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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here's the smell of the blood still

(Yes, I know this is late. I apologize. A thunderstorm knocked out my internet access for most of the afternoon and evening. Such things happen in Florida during the hurricane season.)

Six years ago, I became a racist.

No, really. It's true. I'm not proud to admit it, but it's the truth. On September 10th, my attitude was, "Well, Islam has its radicals, but you can't really blame the people or the religion for it. After all, it's not fair to assume all Christians are like Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, now is it?"

But September 12th? "Animals. They're all fucking animals. We need to kill every last one of them, and mount their heads on pikes as a warning to the next ten generations that YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH AMERICA. And Osama bin Laden's skull will be turned into a festive chalice for the President to drink from at state functions."

Am I wrong to think this? Probably. I know that such hatred diminishes me as a human being. I know, logically, that I cannot and should not blame every single Arab and every single Muslim for the atrocity committed by a very small group of individuals. I know that I should forgive, and judge every man and woman on the basis of their character, not by what demographic they're in.

I know all this, and yet, I became a racist September 12th. Or creedist, or whatever the term is. And I don't really feel bad about this. Oddly, I feel bad about not feeling bad about it, if that makes any sense. Because here's the thing: those terrorists, and those who sympathize with them, feel exactly the same way about me, and it doesn't bother them at all. And I will be damned before I apologize for wanting to kill someone who wants me dead.

Of course, what I want and what I would do if given the opportunity are two different things. I like to think that I have enough of a conscience, that there is some small shred of humanity within me, that would keep me from committing mass murder as an act of revenge. Perhaps I'm delusional in that regard. I will never know, however, because I will never have that power, and in my more lucid moments I thank whatever Powers That Be that I will not. I don't want to be tested like that. I'd much rather wrap myself in my blanket of moral superiority and savor my smug hatred.

Fortunately, I have a proxy to act on my behalf: the United States Armed Forces. They kill with extreme precision, and so when I see Shit Getting Blown Up in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever, I can shout "FUCK YEAH!" and not worry about if there were innocent people in that building.

You know, unlike the nearly three thousand innocent people killed on this day six years ago.

Whether or not you approve of America's actions abroad since 9/11, you have to admit one thing: We didn't react as nearly as strongly as we could have. We could have turned Afghanistan into a radioactive parking lot had we wanted. But we didn't, because we're the good guys. We don't target innocent civilians. We spend millions of dollars on smart bombs and missiles that will take out just one building on a city block just so we can minimize casualties. Shit, when we attacked Baghdad, the military took great pains to avoid destroying mosques and other sites of holy and cultural significance, when it would have been a whole lot easier and cheaper to just carpet bomb a grid square.

Because we are the Good Guys.

It has been six years, and I am still very fucking angry. If I am one of the Good Guys, why am I still so angry? Why do I still want to bathe in revenge? I have become Lady MacBeth in reverse, and all the blood of Arabia will not perfume my hand. I have become what I despise, and the irony is that I know how to escape this trap. I simply don't want to.

Your hell will be a long time in coming, Osama. And when it does, I wish you only the most exquisite of excruciating eternities.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146



5 comments:

  1. I would say this is pretty much on the mark, except that I know you and I don't think you're a racist.

    And y'know, I'm sure I won't win any pals from saying this, but I've got all the buds I need anyway. You know who I worry about almost as much as the Muslim extremists? The apologists, the dupes, the compromisers, the "blame America first" crowd...basically, the Castrati.

    The times to come are going to be very, very tough, and we're all going to have to grow a pair to get through them. There is no compromise with evil. These people want us dead, and there is no middle ground. What would a compromise be with them? "Oh, OK, cut off our arms, but don't kill us." No, they'd cut off our arms, and then kill us anyway. Would it be "How about you wait three years, and THEN kill us?" Uh...no.

    The people who worry me are the folks who have lost their perspective, and think that what happened at Abu Ghraib is is equivalent to what happend in Beslan. Their the folks who slap Holocaust survivors in the face by saying "Bush is worse than Hitler" (and I'm not a big fan of the wishy-washy prez).

    This conflict is not going away in six months, not in a year, or ten, or probably twenty. It's going to be a long-term deal, probably for at least the rest of our lifetimes. And it's going to call for us to act like men and women, not boys and girls. It's not going to be solved by the Neville Chamberlains of the world.

