There Another Way?
By Lincoln Farnum
I saw some post-bombing coverage from Kabul this morning.
People were combing through the rubble of what likely used
to be their homes, or businesses. It seemed very much like
a third-world version of our coverage of the WTC cleanup.
I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be happy that they are
experiencing it now too (not that they haven't for the last
20 years or so), or notice that after bombings we are all
left with piles of rubble, lost loved one, and broken dreams,
and that war carries with it a universal human experience,
one of loss, and one that we now all share.
I'm saddened and depressed by "WWIII." I wish that
I could say that I feel any satisfaction at all about what
the press immediately described as our "counterattack"
against people who I've seen no evidence of guilt or complicity
in the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Is it really a counterattack
or maybe just an attack? Counterattack sounds much more as
though they deserve it. Maybe we're sure they do, I wish I
could believe that.
I saw a political cartoon in the Sun this morning of food
being dropped out of the back of an airplane; the caption
read 'Smart Bombs.' It the one thing that I've seen or read
so far that I feel safe agreeing with. Our propaganda campaign
about 'humanitarian aid' is smart. Of course, we're dropping
the food over the areas held by the Northern Alliance (roughly
5% of the country) so our humanitarian aid is limited to those
we call allies and probably never gets near the other 95%
of the Afghani people needing aid, but it makes good press.
95% of the resources go to 5% of the people, compassionate
aid from compassionate conservatives.
I'm still very frightened that this is going to get out of
our control and get a lot of people, many of whom we are quite
likely to know, killed.
I was dreaming about San Francisco this morning, of driving
over the Sunset Peaks towards Ocean Beach, of the beautiful
homes and sweeping panoramas in the areas west of the Golden
Gate Bridge. I miss that city. I never owned any of it though,
I couldn't afford a home at the time that I lived there, and
I never really felt as though any of it belonged to me (well,
except maybe a stool at the occasional bar, like Croll's in
Alameda.) I wonder, when people have no ownership in their
world, whether they become more likely to behave in antisocial
manners. The less investment we have in 'the world' the more
likely we are to attempt changing it by whatever means we
can devise and not altogether mind leaving it in the process.
Excessively simplistic, I suppose, but maybe a really smart
bomb would be to find some place for the Palestinians to live.
I don't know what the solution to that one is. Israel is rather
too important to be imagined back into non-existence (though
I'm quite sure that there are many on both sides of the issue
with just those dreams and fears) though there has pretty
much been non-stop war in the Middle East since the UN partitioned
Palestine after WWII. I suspect if the people get inspired
by bin Laden's use of this seemingly insoluble problem as
a fulcrum to power, it might not make much difference that
the leaders of many of the countries out there are currently
satisfied with the relatively lucrative status quo.
I've had a lot of scenarios running through my head lately,
how this might work out, or not, and what we might do to respond.
I've heard a few others, one was particularly disturbing -
that bin Laden's war (the one we're helping him foment in
all of the Moslem dominated countries) grows to become a fundamentalist
revolution in Pakistan and that by a takeover he gains control
of their nukes. If that happened, everything really would
be changed. When I think of that I can't help but hear the
four horsemen of the apocalypse riding around the neighborhood.
I read something good on Stratfor the other day - that during
WWII we armed the Russians to help them fight the Nazis. Then
later we armed what would become The Taliban to help him fight
the Soviets, and now we're going to have to arm the Northern
Alliance to help them fight The Taliban. One thing's for sure
- it's good for business (if one happens to be the world's
largest arms dealer, as the U.S. is.)
Maybe it's not so good for us though. Is it too late to ask
if there's maybe another way?