Friday, March 2, 2007

Response to DOD Essay, Our Administration

If you feel that by replying to this essay and taking a few minutes time from my readers I am "part of the problem," then so be it, please stop reading.

But if you, like me, had some kind of reaction to what Mr. Haynes ( wrote, please read on so we can continue a debate that isn't just "worth a read," but substantially relevant to our lives as Americans and global citizens.

You see, as impressed as I am by Mr. Haynes's eloquent historical references and straight-to-the-point tone, I can't help but point out the shiny incongruities of his essay. The fact of the matter is that as a Defense Department official, Mr. Haynes writes from the perspective of our government, so his essay provides a neat little microcosm for us to dissect: What is it EXACTLY that we should find incongruous (maybe), farfetched (closer), or straight up unfair (bingo) about our government's stance on the matter?

What’s initially apparent is a blatant contradiction. Mr. Haynes derides the “silent majority” of peace-loving Muslims who do not act out against the fanatics dominating their religion, yet ends his essay with a call for unity beneath our leaders. Isn’t this a double standard? It seems to be that we would better fulfill his advice if we CONTINUED mocking and hacking at our leaders, who aren’t so far from fanatics themselves. Remember, there is such a thing as Christian and Jewish fanaticism.

Despite what Mr. Haynes would have us believe, HISTORY IS NEVER SIMPLE. Never forget that Hitler was democratically elected. Never forget that those who represent freedom can be as tyrannical as those who represent oppression.

Of course, the main problem of Mr. Haynes’s comments is that he is blaming those without power for not getting power instead of holding those with power responsible for its use. This makes sense because to do so would invariably incriminate himself and the administration. So instead of saying “The fanatics are unfairly implicating the moderates,” he says that the moderates are at fault.

This is the same as holding an entire classroom responsible for the unruly actions of a few bullies. But the bullies here are not just tugging pigtails, they’re holding the entire room hostage. Maybe instead of attacking the bullies we should be working to free the innocent and imprisoned classmates, not persecute them equally.

Unfortunately, our administration’s idea of safety involves attacking (verbally or otherwise) EVERYBODY and maintaining the kind of tension the bullies themselves would admire.

Yesterday (Saturday, February 24), newspapers announced that the Canadian Supreme Court had deemed illegal the holding of terror suspects without a trial:
I can only imagine how Mr. Haynes reacted. He and his Defense Department colleagues must have grimaced when they found out that our nearest neighbors had effectively ruled out what we rely on as a major weapon in our War on Terror.

Therefore, I say that instead of blindly admiring the leaders that “are trying to protect the interests and well being of the world and its citizens,” we do one better. I say that we congratulate our neighbors to the north for setting a positive example for the way this War could be worked out:

Instead of reducing the deep, sophisticated strands of history that make up the complex cultures of the world today; instead of relying on bogus logic; instead of appealing to emotion via sloppy historical references—we begin to think real hard about who EXACTLY the enemy is here. Who is really putting us in the most danger.

I, for one, certainly am not scared of peace-loving Muslims.
As a matter of fact, I feel a sort of kinship with them because both of us are represented by people we don’t support.

Am I hurting our country?