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9/11: Retrospectives

As with the passing of Steve Irwin, it is hard to find something meaningful to say that hasn't already been said somewhere else. Just a couple of comments:

Concerning the "war on terror". I remain convinced that the best way to contend with an ideological enemy is on ideological grounds. To that end, the high road can be a good road. Concretely: I think andrewwyld said it well when he wrote that violent demagogues are much easier to defeat if you make them look as silly and ineffectual as possible.

The enemy's plans. What a truly ideological war amounts to is that the combatants really are vying for the hearts and minds of people - some already aligned, some not yet aligned. Whether you subscribe to the principles of "peace and justice" organizations around the country and the world, it can be a good thing to take the ideological battle to the enemy, and at the least damaging to one's cause if one deigns to respond to an ideological stance (e.g., "kill and demoralize enemy civilians on their home soil") with offer of battle at every turn. Muddying the waters of culpability, moral responsibility, and geopolitical strategy would seem to fly in the face of Sunzi (Sun Tzu), who admonished: "attack the enemy's plans". I cannot see that we have done so yet. That Osama bin Laden lives on would seem to be the lesser failure compared to how we have met his message more with force than with a superior alternative.

Meet the enemy. A proper response to the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath is hard to come by even now, five years later. Can we find the real enemies - hatred, violent demagoguery, extremism? Or will we continue to hear the insidious whispers that intolerance and polarization among the Peoples of the Book are an acceptable way to map our future, and that the enemies are just faceless people in bunkers somewhere, plotting the next attack?

--
Banazir

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