Thursday, January 20, 2005

Freedom's just another word ...

...for nothing left to lose...

Hi George. You have your presidential inauguration today, based on a electoral process that undermines democracy with its long queues, its malfunctioning evoting machines and questionable tallies.

You spoke about freedom, but the world knows that by this, you mean a world dominated by the overwhelming power of the armed forces that you command.

On this basis of a dodgy, tawdry vote you are moving forward with your war on terror.

Now you are not a war veteran, but any real war veteran will tell you that war is not good, healthy, reasonable, or - even - courageous.

You see things as black/white, good/ evil, democracy/ terrorism.

Reality is not as simple as that. Reality is not a James Bond film, where all the problems are solved by a large explosion in the penultimate scene.

First, there is more to being a democracy than using that name as a description of your political system. Many "democracies" fall short of full democracy - including yours, especially after November 2004.

Second, as we have seen here, what passes for terrorism depends on which side you are on. For instance, many Americans who back the "War on Terror" also would be happy to finance the IRA, who are clearly viewed as terrorists by most people in the UK, although we are at last achieving a welcome political settlement with them.

Arab public opinion overwhelmingly backs the people that westerners call terrorists.

In view of this position of Islamic opinion, the "War on Terror" would become a war of Christendom against the Islamic world. Is this really what the world wants or needs?

You may point to the fact that the Mullahs are calling for exactly this war - a jihad against the Christians and Jews. They say they want this. Does this mean that we should grant them what they want?

To attack a man for talking nonsense is to see my enemy drowning in a bog and to jump in after him with a knife. The mullahs are hysterical - emotionally uncontrolled, seeing things in black and white categories. Does this mean that we should join them in the same categorical errors?

A boundless war on terror is a war on a miasma, an attempt to put out a fire by smothering the flames with oil, a war without end.

In the end, hatred is overcome by wisdom and intelligence, not more hatred. The political juridical and economic responses to terrorism will be more effective than violence.

War is not good, healthy, reasonable, and courageous. It is just a recipe for more hatred and more terrorism.

PS do not even think about going into Iran. Thanks.

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