Drew, on Jun 18 2004, 03:54 PM, said:
They've never needed any kind of excuse before.
Don't you get it?
For the sake of clarity, Drew, I get it. I get it far more than you obviously think I do.
I get that 'Al Qaeda' literally translates as 'the base' or 'the foundation' upon which bin Laden believes a new extremist Caliphate of muslim nations will be built.
I get that they believe, quite correctly, that before they'll be free to do this, they have to weaken the US and incite such hatred against this to whip as many followers of islam as they can into willingness to engage in US in a jihad.
I get that the west has effectively got one hand tied behind it's back politically, because we run on 4 year election cycles, whereas AQ has the luxury of planning for a war they recognize will last decades, if not over a century. And believe me, I get
that they're committed to it as an organization.
But you know what else I get?
I get that AQ numbers are swelling with every week that passes while US troops remain in Iraq. I get that despite whatever intentions we have, AQ has been successful in spinning the invasion of Iraq to show the US (which devoted roughly 1/5th the number of troops to actually hunting AQ in Afghanistan as it has sent into Iraq) is more concerned with invading an oil rich arab nation, rather than actually hunting the people who inflicted the terrible events of 9/11 on America. I get that if the US started executing prisoners in the name of retribution, they'd have zero trouble convincing how many more young arab men that the US slaughtered martyrs who were doing Allah's work.
Please, spare me your lectures on the evils of AQ - I'm as literate and able to read as the next man, woman, and child that possesses the intelligence to access the internet. I fully recognize that the only way AQ will ever be stopped is to destroy it.
But more importantly, the most important burden upon the west is to show all non-AQ Arabs and muslims that we are precisely *not* the great Satan. And the way to do that is to not wholesale slaughter prisoners, it is not to degrade them, humiliate them, and then only show regret at being caught. To do so would be to precisely keep up the game AQ is baiting us into. They *want* the wakened giant to exercise its full might, to become hardened, and cruel, and angry, and embittered. Because doing so would perpetuate their mythos, strengthen their words in the eyes of all their future followers, and ensure beyond all doubt that they'd never be lacking for fresh recruits to fight their most decidedly UNholy war.
You say that we cannot be peaceable in our responses. I agree to a point. But I also cannot help but acknowledge that Gandhi ended racial violence in Calcutta just by starving himself in protest, and that the early Christian church was rarely violent in the midst of decades upon decades of persecution at the hands of the Romans, yet survived to be come one of the largest religions in the world. Let those who live by the sword, die in combat by that sword. But let the prisoners be treated as human beings, and let the olive branch go forth to everyone else. The only way this war will truly ever end is when the US has satisfactorily demonstrated that it is everything AQ says it is not. Until then, for every AQ that's killed, another will rise in their place.
I get that.