{v.3} :: a mess

All Terrorists Are Muslims

In Kansan public school I heard the other students recite a rhyme on several occasions. They were expressing a disconcerting view of world events.

ìNot all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.î

This had to express the beliefs of the federal government, as Kansas has not had any experience of terrorism. Perhaps the first, and best known, terrorist was Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow up the English Parliament. Fawkes was a radical Catholic who opposed the Protestantism of the English state. In Northern Ireland, schoolchildren are in danger of being killed by terrorists for being killed by Christian terrorists.

Did we hear the Americans, selfless protectors of the world, shout up when the train in Madrid exploded in March 2004? Was there rioting in the streets when the London Underground was attacked? Nothing came close to the reaction the so-called bombing of the World Trade Center that fateful September day.

What has the United States done wrong in their handling of terrorism, and what should they have done instead?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines terrorism as ìthe systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.î Terror, it says, is the same as fear. So far, the United Nations, the organization with powers to deal with this, has been unable to agree on a definition of the word terrorism. Multiple resolutions have been submitted to try and solve this problem, but as yet, agreement has not been even been close. It follows then that the American war on terror, or terrorism, is a war on something undefined. Who then knows which persons comply with the definition of a terrorist. In my opinion, this seems like a golden opportunity for the American government with President George W. Bush in the lead to find and contain whomever they please, often persons with differing views from the Americansí.

This war theyíre waging on organizations and individuals only serves to fire up the perpetrators. For every action thereís a reaction, chemistry teaches. It is true for the political life, too. One canít expect dangerous people, who have proved again and again that they can and will murder innocent civilians, to sit quietly around when bombs are showered around them. If they are as volatile as the U.S. government claims, the last thing you should do is to make them angry.

A coalition force invaded Afghanistan to rid the country of a cruel and unfair system of government, while the common opinion is that this was the official reason, and the real objective was to kill or apprehend Osama bin Ladin and the rest of the Taliban. Sadly, living condition for the Afghans have become much worse after Taliban was overthrown. The U.N. did approve of this invasion, but not the later invasion of Iraq. The supposed reason for this was that Iraq was storing and facilitating nuclear weapons, a claim that later was proved to be untrue. The Security Council didnít approve of this invasion, but wanted to send in more weapons inspectors, to verify the claims. By being a member of the U.N., a nation is obligated not to wage war on any country, except in self-defense, without the approval of the Security Council.

When the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was caught, he was sent to the Guant·namo base on Cuba, where the American government keeps several terrorists and prisoners of war without trial. Many argue that they break the Geneva Conventions by keeping them there with only rudimentary provisions and humiliating prisoners. Hussein was forced to speak up in front of a TV camera, showing his unkempt and tired face.

The U.S. Patriot Act authorizes the government to tap terror-suspected individualsí phone line as well as read their personal mail and e-mail. This is a serious infringement of the Bill of Rights, as these measures cannot be taken only on grounds of suspicion.

The war on terrorism has started a new and different ìcold war.î This time, the danger of nuclear devastation is less, but the world has been hit several times. Terror organizations sometimes publish lists of possible targets for their devastating attacks, but no one knows which, if any, of these countries will be hit.

How could this have been different? Is there really anything President Bush could have done to counteract this effect? The answers vary greatly throughout the international community.

I personally feel that with a little more tact and knowledge, the extreme consequences could have been avoided. It is rumored that the White House had information about the September 11 attacks, which could have prevented the extreme loss of lives. As the lay people not privy to all the information held by world leaders, it is impossible for them to come up with a concrete course of action. Some would agree with the high-ranking Americans that taking a firm action against terrorists to show them the result of attacking a superpower is the best way of stopping new attacks, while others believe that only the guilty should be punished. The nature of terrorist organizations is such that they are hidden and hard to detect and infiltrate. We can only do as the U.N. wishes: encourage governments in countries where such organizations are hiding out to remove their support base and legislate against them.

Because of the new global terrorism, and the American war on it, the world has become a less safe place for people to live. People in internationally influential nations, such as the U.S., the U.K. and Spain are afraid that they are going to be targeted by maniacs because their governments did something wrong.

Soon, elections will be held in the U.S.. The Democratic Party looks to be the clear winner in recent polls. Maybe a Democrat Congress will change the American outlook on the war. Personally, I hope so.

© Tone Rossow 2006 Back to the Other Words section

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