Saturday, June 18, 2005

Does this make me a Great Mind?

Probably not ... but check out the latest Lileks Screed ... then check out this comment I posted towards the end of this thread at SMASH's, as part of my ongoing debates with Chris Alemany:

This is the same kind of problem we are dealing with regarding this War on Terror ... you and I are in general agreement on the objectives; the problem is HOW we get there from here.

I'd love nothing more than to be able to hit CTRL-ALT-DEL on the cosmic PC, select thugs like Saddam and Osama, and hit "End Process" ... and I believe that you would love to have the same chance to do the equivalent on the cosmic Mac.

The problem is, our world is not that sterile ... in fact, our attempts to make the world stage that sanitary have exacerbated the problem.

There was an old Star Trek episode that comes to mind, where the Enterprise got caught in a war-by-computer between two planets. There, the only way to stop the war was to destroy the computers, and force the warring planets to face the brutality of war that they had hidden behind the facade of "sanitary" disintegration chambers fed by computer-generated casualty reports.

Similarly, too many of us have thought that we are too civilized to even countenance going to war ... that going to war, even to defend against a known threat was a failure on our part unless the need was made extremely obvious by suffering mass casualties. Even when we suffer casualties, our shock and revulsion over them persuades us to sweep them under the rug and not remember how they got there.

That line of thinking didn't take into account the demonstrated potential for depravity among a few of us on this rock ... and that, as a result, there will be times that you are going to be forced to go to war, you will KNOW well beforehand that all the negotiations in the world will do no good, and waiting for the perfect proofs and conditions will only make the war longer and more costly ... so we'd better get on with it!

Also, just as trying, as some will advocate, to emulate the Apollo program (which only had to work about a dozen times ... not hundreds of millions) to find those new sources will not lead us to sustainable energy independence, sticking with the idealism of the 1960's will not work in prosecuting a war against an enemy that is not afraid of their own deaths, and has no compulsions against even using our open societies, respect, and goodwill to pave the road to our cemeteries.

Neither, with the present state of the art in both transportation and weapons technology, will waiting for total consensus of all nations work in dealing with this threat. Some of them just don't get it ... or don't want to get it, for fear they will "get it" from those of us who do get it. In the meantime, the enemy capitalizes on the delay to grow stronger, further entrench themselves, and spread unwarranted fear/uncertainty/doubt amount us.

The basic difference between you and I, is where the bar is set regarding the violation of national sovereignty ... not the desire to see people freed from tyranny. Unfortunately, when oppression has been imposed upon a people so long, a popular uprising without outside support that jumps over that bar often "can't get there from here".

This was generated ... a day before Lileks' great Screed, where he actually suggests (through his usual eloquent abrasiveness) how we could use the disintegration-chamber model in the War on Terror in order to quiet the moonbat criticism!

However, this post reflects a thought I have been chewing on for some time: have we, as I suggest above, swept things under the rug that we should be keeping in mind as we act today? Have we become too warm and fuzzy in our assurance that we have already "progressed" beyond such barbarism, and therefore believe we have no need to dirty our hands with further consideration of it?

On this earlier post at SMASH's, the Indepundit included a rather disturbing picture, to remind us what led to this war we're in. One of the regulars found it very disturbing, and requested that he take it down (and I can understand that ... they had lost someone close to them on September 11). To his credit, SMASH said "no" ... his intent in placing that picture out there was to jar our sensibilities and remind us of the importance of what happened there, as we walk around in our Jacko/Cruise/Pitt/Jolie hallucinations and are losing sight of the important issues of our time.

IMO, all of us ... including our children, in an age-appropriate manner that will give them as accurate a picture as they can understand ... need to understand that this world is not yet a safe place when it comes to others' ability to perpetrate brutality, and that we MUST BE READY TO RESPOND DECISIVELY -- even as we eschew the paralysis of fear, and continue to live life abundantly as our Creator designed us to do. While we don't have to be callused in life ... neither do we have the luxury of being so soft and naive, that our very innocence and goodwill can be turned against us.

Maybe we do need to see a little more violence on TV ... accurately, but not sensationally portrayed on the news, instead of in gratuitous Technicolor on the movie channels ... to understand the world we live in, and realize that we are not too good for the dirty business of warfare.

Not because we ourselves wish to perpetrate totalitarian evil or spread death ... but because there exists a subset of humanity that does wish these things, and works to fufill those wishes in our less-than-safe world. The lack of self-control within that subset poisons humanity, pushing us towards either oppression or anarchy ... unless it is stopped, by any means necessary.

We need to be reminded that, since Armageddon has not (yet) arrived, the lion and the lamb are still on their feet.

A great post. I agree that we should act decisively. Too many people know there are bad people out there - they've just never met one (or so they think). Naive attitudes like that need a little wake-up call, perhaps as you suggested - with a little more honest graphic reality on tv and elsewhere in the media.
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