Sunday, June 03, 2007

Taking out Bin Laden and Killing Innocents

Unbelievable. When Democratic candidates for the office of President of the United States for the election of 2008 were asked at tonight's debate in New Hampshire, "If you were president of the United States, and the intelligence community said to you, 'We know where Osama bin Laden is, he's in Pakistan, we've got the specific target, but he's only going to be there for 20 minutes, you've got to give the order, yes or no to take him out with a Hellfire missile but it's going to cost.. it's going to kill some innocent civilians at the same time,' what would be your decision?"

Kucinich was the only candidate who had the moral clarity to say he wouldn't do it. He said that Osama should be tried like any international criminal. He said that an America which has a strong stand morally in the world who stands for peace is a strong country, and he doesn't stand for assassination politics and when you do that you bring the assassination of our own leaders into play.

Obama said that "Osama bin Laden has declared war on us... and under existing law, including international law... when you've got a military target like bin Laden, you take him out..."

First of all Obama is wrong. International law does not give you the right to assassinate a military leader (even assuming we can even call bin Laden such a thing, which we can't, since he is an international criminal and not a government representative who can actually declare war against a country), if you are attacking him on another country's soil with which you are not at war or is not occupied by an enemy force and you knowingly are going to kill innocent civilians.

Does a police officer shoot through a child to kill a bank robber holding him hostage? Does a SWAT agent blow up the bank to prevent the criminal from robbing another bank in the future?

How is such an act any different than a bomber killing innocents in a coffee shop to kill a government or military leader they are opposed to?

Answer: there is no difference.

It's absurd. What have we become? These politicians just like Bush and the Republicans are pandering to Americans' base desire for revenge. They are pandering to the blood lust of the masses without thought to the greater implications of international diplomacy and the rule of law.

And even if you look at it pragmatically, taking ethical considerations out of the picture, what would be the outcome of killing bin Laden in such a scenario? Huge international outcry, further erosion of our relationships with our allies and further degradation of our reputation across the world. Isn't it bad enough that we've already caused, directly or indirectly, the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents in Iraq?

And like Kucinich implies, if we cannot lead by example, by the very beliefs we ascribe to, then the world will turn its back on us for good. We would only be adding more evidence to back the terrorists' claims that we are an evil society.

And do we truly think that the death of bin Laden by such an act would lead to less terror? It would be escalation. In fact, if bin Laden were to die tomorrow from choking on a chicken bone, someone else just as nasty and capable would replace him - just like in any mafioso cadre.

Please, don't be naive, people. Bin Laden is a mastermind, no doubt about it, but killing him, just like killing Saddam, is not going to solve America's problems in the Middle East, end our dependence on their oil and support for the oppressive regimes - drug lords in royal clothing - who supply us while denying their people of adequate health and education. Nor will it stop the terror and bloodshed that is ravaging the region. Such an act in this context would only make a great martyr of him and help to recruit even more young disaffected Islamic youth to his cause. And in the meantime, we will have become no better than our enemy: killing innocents for the sake of a short term political goal.

This hydra has more than one head. By cutting off one, you are not destroying the beast. And if you lose your soul and honor doing so, what have you really gained?

If we are truly a country that stands for freedom and peace and yet continue to justify short term gains with immoral means, then we have lost everything our founders believed in and what the soldiers who've given their lives for this nation from the Revolution to the present have died for. We will have become no better than those international criminals who flew the planes into the towers and the Pentagon on 9/11 where more than 3,000 innocent souls lost their lives.

Are we a nation of freedom and peace loving people willing to stand by our beliefs or simply terrorists who will stoop to any level to achieve our aims? It's time to decide.

It's time to, as a people, really address the issues that have led up to this state of affairs and not blindly turn to simple "solutions." That's how we've gotten to where we are today. By letting our leaders prey upon our emotions rather than understand the history and foreign and economic policies that have led to the hatred and despair that drives a person to strap a bomb to their chest and kill themselves and innocents in confusion, mindless hate, and desperation.

The best way to defeat your enemy is not to become your enemy, but to understand him.

Sun Tzu said, "If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Sadly, we not only do not understand our enemy, but we've forgotten ourselves as well.

If you truly want to end this madness then:
  • Junk your SUV and buy an electric, hybrid, or biofuel vehicle.
  • Vote for campaign finance reforms that cap spending on campaigns. Better yet, public finance for campaigns that provides equal access to the television and airwaves.
  • Hold your elected representatives accountable for their votes and where their money is coming from. Follow the issues and pick up a telephone or send an email every now and then.
  • Teach your children not to fear and hate and let them teach you the same.
  • Read some history about your country and the rest of the world. Read about the foreign policy of this country in the 20th century.
  • Read news from alternative sources other than CNN, Fox News, and the mainstream sources. Find out what the world is thinking and don't let mass media tell you what to think.
  • Stop watching so much damn television and stop buying crap you don't need. Instead put your money into education and causes that you believe in rather than buying that 70" plasma television which is only going to steal more of your mind and health away from you.
  • Believe that this country could become great again, that creating a great society that sets an example for the rest of the world is the way to win the hearts and minds of the peoples of the world. That building hospitals, roads, and schools is the path to peace and building high tech ordinance just simply further lines the pockets of the rich of this country, wastes precious human life and creates more enemies that will kill your children and their children.
  • Read the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, Lincoln's speeches and letters, Ben Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Aristotle, Plato, Montaigne, Locke, Spinoza. For starters. Come on. You're on this planet for how long? Do you really want to waste that time watching reruns?
  • Vote for people who stand for their beliefs, not people who tell you what they think you want to hear.


Blogger Mark said...

Dude, you are so right on with this stuff! I love your blog and will be following your posts more often. I miss you, brother man!

9:13 PM  

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