Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Best Military Blog

Here it is!


Winner of "Best Military Blog 2004" from Weblog Awards. Here's the best of the best, complete with three (!) pictures of sexy ladies, Army recruiting tips, and plenty of (obviously) high powered verbiage. What caught my eye was a commentary on US treatment of prisoners.

Here's a snip from that post.

"BTW, fifteen of the inmates at Abu Ghraib were terrorists who killed my friend Maj. Scott Schram. While I abhor the actions of the admin clerk, her idiot MP boyfriend, and others there, you should realize that the worst that we do is put panties on their heads (or for two week, had dogs bark at the 20th hijacker or women interrogators use their "charms"). The worst they do is remove heads of prisoners. That's no zero-sum-gain and it's not 'tit-for-tat'. Far from it..."

There's so much blog fodder on that sight, you'll just have to check it out yourself.

I'd find it amusing if it didn't occur to me that while we are busy fighting fundamentalists in Iraq and "the 'Stan" (that's "Afghanistan" for the less macho), we are creating our own fundamentalists right here at home. Fundamentalism needs an enemy. As a fundamentalist you do not just quietly lead by example. No. You must shut down others who don't agree with you. It becomes a crusade. Those who get behind you become the sword of God.

But, don't you think those people we humiliate in prisons will sew the seeds of fundamentalism all the more when (and if) they get out? Don't you think a family who returns their smoldering home will learn to hate too? Don't you think it sort of gives credence to their anti-American point of view? They don't hate us because we're free. They hate us because we're fundamentalists too. Except we conscript the world through money, and entertainment, and secularism, and now force. We're over there, 150,000 strong, to build a little America right in Muhammid's back yard. Of course they'll attempt to stop us. Just as much as we'd try to stop them from building a new Islamic Golden Age in Texas.

There's no right and wrong here. There are two fundamentalist world views which will not budge. Of course an Islamic fundamentalist will attempt to force their point of view on people (Christians have done no less). But that does not get curbed when we retaliate in-kind. Maybe it is the only language they'll understand, but I wish we could be better. Sometimes you do have to fight and defend yourself, but you don't have to sell your higher values and become a fundamentalist yourself. If that's the only way to convince yourself what you're fighting for is right, then it's probably not worth fighting for.

To me, that's the problem. If everyone would just calm down and accept that they don't have all the answers, rather than violently advocating them, the world would be much better off. Two fundamentalists willing to kill each other over their beliefs does no one any good. I wish we lived in a more humble world where people are allowed to live their lives and the best ideas are the ones that catch on. Not because they were forced, but because they have irresistible merit. Not because we are threatened with hell for not doing so, but because it honors God's creation to do so.

We're so busy trying to fight the symptoms of the disease, we fail to see the same symptoms in ourselves. The problem is a violent outlook on life, a forceful equilibrium that only works when everyone agrees with our point of view. We eye with suspicion those countries that want a nuclear weapon, when we have created a world where such that device is the ultimate bargaining chip. Islamic fundamentalists use terrorism to stop Western secularism. Western fundamentalists use force and sanctions to make countries to fall in line. Both conscript minds to fight for concepts that do not ask to be defended by force.

You say Gitmo, I say Gulag. Let's call the whole thing off.

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