    And contrary to the belief of the Castrati, most of us know the difference between peace-loving Muslims and Extremists. We don't want to round up innocents and put them in camps, we don't want public executions of folks with skin swarthier than our own. But we're also not going to pretend that America really is the Great Satan our enemies would have us believe (to facilitate divisiveness here at home).

    Is everything perfect about our country or our current government? Nope, it isn't and it never has been. But in the battle with this particular enemy...yep, Erin, we are the Good Guys.

    That's not nationalism. That's not blind patriotism. That's common sense.

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  2. That explains why i didn't see you online last night.

    On to the topic at hand...I came here this morning looking forward to reading what you had to say, and when I got here, I wasn't disappointed...however, between you and Troy, there is nothing left for me to say.

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  3. My own personal opinion mirrors both Troy's and your's Pal, but I would want to add how much the world changed for everyone here in the U.S.

    The Patriot act, the grounding of air travel and it's near collapse. The myriad of bills of which the patriot act is only one of many designed to safeguard us by removing individual freedoms in the name of safety. I would rather face the chances of my own vigilance than I would an overseer's, and yet that is what seems to me is happening here.

    If there is on curse bin Laden did to us it was to cause our policymakers to try and legislate safety, and all it has done in my opinion is diminish us all.

    I know this is not the whole 'big picture', and that my fears may in fact be result of other propaganda campaigns of one form or another, but I do truly worry about how much the government has enacted, and how much we as individuals seem to be losing.

    This being said, I believe that terrorism must be fought, and hunted like the poisonous vermin tht it is. But I want my own choice to protect myself and not have someone tell me what to do 'for my own good'.

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  4. "Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither..."

    And that's the crux of it, right JD? It all becomes a matter of striking that balance. I think we would all agree that a certain amount of "freedom" has to be curtailed if we're to live in a relatively safe world.

    For instance, do you have the intrinsic right to drive your car at 100mph through my residential neighborhood? After all, the car is your property, and we assume that you can basically do what you want with your body (according to Roe v. Wade). So can you gun it through my neighborhood? Of course not, because your exercising that right infringes upon certain rights that I'M guaranteed (certainly life, and possibly the pursuit of happiness). But we all want to live in a society where we don't have to worry about some maniac when we're crossing the street, so we generally agree to the loss of that "velocity" freedom.

    Now, let's talk about the freedoms we've ostensibly "lost" since 9/11. Well, I can't take liquids or gels on the plane with me. This certainly hampers my ability to shampoo and condition in Economy Class, but otherwise it's not a big deal for me. Besides, I've been having my bags searched and my body frisked for years (no, not at a bath house), because I used to attend a lot of concerts. I didn't mind the "intrusion" as I was perfectly willing to give up that small bit of privacy if it would keep the a-hole next to me from gutting me with a machete halfway through "Freebird."

    Ah, but you're talking specifically about the Patriot Act and other such legislation. Well, then let's talk specifics. What freedoms have such laws specifically curtailed IN YOUR CASE? I'd like to know exactly how you, JD, have been affected by the legislation. Not theoretically, not some "FOAF" (if I might inject Jan Harold Brunvand into this), but you personally.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying you haven't been affected. I'm asking a question. I'd like to know specifics so we can discuss the matter with distinction.

    Also, since you said you'd like to deal with this yourself, by your own vigilance, I'd like to know what you, JD, can do to protect me from terrorist activity. Are you going to hunt the terrorists down, are you going to sleuth them out,are you going to intercept their emails, etc. Exactly what methods are you, personally, going to use to make sure another skyscraper isn't blown up, or a subway station destroyed, or a school full of children raped and mutilated? I guess I'd like to hear what methods you personally (since you want to handle it yourself) would use that you don't want the Homeland Security folks to have.

    Thanks for any info you can give.

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  5. Howdy! Fellow CoH player and Floridian here. Found your blog recently through Troy Hickman's blog (hiya Troy!). I've enjoyed reading both blogs since finding them. I usually lurk, but this subject was strong enough to get me to talk. :-)

    Of course, now that I'm done registering for an account and am actually here writing, I'm finding it hard to come up with anything substantive that you guys haven't already said (and better than I could). Like liqiud said, there's nothing left for me to say.

    ReplyDelete

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