, Bush did not invent the planetary extension of a terrorism that existed well before he came to power, and will continue no matter who succeeds him. The Cold War stopped with the fall of the Soviet empire, but the cold warriors have been there all along. They emancipated themselves, and extended the rule of the knife, the machete and the Kalashnikov to the four corners of the world. This rule was by no means the exclusive privilege of the Islamists. While the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) went after intellectuals and women, and massacred farmers en masse in Algeria, in Europe, the terrorism of ethnic cleansing (Milosevic) was opposing the democratic way (Vaclav Havel). The machete swingers in Liberia and Sierra Leone were delighted when the genocide of a million Tutsis moved on like the brown death to Congo, where civilians died in even greater numbers. The wars and massacres of Saddam Hussein, the bloody joys of Khomeinism, the killings in Timor, the atrocities of the Tamil Tigers, the ruins of Grozny and the hecatombs of Darfur give ample evidence for how the end of the blocs liberated not only the democracies, but also homicidal and genocidal impulses, with the blessing of diverse religious, nationalist and racist ideologies.
I'm at a loss as to why the left think every ill that hits mankind, no matter the geographical location, is somehow Bush's fault. Yet, that seems to be the message they are doing their best to spread.
What should we think, once we've rid ourselves of the fantasy of an all-powerful America and a satanic Bush? We must return to the principle of reality, and see the world as it is: fragile and chaotic, peopled with individuals and peoples who are prisoner to a dramatic period of transition. They can no longer follow the millenarian norms which their ancestors respected with their eyes closed; the violence of modern centuries has gone the last step in effacing their traditional bearings. But neither can they rely as we do on the rule of law, which doesn't exist in their countries (not yet, say the optimists). In this period of transition, terrorists of all stripes proclaim: "we will win because you love life, while we are not afraid of death." The fall of the Twin Towers illustrates their challenge. Who will take the day? The nihilistic combatants who practise homicide and suicide? Or the majority of honest people who aspire -– as much in the slums as in the chic neighbourhoods -– to live civilly? To accept, or not to accept, the law of the human bomb? That, I fear, will be the question for the children of the 21st century: the question of liberty, and of survival.
We, the United States of America, will be at war for a very long time. Isn't it prudent for ALL of us to be on the same side? Or should we bow down to the whim and will of those who wish to destroy us, and all who love freedom?