Just in case you thought that all US politicians were warmongers, read Brad Blanton, a 2006 candidate for US Congress, on how to reverse our current tide of terrorism.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN immediately following 9/11. Recently a young woman in India who saved this sent it back to me as a reminder of who I am supposed to be politically — namely someone who acknowledges the truth and comes up with some response to real events that does something other than perpetrate more of the same.
The thing that gets me when I look back over these four years since 9/11 is that there were millions of us who knew better than to jump on the bandwagon to kill in revenge. We were ignored then and have continued to be ignored until, at some point, the slow moving dim witted materialist majority finally start feeling some of the pain in their wallets.
I am a materialist. So is the multi-millionaire Osama Ben Laden. So are all the participants in the military industrial conspiracy. So are the poor and starving people of the world, most of all, because they can't afford not to be. This is what creates the context in which terrorism thrives. That includes the state terrorism of the United States of America currently in the hands of George Bush and company(s). We have to look at things the way they are. To start with, terrorism is an option of war. Like many of war's grisly options, it is unspeakably insane and horrible, but it is nevertheless there along with the rest of the list of humanity's cruelest stupidities.
When folks are poor and oppressed and they wish to attack people who are rich and well defended, the only thing they have as weapons are their bodies and their commitment. If they are willing to sacrifice their lives they can fight their enemy, using the enemy's equipment. Terrorism is their best option, given the decision to make war on their oppressors. The terrorists attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to make a statement about what they hate and what they see as wrong with the way the world is run these days. I agree with them, fundamentally, in their analysis. I agree with their judgment of the evil perpetrated by the world wide economic order, controlled by the wealthy, maintained in secrecy and defended by military might.
I prefer the option of solutions other than war, whether it be war in the form of terrorism or war in the form of the military industrial complex. The multi-national corporate bottom line is not a sufficient primary value to provide satisfaction for more than about one per cent of the population of the world. In fact, in it's current form, it requires that the poor continue getting poorer and multiply and the rich continue getting richer and decrease.
So terrorists will not go away, whether the U.S. and its allies and those who have chosen or been forced to align with them make war on terrorism or not. The military industrial war machine will not "conquer terrorism." Quite the contrary, it will continue the context, the milieu in which terrorism resides and therefore, without a doubt, contribute to the continuation of terrorism. The context in which terrorism resides is the same context in which the military industrial complex resides. The secret meetings and plans of terrorists are held in the same framework as the secret meetings of the 36 separate secret agencies of the United States of America, the joint chiefs of staff, the cabinet, the closed meetings of congress, the behind the scenes conversations between lobbyists and legislators, etc.
If we really want to do something about terrorism we have to start listening to terrorists as well as to ourselves. We have to lead with our hearts and follow with our minds. We have to come to an understanding of our common humanity and our common limitations of perspective. We have to tell the truth about what we think and feel and plan to do. We have to give up secrecy. We have to create a new context within which we all live, based on really knowing what we all want, as well as what we have to offer each other. Here is the wisdom whose time has come. Or I should say, this is an idea whose time may get here if we don't all kill each other first. It's this:
We, who are human beings, are all alike. We are all, in common, holy human prototypes of aliveness. We are the ones on the earth who notice and think. We see and hear and touch and taste and feel things and we dream things up about what to do. Since way before there were billions of us who had to figure out how to get along together, we have been making up rules and traditions and conventions about how to get along together. We just made it up. The way we do things together is just something we made up together. Most of these ways were made up by people who are already dead now. It is not working. We need to make something else up.
When we make up something new, we might consider this, particularly in the light of how our government is responding to the terrorist attack. The terrorists attacked symbols. Killing people was secondary, just to underline the importance of the attack on "the evil of western wealth and corruption." They wanted to kill the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Just as Colin Powell and Bush the elder killed 60,000 teenagers and way more than 6000 civilians and children in the "Gulf War" and left Saddam Hussein to live on to kill more.
