Is it really just right and wrong?
“Here is how much of the world sees us: We consume 35 percent of the world’s resources with 5 percent of the people. Our AIDS victims get excellent medicines; theirs don’t. “Globalization” means our multinationals crowd out their local firms, creating jobless hardship. Health care, sanitation, education, transportation, heat and food are poor or nonexistent while we clean the plate. … We feel attacked militarily; they feel attacked economically and culturally. …”
If you don’t try to understand how this viewpoint came about and whether it is justified, then your only solution is to wipe out anyone who believes it, but as Diamond says “Each innocent person we kill just adds more supporters. “
He goes on to suggest ways to address the views others have of America, in effect, to “[p]rovide a meaningful choice” as an alternative to supporting terrorism. That’s the only way to make terrorism go away. Figure out why the terrorists are doing it. Figure out what you can do to stop it. Implement the solution. I think the solution does not involve waging more war. That will make more terrorists. The solution involves taking a hard, objective look at the way America acts and treats the world and start changing the offensive foreign policies that get us attacked.
Meanwhile, at the UN, Rudy Guiliani, gave a speech on 10/½001:
“On one side is democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life; on the other is tyranny, arbitrary executions and mass murder. … We’re right and they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that … Let those who say that we must understand the reasons for terrorism come with me to the thousands of funerals we are having in New York City and explain those insane, maniacal reasons to the children who will grow up without fathers and mothers, to the parents who have had their children ripped from them for no reason at all.”
It must be nice to have a worldview that’s so simple. Whomever disagress is wrong. We were just attacked in a most heinous act, so that means we’re right. Whatever solution we propose is going to be justified. If you disagree, you’re wrong and must be on the side of the bad guys. I agree with his ‘one side is democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life…’, but I don’t think our government is on that side either. How many “children ripped from them” has the US created in this century alone? That’s the age-old argument though…‘if you’re not with me, you’re against me’. From Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, the Patrician says:
“I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides. … [People are a] great rolling sea of evil, shallower in some places, but deeper, oh, so much deeper in others. … They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don’t say no.”
Given recent statements by Ari Fleischer, White House spokesperson, in which he:
“…told Americans they “need to watch what they say.” ”
I would start saying no before things get really out of hand.
“We can all thank Mayor Giuliani for stating the case for civilization in its most elemental terms: “We’re right and they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.” The mayor has a well-documented penchant for concealing information, however, so I think it’s important to fill in some details. Presumably, the greatest exemplars of civilization are the “first world” industrial powers, so we can look to their foreign policies with confidence that they will instruct us in our highest values. Here’s what we learn:
“We are right to consume the world’s resources in vast disproportion to our population. We are right to reject international treaties or organizations any time they displease us.
“We are right to force other governments to harm their own people as a condition of economic assistance. We are right to arm, bankroll and support authoritarian governments or fanatical guerrillas for temporary advantage, regardless of their motivations or the probable long-term consequences.
“We are right to bomb civilians and destroy the supply lines and infrastructures that allow them to live, while leaving their governments intact. We are right to pursue vendettas against other governments by killing their people.
“We are right to refuse to examine our conduct in the world, insisting that we can do no wrong.
“The list can be improved, but the point remains. When we defend civilization, we ought to know what we’re defending.”