Apologists for Terror
I am short on time, but I want to broach a topic that irritates me to no end. I have real trouble understanding why some people make apologies for terrorists. In recent memory I have heard people say that if only the US hadn’t invaded Iraq, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson, Bigley and so many others would be alive.
The suggestion here is that because the US invaded there is a legitimate excuse for this inhumane and barbaric act. I am sure that these people will make a similar excuse for Zarkawi’s recent murder of 50 Iraqis. He certainly is working on placing himself in the Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Amin, category. He may not ever get to lead a country and be able to murder on the same massive scale, but he has murdered an incredible number of people. It is shocking.
Anyway, I find this moral ambiguity to very troubling. There are many ways that a person can protest actions. There are many ways that you can “fight the power” but these people who wish to create apologies for murderers are dangerous. They encourage the behavior, they do not deter it.
They’ll counter with silly arguments that claim “that I don’t understand the root of the problem” and that this is combined with an arrogant attitude that makes people angry.
I could respond with multiple examples of murder that had nothing to do with any of the excuses that they provide, but the ostrich doesn’ t want to see what is happening.
It is dinner time so I am going to cut this short now.
Jack's Shack October 25, 2004 at 2:58 pm
After decades and thousands of maimed and dead do we really accurately remember the reasons we fight? How are those reasons shaded by the myths and rationalities we create to enable our side to struggle on? When it comes right down to it, do the resons make a difference?The reasons absolutely make a difference. There are wars of self-preservation that you can argue are necessary and even moral.
It may be “noble” to allow someone to kick you in the teeth because you are emulating Gandhi or taking a stand on non-violence, but there is a problem when you believe that this is reason for all people not to fight.
The world is an imperfect place and we are still working on improving it. For now we are going to have to accept that violence is a part of this world and that it is ok for us to use violence to stop it.
And one can argue that sometimes you need the sheer horror of an event (read Atomic bomb) to convey the need to end the violence.
ricknight October 25, 2004 at 6:59 am
True… we don’t have to agree on everything… but hey, we both like Groucho.
That a majority of people find it evil, is actually a majority of people that hold pretty much the same moral, cultural, and ethical views. Ask the other side what they think, and a majority will have a different oppinion of who the evil doers are. Highly subjective I think.
The Crux is that when the two sides start grappling in the death spiral of conflict they reach the point were their acts of violence in the name of defending their truth becomes morally indefensible. i.e. the Firebombing of Dresden, the murder of unarmed Americans in the Ardens, 911 attacks in New York and Washington, Kosovo, Bosnia, the list goes on. The commission of atrocities in a conflict is never just on one side. Both are guilty. When atrocities are committed against our side, we cry out for vengence and the deaths of the “other”, and in so doing, we set the fuse to the next atrocity. Likewise the other side does the same.
After decades and thousands of maimed and dead do we really accurately remember the reasons we fight? How are those reasons shaded by the myths and rationalities we create to enable our side to struggle on? When it comes right down to it, do the resons make a difference? To the patriots the answer is a deafening yes. What would a truely objective observer’s answer be?
Jack's Shack October 25, 2004 at 6:27 am
We are going to have to agree to disagree.Nothing wrong with having different opinions.
Wilfully planning the deaths of people, for whatever purpose, is morally equivalent. In both contexts and mindsets the actions are completely legitimateHere is where I think your argument falls short. There are people whose actions are understood by a majority to be wrong and dare I say evil. If you witness a man/woman/leader who is torturing and murdering people you have a moral obligation to try and stop them.
And I am not going to allow any wiggle room here. There are people who are just evil, just not right in the head who engage in activities that cannot be excused. And sometimes there is no way to end the atrocities they commit without acting to kill them.
In those cases their murder is not just necessary to be celebrated.
ricknight October 25, 2004 at 6:21 am
“And so we walk the tightrope of trying to fight by rules and honor against an enemy that does not use any rules”
Rules of honour are subjective.. ask a British Redcoat about American Rebels hiding behind trees. It depends on which angle you look at it from. And this again is based on which patriotism you subscribe to.
ricknight October 25, 2004 at 6:17 am
Over simplistic is reaching for a gun or a handy F-15. If either side actually saw the other’s point of view and respected it, the necessity for the violence would be gone.
We are going to have to agree to disagree. Wilfully planning the deaths of people, for whatever purpose, is morally equivalent. In both contexts and mindsets the actions are completely legitimate. Cause upon cause, revenge upon revenge, each gives the right to attack, to defend, to be launch pre-emptive strikes, to assassinate, to murder, to kill, to maim. Each of these adds cause and justification to the next round.
Splice it any way you want, the structure of patriotism determines the depths a party will sink to to preserve their community at the expense of all others.
Stacey October 25, 2004 at 3:41 am
No offense, ricknight, but I think what you have said is oversimplistic. Perhaps the other side is seen, yet completely disagreed with.
Jack's Shack October 25, 2004 at 3:36 am
I cannot be an apologist for any of the terror we do to each other in the name of our blindness. Hi Rick,
I agree with much of what you said. We do rationalize things and we do try and ignore the horror, but for better or for worse I believe that there are distinctions that are not rationalizations.
There is a difference between intentionally murdering someone because you know it has shock and terror attached to it and the people you kill randomly in a bombing.
Collateral damage is an awful term, it minimizes the loss of life and it is tragic that we need terms to minimize the tragedy.
But the reality is that the world we live in is still one in which force is required. And so we walk the tightrope of trying to fight by rules and honor against an enemy that does not use any rules.
It is very twisted and not something that we can easily deal with.
But I would argue that as long as people are horrified by the violence there is hope. Because once the violence is considered commonplace we have lost something very dear and special to us.
ricknight October 25, 2004 at 1:53 am
Patriotism gives blinders to us all. It allows us to believe in our cause right or wrong. Our enemies are always tyrants, dictators, g-dless hordes, and of late terrorists; state sponsored or not. Each side claims justification, each side has rationalized away the need for horror at what they do. Each side can argue the merits of launching suicide bombers into city squares, or air to ground missiles into apartment complexes, but neither argument will be heard. Our blinders forbid our seeing the other point of view. Peace will come when the bloodshed revolts both sides equally, or one side is utterly destroyed with no recourse for revenge.
I cannot be an apologist for any of the terror we do to each other in the name of our blindness.