by Roger Gray
You Know, Dan, if it Wasn’t for My Bursitus, I’d be Down at the Recruiter Right Now…
As I sit scribbling this missive, we are eight days into this national tragedy. At this point, I think most of the truly profound observations about the scope of our national loss already have been made. But hopefully, as you read this, most of the blood-curdling letters to the editor and talk show calls will have slowed as well.
In my former profession, there was nothing so predictable as the phone-call patriotism of these Bruce Willis wannabes in the wake of some sort of international outrage. Calls to flatten this, make that glow in the dark, bomb so-and-so back to the stone age are sure to follow as night follows day. Immediate anger and pain are to be expected. But these cut-rate Audie Murphy’s are speed-dialing their outrage and willingness to volunteer to spearhead the invasion, if only…well the new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu, and…
Can’t You See This is a Cry for Help…?
And as certain as the sunrise, you can count on the apparently Quaker wing of our populace to either:
A: Assure us that we must forgive and understand any atrocity, or
B: Assure us it is all our fault and that we brought this on ourselves by our imperialist/Zionist/militarist/white supremacist/fill-in-your-own-ist ways, and this is the only weapon that powerless people have.
In this particular case, senselessly killing thousands was the only “weapon” at their disposal? Sure, we shouldn’t wallow in the muck with terrorists, but no justice at all? That’s simply insulting.
You Know, the Lord Said to Me Just This Morning…
An adjunct to this is an amalgam of the first two. This usually takes the form of one of our own fundamentalist Protestant mullahs issuing a fatwah informing us that he has it on very good authority that God himself has washed his hands of us and let this happen. Why? You name it — gays, abortion, sex, Adam Sandler movies — all are reason enough for the Almighty to throw up his hands and leave us to the tender mercies of Saladin and his infidels. In this case, the heavenly e-mail apparently was received by Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell (predictably) and Ed Young in Houston (rather less predictably).
Well, I am pro-life and have some real issues with the gay-rights agenda when it goes beyond non-discrimination, but presuming to know the mind of the Almighty is…well, presumptuous at best. I find it intriguing that it’s always the same guys who are seemingly enjoying regular fireside chats with the creator during which he gives them the birds-eye view of this troubled old world. How fortunate for all of us, eh?
What I Want to Know, Rush, is…Where was Hillary During All This?
And then we get the political posturing. Of course, this is all George Bush’s fault — either Bush, just pick one. Or certainly, if Bill Clinton had not simply ruined the nation’s defense in return for campaign contributions, we could have detected this. One letter to the editor decried a previous writer who blamed it all on Bush, allowing as how partisanship had no place in our discussion of this tragedy. But, he continued, of course had Bill Clinton handled this correctly in ’93…You get the drift.
Unlike the Previous Tenant, at Least we Know These Guys Are Sitting Around Smoking the Cigars…
Whatever my doubts about GW and his public demeanor at times, let’s be honest. His and every predecessor’s options were and are limited. Oh, sure, we could flatten Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or you name it. But to what end, other than satisfying Bubba on his cell phone from Sugar Land? After the World Trade Center was bombed in ‘93, we tracked the SOBs, caught them (one snatched from Pakistan) and put them on trial. They are locked up and never getting out. But in this case, would that be enough?
Killing bin Laden, as justifiable as that is, or worse, killing innocents he will no doubt hide among, may well create more anger, more hate, more terrorism. Not doing something, on the other hand, invites perceptions of weakness. It’s a fine line.