We have killed hundreds of thousands more by starving them to death since then, with an economic boycott that punishes the poor. We did this not to just kill those people, but to show that the "evil invader" could not get by with his "evil invasion." In fact it was better that he lived, so we could be sure we had taught him a lesson. And we still can keep teaching a lesson to the populace which "allows him to remain in power." It was the principle of the thing. Like dubya said, the other night: "This Evil will not go unpunished!" The principle of the thing and the war on Evil was more important than the lives of the people. First you say how terrible it was, then you say how the terrorists are evil, then you perpetrate more terror.
In all of these cases, it was the symbols being more important that the lives of people. When our leaders, via the CIA, trained Saddam Hussein and many of his colleagues, in secret, to oppose Iran, and trained most of Ben Laden's current cohorts to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan, it was for symbolic reasons. It seemed like a good idea at the time to "defeat Communism" or "extremism" or some other ism. None of these choices were ever subject to democratic review. Not that they might not have been approved anyway, given the gullible numb nuts that make up the majority of the populace. It just pisses me off that they insist on calling this a democracy when we never even get a chance to talk about what is actually going on when it is going on. These choices just never were discussed openly or voted on. They were done in secret, in our name, using our money, without our review or approval, to protect and defend us against symbolic enemies.
We were told about it all later. Much later. After it was too late. Secret violence, secret war and study of war, secret support in the form of weapons for war, done in our name, without being subject to review or public debate or vote or conversation or review in the media, done on our behalf, for our own good, in the judgment of our caretakers in secret meetings have been the source of a lot of shit we have had to put up with later — like the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
So the dance goes on. Most of us are more than eager to join in the grieving sentimental hate filled orgasm of righteousness against the perpetrators of evil who have murdered the innocent and smite them back tenfold. Millions of us support with our hearts full of feeling, the same bunch of fat men jerking off to bloody scenes of sadistic vengeance. I, personally, hate those motherfuckers. But I am not willing to actually kill them for what they represent. It's tempting, but I'm not going to do it. I'll cuss them and holler at them and name call them and damn them to hell and maybe slap the shit out of one or two of them if I get a chance, but I'm not going to kill them. That is a minor but important difference between the terrorists, including our own terrorists, and me.
And I know I'm not alone. I think it is a minor but important difference between millions of us and our leaders. There are millions who are not even as mean as me. There are many more millions who are angry, righteous and not informed in the least about the actual conditions that have created and continue to create terrorism. As of today, according to the most recent Gallup Poll, George W. Bush has a 90% approval rating, the highest ever recorded for a president. 82% of the populace is in favor of making war on Afghanistan. The warriors are dancing around the fire preparing to attack. The whole tribe seems to be in agreement with them. It has been almost three days now since the U.S. made Pakistan stop sending food to hungry people in Afghanistan. By about seven days from now the number of people killed since the morning of September 11 will have doubled, from 6000 to 12,000. That increase in number, our share of the total, will be mostly children who have starved to death. The military mind and the militant mind are simply not, as we say in the South, "all ate up with compassion."
In a typical revolution you kill the leaders, take control, and become leaders like them. In the revolution of consciousness it is not that easy or satisfying. In the revolution of consciousness we have use that energy to talk about what is so and make up something new. We have to make up a new model for how we live together.
Keep up the good work. Keep this conversation going. It is the only way we have of making up a new way to live together.
I leave you with the following quotes to mark the beginning of a new path, the start of making up something new.
If we continue to think in terms of a Cartesian dualism of mind vs. matter, we shall probably also come to see the world in terms of God versus man, élite versus people, chosen race versus others; nation versus nation; and man versus environment. It is doubtful whether a species having both an advanced technology and this strange way of looking at the world can endure.
Gregory Bateson Steps to an Ecology of Mind
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If we take an eye for an eye, soon the whole world will be blind.
Copyright © 2005 Brad Blanton